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18 Rookie Errors on Social Media (And How to Stop Making Them)

Tue 30th Dec 2014
By Todd

New Year, new you?

We’d all like to be better at most things, but often the big ones are hard work.

Did you know that most people make the same simple mistakes on social media and that most of them are actually really easy to change for the better?

I recently assessed the social media output for a business and realised that most of the things they were doing wrong were very common.

The person I helped out was a presentation mentor. He helps serious people give serious talks to even more serious people. It’s a tough thing to do well and to learn how is something that takes years to get right.

But social media isn’t that far from this whole presenting and talking angle, you know.

 

Why is social media like giving a presentation?

If you didn’t already know, presenting in front of camera should be done in a relaxed and conversational manner. When done well it feels casual and personal, and you get a real connection with the presenter and viewer (think Philip Schofield).

No one wants to hear an overly-rehearsed script. It makes the viewer feel awkward and you’ll risk sounding fake and robotic.

This should be your drive behind social media too…

Social media is just people talking to people.

When you think of someone who presents badly or reads from a script, it all feels and sounds disingenuous – this is exactly what happens with bad social media.

Social media should be you talking to your reader as if they’re the only one there. So many businesses just tick the box of social media and automate a load of sales drivel and frankly it bores people off.

When you approach social media do it like a piece to camera. Talk to the reader, share your skills and advice and be ready to engage like a Q&A at a presentation.

 

18 Rookie Errors on Social Media (and how to stop making them)

  

I looked at Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and blogging and as these are the most commonly used channels

 

 

Twitter

Bufferapp's Twitter bio

 

Fill out your bio. It’s really obvious but you need to and you should revisit it fairly often too.

Your bio should say what you do in business but add something more personal about yourself too. You may be the business or you may not, but people will first connect with you as an individual. An interesting (and amusing if possible) fact works wonders.

Get people to connect on a lower level to begin with.

Not everyone on Twitter will be interested in your business but they will know people who are. For them to follow you and eventually refer you to others, you need to appeal to them first. A simple fact, hobby or interest can work wonders.

 

Your profile picture should be a headshot of YOU. You are not a logo and when I talk to you I don’t talk to your business card. If your audience can see your face then they will connect with you more easily.

Don’t underestimate the power of an image of a human face with online interaction.

Disclaimer: This can be tricky for huge brands like Buffer, but they’re still human in the banner image although this is not seen across all of Twitter

 

You’re not following many people. One of the best ways to get more followers is to follow more. People often follow back and they will look at your bio when they do.

Engaging with them when they follow is key to success too. When someone connects with you on Twitter go and have a look at them. What can you relate to? What can you help with? What do you think about them? Try to strike up a conversation, as this is where the magic happens.

 

You’re auto-posting from other networks. Mostly these posts will look great on other networks with the image or social card showing and it will make sense and engage people.

On Twitter though, it becomes a random headline and link and won’t always make sense. Twitter is a different platform so share it differently. Post it on Twitter with a great headline, link and comment on the link. Tell people why they should click it or offer to discuss it.

 

Share great content for your audience that relates to you and your business. Find content that’s linked to you and your business. If it’s great content and creates good brand awareness around your account then this is good, no?

Entertain your audience for followers to keep them interested in you or simply to keep them noticing you.

Relevance should always be above hilarious though. Cat videos are the most shared content on social media but how would that help your audience learn about you? If it wouldn’t then don’t share it. Try to keep a focus on your business and targets.

 

You’re not tweeting enough! Most accounts need to tweet around 10-15 times per day or more if you can. You need to be there. You need to tweet to be noticed. On Twitter, people only notice you when you’re actually there; not when you’re not there.

Keep the balance right and share useful stuff for your audience but feel free to relate it back to you and your business when you can.

 

Facebook 

 

JCF on Facebook

 

Sharing useful content is still important on Facebook but it’s a different audience. On Facebook the fans want to be amused, entertained and maybe given the odd offer and freebie. Mix up your posts to keep them interested.

 

You’re probably not posting enough. Re-write the content from Twitter and share it on Facebook too. Videos and images work wonders on Facebook but you need to ask questions and share content that people will want to share.

Take content from your blog or website and ask questions about it. Share your newsletter content or the latest article you’ve been featured in. Get everything about your business shared everywhere, but make sure you post it like it’s expected on the different networks.

Posting twice or even three times a day will boost your reach and engagement purely because you give people more chance to see you.

 

It’s really hard to get any visibility on Facebook as a business without paying to advertise. That said, Facebook advertising is good and it’s one of the most targeted advertising out there. You can target a very niche audience for not a lot of money. The advertising system is tricky though, and may require some time and practice.

One of the easiest ways to advertise on Facebook is to ‘boost’ posts. BUT only boost posts when they’re already doing well. We do this for clients when a particular posts gets more engagement than usual. Boosting a post for a few quid can really add reach to your posts.

Test for free, then pay for the best performers!

 

Sharing links on Facebook has changed. Links shared on Facebook now show the main image and the page title. They look more professional and they get more clicks. Read the Buffer blog about Facebook sharing tips.

Now you can share the link by pasting it into the status box, waiting for the image to load, and then deleting the text link.

People click the image as it has a great headline pulled from the website. Add your own headline as the status and you get a really nice looking post like this:

 

Post later. Facebook people are around more in the evening so test sharing later in the day. We are a nation of sofa surfers and we’re often online when we have time at night.

 

People want what’s in it for them and your free content is a great way to give it to them. Do you have a free eBook or content? Advertise it on Facebook to the right audience and help to build your email list. You’ll have no doubt seen these types of posts in your feed and if you’re like me then you’ll have signed up for the free content.

Advertising only works if you target the right audience, so make sure you spend time getting this right in the Power Editor side of Facebook advertising.

Experiment and set aside a budget to advertise in 2015 as Facebook reach is from zero to 6% for average business Pages.

 

Google+

 

Sauber F1 team on Google+

 

Google+ is a tricky one as the readers are nowhere near as engaged as the other networks. That said, there are some great communities you can find by simply searching in the communities for subjects that you know about or your business offers.

 

Google+ is linked to YouTube. Your comments on your YouTube are linked to your Google+ profile so make sure you have some up-to-date content or your YouTube fans will see a tumbleweed-filled social profile which doesn’t look great.

 

Fill out your bio and your banner image. Too many people signed up to Google+ and then left it. Most Google+ Business Pages that I come across are like a forgotten car project broken on the drive of social media with a cover over them and sat on bricks.

Is you business unfinished? Is your website live without content and with broken links and poor navigation? (I hope not.)

You wouldn’t leave your website or business unfinished and live, so don’t do the same with your social media!

Get your Google+ profile finished. Add your banner image and fill out as much of the bio and description as you can. It’s all good for your SEO and it also makes you look like you care!

 

Share once or twice a week on Google+ to keep it topped up. Join some cool communities and join in the conversation. All this helps your website ranking too if you link your Google Maps Places to it.

 

Blogging

 

Todd.blogging

 

Good, you’re blogging. Blogging is a massive part of content marketing and it will give you masses of content to share on your social media.

 

Sharing your blog is very important. Share your posts on all your platforms but do it separately. Try to avoid ‘one-push posting’ with Hootsuite or similar.

Each platform is different so treat them that way.

 

Here’s a recent blog I wrote and then shared on social media. Note the different ways I shared them to tailor to the audience there. I shared the blog on Twitter over 20 times as it’s really busy there but I did change the title in the tweets or pick out different aspects of the blog each time.

 

As you can see, for Twitter I used a simple headline, image and link.

 

With Facebook I used the same link method that I mentioned above.


 

Google+ is a mini blog (click the ‘read more link) but I simply copied and pasted the intro paragraphs and added to it.

 

 

With your blog, the headline is the most important part

 

I’ll say that again…

 

The headline is the most important part

 

More often than not this is the first or only thing people will see. It shows on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and of course in your blogroll.

Once you’ve written an awesome post you need to make sure that your headline sells it. The blog I shared above on the three social channels gives you more insight into headlines and why they’re so important.

You need to sell the post in one line. Tell them what it is, why they need to read it and how long it will take them.

 

Try doing this for your next blog post:

Write the title to describe your post.

 

“6 simple tips to help you master Twitter for business.”

 

This title tells you that it’s a short piece and what it will do. Add some powerful words to resonate with the reader and you’re off to a strong start.

 

Then change it…

 

“6 powerful tips from an expert to help you master Twitter for business.”

 

Now the title works better as it now has the social proof of being written by an ‘expert’ and they’re now ‘powerful tips’ too!

 

Then build it up…

 

“6 incredibly powerful Twitter for business tips from an expert – that you can use right now.”

 

This is a long and descriptive style that I use quite a lot. It not only explains the post but it also has words like ‘now’ and ‘you’ in the title.

 

“You can do this now!”

 

(Powerful action words get clicks).

 

Play around with your titles. They really are important, as ultimately you need folks to click on your links.

Tell them why they should.

Convince them that they should.

But always make sure you deliver on the promise (people hate click-bait!).

 

Stop making the same mistakes in 2015 – fire up your social media marketing in 8 easy steps

Social media will still grow in 2015 and it’s unlikely to stop. Social media has been arguably the biggest thing to happen to business for a very long time. Those who do it well integrate it into their business and don’t treat it separately. Successful social businesses are just that – social businesses. Make sure you remember that in 2015!

 

Make a great start and follow these key points:

 

  • #1. Improve or fill out your bio. Basics but so important. This might be the only chance you have to get reach – make it count.
  • #2. Be human, not a logo. Show your face, lose the logo and build human connections.
  • #3. Treat each network differently. Each social network has a different audience, language and style. Create bespoke updates.
  • #4. Share more great content from your business and your industry. Find great articles with Google alerts or RSS feeds. Share useful and valuable content to your audience if it’s relevant.
  • #5. Share more! Tweet, Facebook, Google+ and blog more. There’s a strong chance people aren’t seeing you simply because you’re not around enough. Use scheduling tools to share your main posts and messages and then schedule time to ‘be social’. Join conversations and relevant hashtags and communities.
  • #6. Connect with more people. Help others to find you by finding them first. Like other Pages, circle other people, follow other accounts and comment on other blogs. Get out there among them and watch them come back to your fold.
  • #7. Start paying for social. Social media is starting to close the doors on the free to play. Facebook has made the first move and now you can advertise on many of the networks. Start by setting aside a small budget and testing the results. It’s a very targeted way to advertise, especially on Facebook.
  • #8. Selling your content from the titles down. Not only does this work on blog titles but on tweets, updates and posts too. It’s busy out there, so give your potential readers a shortcut with a great and compelling title.

 

 

Make 2015 the year that you start with a bang. Get the simple parts right first. Build a good foundation and then move onto the next step. Too many people rush or just tick the social media box and move on. Invest time now and reap the rewards this time next year. Social media should be a core part of your business – start treating it like that.

 

Now it’s your turn…

Where will you start? What should everyone be doing in 2015?

Please hit me up in the comments with your suggestions for simple improvements to your online marketing in 2015

 

 

 

 


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Todd

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9 comments on this article

  • Geraldine at 20:18pm on December 30th 2014

    It might just be my browser, but I seem to be missing two images (both Facebook ones) so have large gaps in my version! Think you also missed adding a link:

    Also, am intrigued as to your advice to “only boost FB posts if they’re already doing well” – can you explain the logic behind that?

    1. Todd at 20:31pm on December 30th 2014

      Hi Geraldine.

      The Facebook gaps are because you’re logged in as your page. Log in as you on your browser and they’ll appear.

      By only boosting popular posts I simply mean wait for a post to do well on Facebook (better than normal) and then ‘boost it’ from the bottom right of the post.

      Because the post already has good interaction it helps it perform better. This is because of the social proof of others liking and commenting on it and Facebook helps content that is popular.

      1. Geraldine at 22:21pm on December 30th 2014

        Actually, both times I was logged in the same – just clicked through from my email Inbox. First time not there, second time they were!!

        I sort of understand the logic re. boosting posts, but it seems slightly odd to pay to boost a post that’s already doing better than average organically rather than boosting one that needs a bit of a lift…

        Is there a time window during which boosting is most effective?

        1. Todd at 22:25pm on December 30th 2014

          We all want extra reach and views, right?! Well boosting popular posts ensures we get more of those.

          The theory works because when we boost posts that perform badly they don’t do much better when boosted.

          Time frame doesn’t seem to matter but generally you know what’s working a few hours after you post it.

  • Geraldine at 20:19pm on December 30th 2014

    The missing link is ‘Link to Buffer blog about Facebook posts’ (pasted it in above, but it seems to have vanished!)

    1. Todd at 20:32pm on December 30th 2014

      Thanks. Fixed that 🙂

  • Geraldine at 20:29pm on December 30th 2014

    Ignore the above (except my question!) as this time all the images are there!

  • Sarah at 10:02am on February 11th 2015

    Really useful article Todd, with simple clear actions you don’t need to be tecno whizz to implement.

    1. Todd at 12:29pm on February 11th 2015

      Thanks, Sarah.

      Here’s hoping you can put them all into practice! 😉

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