Before You Publish on Social Media, Do These 7 Things
How often do you see other users on social media post content where they clearly didn't prepare it properly? How often have you struggled with this yourself?
We all have tweets we regret and posts we edit or delete after publishing when we can. Sometimes, we just make mistakes, but that doesn't have to be the case as often if we take the time to prepare before publishing.
1) Read the article you're sharing from someone else
I know it takes extra time to read someone's article, but it is definitely worth it. Why share an article, knowing the risk that it could be about something completely different than what you expected? Headlines can be deceiving, and you might end up sharing something from someone who has opinions you completely disagree with.
Don't make the mistake of sharing something that could go against what your business or brand wants to be known for. At the very minimum, scan the article for headings and text with emphasis. Find something in that article that you can mention as a preview in your social content.
2) Research proper posting etiquette for each platform
It's important you publish content that is uniquely designed and formatted for each platform. What format works for Facebook doesn't work for Google+, and what works for Twitter pretty much just works there. If you're using a social scheduling tool, you should at least try to create custom content for each platform you're on.
3) Research your hashtags
Too often I see the hashtags I follow being used for other reasons besides what they're meant for. I fall prey to using the wrong hashtag every now and then, and it backfires on me almost every time. Some hashtags are pretty obvious. #SocialMediaMarketing is a good example. On the other hand, how do you know what #smm is for if you don't check first? Even when you think a hashtag is obvious, it could be too obvious. I refer to ones such as #SocialMedia and specific platform names.
The social media platform names are used by anybody and everybody, marketing or otherwise, when the user wants to mention them. They could be talking about Facebook marketing, but more often than not, the person is simply a casual user who could be complaining about the platform or something else. This overwhelms the feed for that hashtag, giving your tweet a higher chance of being missed or ignored.
4) Know your audience
Before you even think of sharing anything on social, you need to have established, complete examples of who your audience is, what they care about, and how you can help them while achieving your own business goals. These are known as social buyer personas.
Your content is irrelevant and wasted if you don't know who you're talking to and what they're looking for. You could have a brilliant blog post about something revolutionary for your industry. It could be exactly what your audience wants to see... Or it could be completely missed or ignored.
5) Check your hyperlink(s)
Most users on each social platform share a hyperlink with the vast majority of their content.
I love going through my Twitter lists and checking out what my chosen Marketing Influencers are sharing. Recently, one of the leaders in my field published a tweet about something that sounded very interesting, and I wanted to learn more. I clicked on the link with the expectation that I'd be directed to the article mentioned.
Was I led to that article? No. The link led to a "Page Not Found" on the author's website. I was quite disappointed. I took the extra step and notified the influencer of the problem, but you shouldn't expect that to happen often. Most people will just get irritated and move on. They'll give up on your article and maybe even hesitate to click on any future links from you if a broken link happens too often.
Check your links before you share them. If you use a link shortening service, it can be easy to select the wrong link. Take a second to double check.
6) Give credit where it's due
When you're sending out that tweet with an article someone else wrote, you should always use the @mention to give them credit. If the author isn't on whatever platform you're using, cite the hosting website. At minimum, let your audience know it is not your work in order to avoid getting in any trouble.
If you don't tell people where you're getting your information from, you're essentially committing social plagiarism. While the link would lead to the author's article, people who simply see your tweet/post will assume it's your article.
Give the author the credit s/he deserves. You not only give them this credit, you build a relationship with that person. You also appear legitimate to your fans and followers.
7) Proofread your text
For the sake of your audience and your reputation, proofread the meat of your post for errors of any kind. Even a tweet can have issues you ought to avoid, such as having two hashtags next to each other so that neither of them works. Also on Twitter, don't sacrifice spelling for the sake of making more room. If you can't fit the full text in one tweet, make more than one or cut it carefully.
Make sure your audience can understand what you're sharing. Otherwise, you're wasting your time because they won't click on your link or do anything with your content that you want. This may even lead to a negative effect on your following and legitimacy.
Summary of items:
- Read the article you're sharing from someone else
- Research proper posting etiquette for each platform
- Research your hashtags
- Know your audience
- Check your hyperlink(s)
- Give credit where it's due
- Proofread your text
This article originally appeared in modified form on the Marketing Innovator blog.
Follow Annaliese Henwood on Twitter