Surviving Social Media: 5 Mistakes to Avoid

Angela Booth
Angela Booth Owner, Angela Booth

Posted on October 18th 2013

Surviving Social Media: 5 Mistakes to Avoid

 5 Mistakes to Avoid

When I mentioned Twitter, the client snapped: “We tried it. Social media doesn’t work!”

I’ve heard that before. After the meeting, I checked the contentious Twitter account – what there was of it. Twenty random tweets over three months.

If you feel that social media isn’t working for you, it’s time to take a close look at what you’re doing.

Could you avoid these mistakes?

Mistake 1. Lack of planning

Are you planning your social media campaigns? For best results, integrate social media into the rest of your marketing – social media should be part of all your marketing efforts.

You can:

  • Integrate social media with search marketing (SEO). Create content around your marketing plans, and use social media to encourage engagement;
  • Integrate social media with your email marketing. Ask questions, then encourage recipients to respond on social media. Again, this encourages engagement with your brand;
  • Integrate social media with events. What events are coming up? An “event” can be anything at all. Perhaps you’re launching a product, or are scheduled for a trade show… If you’re sponsoring a sports team, tweet and post about upcoming matches.

Mistake 2. Impatience

Your social media accounts take time to grow. Five followers and likes become 50, and then 500.

Tip: buying followers doesn’t work. Your accounts will grow organically, as you promote your presence, and engage on the networks.

Mistake 3. Failure to engage

Social media is social. Be available, and engaged. Encourage your customers and prospects to chat to you. Respond to queries. Ask questions.

Consider offering coupons, and running contests.

Woobox specializes in social promotions; it’s used by two million brands. Visit their site. They offer many ways for you to engage your customers and develop new followers.

Mistake 4. Hashtag dumping

You’ve seen hashtags: words preceded by the “#” hash sign which identify messages on a specific topic. Although they’re useful, they’re ugly and confusing when they dominate a message.

Use them as they’re meant to be used, and create your own to identify promotions. If you’re running a Christmas picture contest for example, you could ask people to post an image with a special hashtag, such as #mychrispic. Your hashtag can be anything you choose. Keep it short, and identifiable – make sure it’s not already in use.

Mistake 5. Wordiness

Whichever network you’re on, keep your messages short. Attach images to your messages: they get more retweets and Likes. People browse social media; images catch attention.

On Twitter, you’ve got 140 characters, or around 25 words for a message. Don’t use all 140 characters. Leave space for retweets.

You have more space on other networks. Google+ gives you lots of room for your messages, but even there, use a mix of short messages, with the occasional longer post.

On Pinterest, images are vital; they’re the key to repins and engagement.

If you feel that social media isn’t working for you; try again. You may discover a powerful new marketing tool.

Angela Booth

Angela Booth

Owner, Angela Booth

Angela Booth is a copywriter, author and writing teacher. She's the author of many books for publishers like Prentice Hall, and writes and sells ebooks. Blogs are her passion. She blogs daily.

Thousands of writers benefit from Angela's blogs and free ezine of writing tips each week. She's been helping writers for 20 years, because she loves sharing what she knows.

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Posted on October 18th 2013 at 11:14AM

Thank you Angela for this article. I like the fact that you insisted on the fact that it takes time to grow an audience. People often forget this part.

Angela Booth
Posted on October 18th 2013 at 10:40PM

Thank you -- yes, it does take time, but it's worth it. A small engaged group on social media is extremely valuable, as opposed to bought "likes". 

Emily Hunter
Posted on October 18th 2013 at 11:25AM

I've had that conversation, myself.  My Twitter doesn't work! My Facebook doesn't convert!  What I've found a lot of, instead of planning, is broadcasting instead.  It's like, they believe that their channels should be used merely to broadcast and not engage people at all.   These are some excellent ideas for getting ahead on the social media front. :) 

Angela Booth
Posted on October 18th 2013 at 10:36PM

Yes -- you're right, Emily.

To be honest, I hadn't thought of it that way. But that's exactly what's happening. Tthey're looking on social media as broadcast media. 

Excellent insight -- and thank you for the kind words. :-)

Posted on October 19th 2013 at 8:04AM

Great tips as always. Especially about hashtag dumping

Posted on October 19th 2013 at 10:41AM

Excellent post Angela. You have made great efforts to list down the common mistakes by people on social media channels and finally they give up. I have also came across many businesses that doesn't have great social media presence due of lack of planning and strategies. All of them thinks that social media is about selling products and services, but they don't realize that it is about building relationship with people by caring their real life problems. By the way a grand thank you for sharing your valuable thoughts.

Samuel Hum
Posted on October 21st 2013 at 12:56AM

I think the most common mistakes made by businesses on social media platforms, which you've nicely listed in this post, are mostly the result of using new "technology" to accomplish "traditional"/ older concepts of marketing. Previously, marketing was all about broadcasting to an audience, and feeding them with ads, information, etc. There has been a shift in how marketing is done now, which is a more personal, engaging and sincere approach. Customers do not want to be sold to, and the most down-to-earth and engaging companies are the ones that get the most out of social media platforms.

In order to fully utilise social media thus requires a change in mindset and perspectives. 

How do you think we can accomplish this?