The lightning pace at which information moves across the social web lends itself to the eventual mistake. So does human nature.
Take the opportunity to put these unpleasant, wish-you-never-made-them, social media mistakes behind you for good.
1. Putting quantity over quality
Content matters. Quality matters. Conversation matters. Make quality your focus, not the quantity of content you put out.
2. Being reactive instead of “active”
While it is important to reply to inquiries and thank people for mentions, it is a mistake if it is all that you do. Strive to actively seek out others and create conversation in and around their content. Show that you care by paying attention to where they are and what they are talking about.
3. Posting without a strategy or plan
Posting without a social media strategy is similar to tossing content at a wall and hoping it sticks. It is a waste of time and will find you throwing away valuable time, resources and money. Take the time to write down your goals, integrate those goals into your overall marketing plan and create daily tasks that move you towards those goals.
4. Using automated direct messages
Whether you manage an active business account or a personal account with the occasional mention, being “on” at all times is a challenge. This makes automating certain tasks very tempting. One of these tasks is thanking new followers. We have all received that auto direct message encouraging us to “find them on Facebook, download their latest e-book or buy their latest product on Amazon.” Not only are these messages spammy, but they also discourage people from interacting with you going forward. Bottom line: thank whom you can, as often as you can and do it genuinely.
5. Posting without proofreading
Have you fallen victim to the hastily posted message riddled with misspellings? Blame auto-correct all you want, but it’s your reputation that fails in the end. Take two extra minutes to proof your message before hitting “send” and immortalizing those words online forever.
6. Posting while tired or inebriated
Anytime your thought process is impaired, posting should be avoided. Take a step back and think before you post or better yet — put your computer or mobile device away and avoid a potentially disastrous moment altogether.
7. Asking for a RT every time
At the beginning of Twitter’s history it was common practice to end a tweet by asking for a retweet. The landscape and usage of Twitter has vastly changed since then and asking for a retweet in every tweet is a mistake. If users find your content interesting, they will retweet it.
8. Stretching yourself too thin
This one is for anyone who just can’t say no. Whether it’s to the latest and greatest tool or a pet project, taking on too much can leave anyone worn out and weary. As nice as it would be to be everywhere at all times, it is an impossible objective. Streamline your focus and simplify your social media. Take on only what pushes you closer to your goals.
9. Spamming your fans and followers
Creating conversation and engaging with your fans and followers is what social media is all about. Sending spammy messages that take advantage of the trust placed in you is not. Blasting promotional links will only alienate you and your business from the very consumers you are attempting to reach. Just don’t do it.
10. Letting fear hold you back
Don’t be afraid to take a stand and find your voice on social media. Fear can be debilitating as you over-think what to post, when to post and how it should or should not be said. While you should pay close attention to how your message is received, it’s difficult to create your own unique voice if your posts feel generic and stale. This is not to say that you have to throw caution to the wind, only to say that trying out a new approach or tactic every once in a while won’t hurt. You might be pleasantly surprised how those around you respond.
11. Writing a novel with every post
We all have verbose friends. You know who they are — the ones with posts that say “click here to read more.” If you happen to be one of those “friends,” know that not every post needs to win a Pulitzer and not every tweet needs to max out the character limit. Sometimes the best posts are short and sweet. Make an extra effort to condense down your thoughts and share in a clear and concise way.
12. Diluting the power of #FollowFriday
The practice of Follow Friday is a great way to show appreciation to those who have either been following you, or you yourself have been following. The mistake often made is using the #FollowFriday hashtag to randomly tweet out hundreds of names without any apparent connection or forethought whatsoever.
Instead, choose to use #FF as a way to showcase specific people that have made an impact on you both personally and professionally. Share their traits and strengths with your followers in a way that encourages others to then follow.