10 Deadly Sins of Social Media

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Photo Courtesy of Lance McCord

In social media, like anything else, there are far more ways to fail then there are to succeed. With a little thought however, you should be able to avoid shooting yourself in the foot before you even get started being the next great thing on the Internet . Here’s a quick list of the 10 most common mistakes I see small businesses and professionals make in their social media engagement.

  1. Not having a plan – The concept of “Ready, Fire, AIm” is a sure way to waste time and effort without getting results to benefit your business. Too many people become fascinated with tools and soon burn out when they feel frustrated by too much effort and too little positive reinforcement
  2. Doing it all at once – with the proliferation of online networks and social channels, its tempting to want to be everywhere as quickly as possible. But like most things, doing less, and being more effective is better than doing a lot of things poorly.
  3. Hiring an expert who may not be – Before you decide that the next expense you’re going to bear is a new socil media expert, Google them. See where they interact in the social space. What’s their style? Is it consistent with your business? What channels do they use? What is the nature of their experience? Who have they worked with and what are their results?
  4. Giving it to the intern- I know it seems easy, but they aren’t you, and they may not be the person you want to craft your company message. In addition you will need to  monitor everything they post and their interactions with your current,past, and potential customers. Not to mention the fact that you are at their mercy if they choose to leave.
  5. Speaking before you listen- That old saying about God wanting to telling us something when he gave us two ears and only one mouth is never truer than in the world of social media. We need to listen to know the timbre,tenor,and tone of the online conversation so our contributions are timely and appropriate.
  6. Making conversations one-way-  It’s really not all about us. Our needs and the messages we want to deliver have to be second to the needs and wants of our community if we want any chance to connect with people in a meaningful manner. Conversation must be a dialogue, not a monologue to be effective in our many to many communications.
  7. Confusing size with quality- A lot of the “get great quick” social media schemes seem to center around creating large followings – but its not the number of people following you that make your interaction effective. It is more important to have meaningful dialogue and interaction with your community than it is to have any specific or gargantuan number of followers.
  8. Not being consistent in your identity-  People need to be able to find you, but they also need to be able to recognize you when they do – don’t hide your lovely smile behind cute artsy shots, photos of your pets or children, or your company logo – people want to connect with other people – use that to your online and offline advantage. Wouldn’t it be  a great thing to have someone recognize you and say hello when you are out in your physical community?
  9. Not being constant in your efforts- Its not enough to have a blog, you need to populate it with content. Having a Twitter account is neat, but not if you don’t use it to engage with members of your online community. You don’ t need to be tweeting and posting 24/7 but if people know they can expect a certain amount of content from you at regular intervals, they are more likely to look forward to it, and to engage with you more regularly. It would be better to write a blog post once a week , every week, than it would be to write 5 posts, , not write for a 2 months and then write another quick 3  posts. Television shows that get moved from might to might lose their audiences because its just too hard to follow them – your blog isn’t so inviting that people will work harder to find your content.
  10. Not filtering enough- People need to know about you, but your reputation is not enhanced by over-sharing or sharing inappropriate content. Be thoughtful about what you (and your friends) post – that cute late Saturday night video or photo might not look as appealing in the harsh light of Sunday morning.

But the 11th Deady sin, the one you want to avoid at all costs is the sin of sloth – defined by Wikipedia as ” Reluctance to work or make an effort; laziness.” because social media is like the Lottery in one respect – If you don’t play, you can’t win.  Get out and get involved with whatever online community you want to participate in. Be giving and thoughtful and the best member of that community you can be and your social media efforts won’t go unrewarded.

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