How To Sidestep Common Social Media Mistakes

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I love how Social Media connects people.

And a lot of people are involved. Take these member number from the top 5 platforms:

  1. Facebook – over 750 million
  2. YouTube – over 490 million
  3. Twitter – over 225 million
  4. LinkedIn – over 150 million
  5. Google+ – over 90 million
  6. Pinterest – ok, so 6 snuck in – over 11.5 million

Social media allows the sharing of great content. It also helps you to connect with people you know and trust all around the world.

And that’s why there’s a buzz.

The likes of Twitter and Facebook have revolutionised the way we communicate. What’s more, it offers stacks of opportunities for micro businesses – who know what they’re doing.

As a social media mentor, I see this scenario a lot…

Why should I be on social media?

What should I be doing?

OK, let’s just jump on the band wagon – on all the channels – and just see what happens…

Whilst this is tempting, it’s not a good idea.

Let me explain…

Common social media mistakes…

Because of the ease of getting onboard, there are a lot of misconceptions.

  1. “Social media offers quick wins”.
  2. “It’s free so I should jump on all the channels”.
  3. “All my followers are engaged”.
  4. “I can automate all my content”.

In fact just today I had a potential client ask me “well if we were in the gold rush and we invented the tools, lets join Social Media and we will be quids in”.

Unfortunately, these beliefs can result in disappointment.

You see, you can’t just rush up a profile and expect fans to come running.

In fact, even if you have a high number of followers, it doesn’t mean they’re all engaged or even that they read what you say. In fact, a lot of social media “broadcasts” actually fall on deaf ears. It can be difficult to stand out amongst all the noise.

In addition, even though the platforms are free, your time investment is not. And in order to get results, you must invest quality time on a consistent basis.

So stop…

Before you jump into the gold rush you must think about the key question.

What are you trying to achieve for your micro business?

And the first step is to create the perfect social media plan.

And part of this plan is to carefully decide which social media channel(s) will help you achieve your goals.

What does ‘social media’ mean to you?

Social media could mean many things. In technical speak, it refers to:

The use of web-based and mobile technologies to turn communication into an interactive dialogue between you and many others – be that for personal or business use.

It’s an Internet based tool which allows the reader to engage with the writer or community, both online and publicly.

But, what does it mean to you and your business? And more importantly, how is it going to help you get more customers?

To help here are some answers to the most common questions I get asked. Read them and they may help you avoid some of the common mistakes and false beliefs that get people disappointed.

Q: Why should I be on social media?

A: If your customers are in social media, you must be. Because if you’re not talking about your business or responding to what people are saying, someone else will.

Q: Which channel(s) should I use?

A: Unfortunately there’s no one answer as it depends on your business and your customers. It’s important to look at each platform individually, as not all of them are right for every business. In addition, each of them work in different ways. You don’t have to be on all of them (and you shouldn’t try to spread yourself too thin) – but you should be on the ones where your customers are. As a general rule, LinkedIn works best for B2B, Facebook is very effective for B2C (especially lifestyle businesses) and Twitter can cross over the two.

Q: How do I get loads of followers?

A: You can’t short-cut this. The only way to get loads of followers is through engagement and building relationships with people by showing up, sharing relevant content and being a valuable participant in the network.

Q: What shall I say?

A: Again this will depend on your business. Don’t broadcast sales messages and don’t rely completely on automated content. You’ll get the best results by showing up, responding and interacting. Share anecdotes, tips, great content (yours and other people’s), be helpful, ask questions etc. Yes it does take time but with experience you’ll figure out what works best for you.

Q: How often should I be saying it?

A: This depends on the platform. Twitter is fast moving and to get noticed in a rapidly changing timeline you’ll have to tweet more frequently. On Facebook you can get away with less updates. The key is to check that everything you post adds value to your target customer. Think will it initiate conversation? Will it get shared? Does it take me closer to my social media goals etc?

Q: Why am I using it?

A: This depends on your expectations. Social media can help you find clients, network, make friends, break the monotony of working from home, build your authority, grow your field of influence etc. Ask yourself, why do you want to be in it?

Four top tips for succeeding with social media:

  1. Know what you want to achieve
  2. Choose the right social media channel for you
  3. Be prepared to invest time and money
  4. Measure, adjust, measure, adjust …

Social media has a lot to offer, but just like face-to-face relationships, to get results you need time, focus and sidestep those common mistakes.

What mistakes do you see being played out in Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn etc? What”s your pet hate? Tell me in the comments box below.
micro business action

Today’s Micro Action

Identify a social media mistake you currently make and plan a strategy to tackle it.