With everything moving so fast, it seems that something working today could be obsolete tomorrow. That being said, there are some general guidelines in terms of Do's and Don'ts on social media. Here is a list of common mistakes that people and businesses make on social media.
#1. Relying on automation
Let’s get one thing straight, automation is ROI negative for your social accounts. This strategy used to work 2 or 3 years ago, but using it now will only damage your account’s ranking in the algorithm. Instagram and Facebook’s systems have enough data and are smart enough to detect human vs. automated behaviour. The whole purpose of automation was to grow your account using tactics that worked manually. We used to follow/unfollow, like and comment on every post because it brought exposure and helped us grow. This is not the case anymore. As of right now, it’s not about the quantity of interactions that you have, it’s about the quality. The days of growing your account by leaving 20 comments in an hour, liking 200 posts as well as following/unfollowing the maximum amount of people are long gone.
#2. Not being social
This ties back to number 1. Understand that social platforms reward social behaviour. Making sure to spend that extra 30 minutes a day to comment meaningful things on people’s post and being a part of the community is the best way to build your brand online. Going that extra mile is often what distinguishes you from all the other accounts as it builds credibility and trust.
#3. Abusing hashtags
Hashtags are pretty much useless for growth. Yup, I said it. With the social platforms crowded with automated accounts, using hashtags will only attract automated likes and bot followers who will unfollow you 2 to 3 days later. Instead of using hashtags, try to find engagement groups that are specific to your niche. Having them engage with your content and you engaging on theirs will help the algorithm categorize you in that particular niche. You’ll be much more likely to hit the Explore feed and gain exposure. Another alternative to growing your page is using Instagram’s paid ads or buying shoutouts from bigger pages. When buying shouts, make sure that the seller’s audience is compatible with yours and check the quality of their engagement.
#4. Forgetting to look at the data
In order to grow your audience and bring value to them, you need to open your eyes and adapt to the feedback that is given by raw data. I see too many people stuck at the same spot for months on end because they keep doing the same thing over and over again. Look at what the best pages in your niche are doing and get inspired from them. Analyse the style of their pictures or videos, look at how they edit their videos and how they format their captions. See which posts perform best and go in that direction. Little by little, you’ll get a better sense of what the market truly wants and you’ll develop a communication style that is unique to you.
#5. Focusing on the wrong metrics
Social media is a means to something bigger. It’s a tool. Whether you’re a business or a personal brand, your KPI (Key performance indicator) should be clear and precise. I’m fairly confident to say that the ultimate goal of any business is to sell. That being said, let’s look at what’s better: having 1,000 followers and having 50 of them buy your product or having 10,000 followers and only having 30 of them buy? The fact that people are stuck on follower count is unfortunate. The truth is, your quantity of followers don’t matter as much as the quality of those followers. The audience that you’re collecting should be an audience that is readily open to the content that you’re pushing. You build this kind of following by actually engaging with them and providing them with value. Don’t lose sight of what’s actually important here.
#6. Taking your audience for granted
This ties back to number 5. No matter the size of your audience, you should be grateful for the people that follow you. Make sure you engage with them and bring them value on a continual basis. The best way to lose followers is to take them for granted. You want to build a relationship of trust and loyalty and that has to go both ways. They have to see the disproportionate value that your are bringing them as a brand and they need to feel a part of your tribe. A good book on this is “Tribes” by Seth Godin.
#7. Getting stuck in the right hook business
As Gary Vaynerchuk talked about in his book “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook”, you need to be aware of how much you’re giving vs. how much you’re asking for in return. In a social media context, a jab is simply a post that gives value to your audience. On the flip side, a right hook is a “straight ask”. So many businesses are not getting the ROI that they want from social media because they treat it as a one way communication channel where they’re constantly going for the sell. Make sure you balance it out by actually providing value. Making it all about you will only drive your followers (i.e. potential customers) away. Bring your audience as value as much as possible and from time to time sprinkle in that right hook. They’ll be much more receptive to this approach and your conversion rates will be much higher. The balance of giving value vs asking for something is key in order to maintain healthy, trusting relationships with your audience.
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