The following is a guest post by Mariana Ashley. Her bio is at the end of the article.
These days, it’s easy to get overwhelmed when attempting to utilize the new juggernaut of the marketing world—social media. Although it is a great way to promote, brand and sell your newest idea, business or product, it can also backfire if you use it incorrectly. With new sites and strategies popping up every day, it can be hard to determine what you should and should not do.
While there may not be a specific “how-to” on how to make social media work for you, there are some pretty common mistakes people should try to avoid.
Choosing quantity over quality
In the interest of establishing an online presence and getting your voice out there, some people think it’s best to just have a post—any post than to not. Although it is important to maintain some sort of regular schedule and hold yourself to it, if you find yourself completely at a loss in regards to what to post, it may be best to give yourself a day off to recharge. When web posters force out updates just for the sake of an update, the quality of the work and brand itself suffers.
The whole idea that “quality over quantity” triumphs is as true here as everywhere else. Bombarding the web with your ramblings, nonsensical posts put you a step above spam—and no one likes spam.
Just think about your personal social media accounts. We all have the friends who feel the need to post EVERY little, mundane detail about their daily lives—and what happens to them? After a while you start to ignore them, possibly opt to hide their feed, and when that doesn’t work you take the drastic measure of deleting them from your account—which is exactly what you don’t want to happen to your business. So keep the posts meaningful if you want to maintain effectiveness.
Erratic, inconsistent updates
Not only is it bad to overwhelm your followers, friends or fans with an excess of posts, it’s also bad to keep an inconsistent blogging/updating/posting schedule that includes posts with no common ground. Unless the theme of your blog, network, or brand is “Random Collection of EVERYTHING You Can Imagine”, there should be some continuity between posts.
If your readers have to strain their brains to find the connection between your previous and most recent updates, you may want to rethink your content. Before you provide another post, stop and ask yourself “what, if anything, will this add to my overall message?” If you can’t come up with something relevant and substantial, it’s best to opt for something else.
Neglecting to proof your posts
Similar to choosing quantity over quality, is the mistake of posting an unedited, misspelled, or inaccurate blurb. It tarnishes the integrity of your whole mission when a typo or data error is staring your readers in the face. How can anyone take you seriously or consider you credible when you constantly confuse “your” and “you’re” or can’t correctly relay information.
There’s a lot of information coming at people these days and to ensure yours is heard and absorbed, you must be extra diligent to deliver only high-quality, dependable updates.
Ignoring your readers’ comments
If you offer the opportunity for people to comment or provide feedback, you better make sure you respond—and in a reasonable time at that. No one likes being ignored—it’s poor etiquette whether online or in person. No one has ever made more friends or gained more followers by being an oblivious, aloof poster.
When consumers of your information feel their input is taken into consideration and acknowledged, they are much more likely to keep coming back for more. So make a point to respond as often as possible and keep the dialogue going.
Stealing other people’s ideas
Although trying to establish biting, engaging content on your social media outlets can be exhausting and leave you thinking you just have nothing left to give—never, EVER opt for stealing another’s ideas or posts. Sure, there’s a chance no one would even notice, but then again it only takes one whistle blower to reveal the fact that your pages are devoid of any original thought or individuality. This will leave you fan-less, relaying your message to no one.
Keep it simple
At the end of the day, as you try to navigate through the various waves of social media, just remind yourself of the importance of just being honest. Scheming to get the most followers and fans will get you nowhere—the general public may be willing to listen at first, but just like you, their time is limited and they don’t want to waste it on mindless dribble. They also don’t want to feel as if they are being used or spammed.
If you’re worried you are going about this all wrong and don’t want to blow your next big venture, you might consider investing in a web marketing class. Offered online and in person, these classes usually offer emphasis on how to EFFECTIVELY utilize the numerous social media channels. Whether you’re a tech-savvy college student or a grandmother of twelve, you’ll be sure to learn something new.
Mariana Ashley frequently gives advice on applying to online colleges to prospective students. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.