When I first started blogging and a supporting social media for it, I made tons of mistakes. Once I even accidentally posted a cat article to my company's corporate Facebook page that has nothing to do with cats. The funniest thing is that this cat article got better engagement than our own "highly-targeted" content. Well, I guess cute animals always bring in lots of engagement, but that was not the kind of engagement we were looking for.
Here are some major, and oh-so-common, mistakes that might be putting your social media following growth at risk. They might just make you or break you and have a much more significant negative effect on your digital presence than an accidental cat post.
If you start blogging, they'll read
While it's great that you started blogging, you're just starting to do your job. Don't rely on someone accidentally stumbling upon your blog; even the best content needs promotion. We now know that "great product doesn't promote itself." You do. Assuming your content is top notch, you still need to be active on social media sites to push this content out in the masses where people will see it.
Just leave the old posts alone
Updating an old article can be very effective blogging technique. If you're trying to build thought leadership, you have to ensure that all and every page on your website is true and accurate. Sure, things like opinions, trends and data change over time and links get broken. However, you can take an older blog post and instead of writing out a whole new thing, just update an older post.
You can even leave an older post as is and type a sort of comparison or commentary on previous thoughts. This will show your readers that you take care of your blog and are very mindful of your own content and what you put out there. If some prediction didn't take place or the trend has changed, write out your thoughts on why it happened the way it did, where you were basing your opinion on before, etc.
Bonus: Google likes when pages get updated, because an update increases relevancy.
You need to come up with new content constantly
While you do need to post something consistently, you don't have to reinvent the wheel every time. Take your most popular blog post and reuse the content by creating an infographic, creating a video, developing a webinar or podcast series to further expand on the topic. The possibilities are endless. If you recycle your content occasionally, you'll have a wealth of content in different media.
Industry leaders like Jay Baer and Social Media Examiner do it all the time. Different forms of content will also attract new audiences who prefer one content form over another. It will also make social media post ideas easier to come up with once you have a wealth of options.
You don't need to collect emails if you're not sending out newsletters
You might not be planning on a newsletter right now, but maybe in a year you will. Start collecting e-mail even if you don't see immediate use of them. Your e-mail list is still your biggest asset; this is a single digital marketing channel that brings in the best ROI. People who are willing to share their email address with you signal their interest in your content or possible products. Don't reject their interest, because once you have a product, a launch or just a simple newsletter, you'll be able to let these people know and build an initial list. Besides, websites like WordPress send an email notification each time a blog you're subscribed to published new article. E-mail communication is a great way to send them back to website and build a base of constant readers.
One share bar is enough
That little obscure thing in the bottom of the post. Or even worse, on top. I have nothing against those things, but encourage sharing every step of the way. They might love your article, but if they have to scroll all the way to the top of the page to share, chances are they won't. There are lots of free tools, like SumoMe or Buffer that you can use to install scrolling share bar. You can also install a tool that will grab images from the post and share it to social platforms along with a link to the post. Why wouldn't you take advantage of it?
You have to be on all popular platforms
Seriously consider which social media platforms to use. You don't have to be on every single platform that's hot right now. If you have limited resources, like time, money and people, concentrate on a couple of proven networks. Instead of spreading yourself too thin, build meaningful connections and impressive following on just a couple of network, where you can consistently bring value and quality. Think about your content and where it would be most appropriate. If your content is highly visual, use Pinterest or Instagram. If you're producing videos, use YouTube. If you're providing timely industry updates, consider Twitter.
Social media is free
Of course, you can slowly build your following organically. There is still some kind of stigma, where if companies promote their content it's looked down upon. Well, smart marketers understand the need to boost their content reach to see real results. Never promote your stuff just to be seen by anyone. Use highly-targeted strategies that will ensure that your content is seen by the audiences who need to see it. Then, it's well-justified.
Sharing new content once
This one is probably the biggest mistake I made for so long! You create this beautiful piece of content; you work so hard on it to make it look perfect. You post it. You share it once on all your social media platforms... and then you forget about this piece. Um, what? You've worked so hard on it to show it to the world once? You have to post the content more than that to ensure that a lot of people see it. If your audience is not online when you post it, they just missed it unless they accidentally stumble upon it. You have to keep a balance of new posts, curated content and your older posts for it to work. Experiment with different copy, headings, images for a social update. Share your older posts you feel especially proud of.
Introverts can't do social
I'm an introvert. I don't feel particularly comfortable with small talk, especially around new people. However I have a lot of thoughts that I like to share. Do just that. Because social media is virtual, it provides a safe balance of virtual chatter and you can always tune out in the safety of your home. However, the main point is this - social media is what you make of it. If you find interesting people who share your interests or provide a greater insight into what you'd like to learn, engage with these people. This makes conversations online meaningful; and introverts enjoy meaningful conversations, right? It doesn't have to be painful, it can be fun and educational.
You can't reach out to influencers, they get tons of request every day
While the second part of the statement is true, the first one is not. I have reached out to influencers who were not only so nice to reply to my tweet, they actually shared their email address so that I could ask my questions. How cool is that? While not every single attempt was successful, a very high percentage of them were. So, if you really want to connect to your favorite author or influencer or artist, just try it. They are influencers for a reason - they help people. Ask meaningful questions or start a conversation about a shared interest of yours to show your genuine interest in them. If they don't reply, don't take it personally.
If they haven't replied the first time, don't try again
Going back to the fact that they get tons of requests and emails every day... it's true. Your tweet or email might get lost in tons of other requests. That's assuming they only read to all of the emails all day long and don't do anything else. Come on. If you didn't get a negative reply, try again in a while. Follow up, don't be pushy or disrespectful. Show your care and understanding of their busy schedules. Besides, they don't owe you anything.
Don't get personal online
While no one wants to read your rants, complaints and issues or see obsessive amounts of cute cat photos, showing your human side is ok. Make sure it's not shedding bad light on you, but things like interests are usually pretty safe. If you're a sports fan, show your team colors once in a while. If you like to cook, share an amazing recipe you loved. If you're a photography hobbyist, share a snapshot you took. This will bring your audience closer to you. You might be surprised on how much engagement you can get on a simple post talking about your interests and hobbies, because passions are what really drives humans.
Social media is about being social, so encourage conversation, encourage information exchange and sharing. Because, you know, sharing is caring. Share your ideas, I'd love to hear them.