Social Media Advice You Should Ignore. There are a lot of so-called “social media experts” dishing out advice, sometimes based on limited experiences, and sometimes based on nothing at all. Even the true social media experts sometimes share some misguided advice based on their beliefs and experiences. So with all this bad advice out there, how do you distinguish between what you should and shouldn’t believe?
Have no fear! We’re here to share some of the worst pieces of social media advice we’ve seen to debunk all those misguided “best practices” and steer you in the right direction toward social media marketing truth and justice.
Terrible Pieces of Social Media Advice to Ignore
1) You need to be on every single social network.
If you have limited time and resources, don’t spread yourself too thin by trying to maintain an active presence on every single social media site. Research and learn about the makeup of the audience that populates each social network so you can figure out where you should focus. If your audience isn’t there, don’t waste your time. And as new social networks pop up, feel free to experiment with them, but be ready to let them go if they don’t work for you, and let your analytics be your guide. At Fusion Media, we’ve tried pretty much every social network that’s popped up, but some have fallen by the wayside, and we’ve focused our efforts on the networks that continue to generate results for our clients’ marketing. Not sure where to start? LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are safe bets.
2) Focus on Facebook …
… or LinkedIn … or Twitter … or Instagram. Yes, you should want to focus your social media marketing efforts, but at the same time, no single social media site is the Holy Grail. Experiment with a few sites, determine where your audience is, and focus on the few that are the best fit for your company.
3) You don’t need email.
The day Oprah signed up for Twitter and user registration skyrocketed, we didn’t all cancel our email accounts. We’ve been using Twitter for over 7 years, Facebook and LinkedIn for even longer, and we live in my email. Social media didn’t make email marketing extinct; it just added another integrated channel to make email even stronger. Remember: One of the first steps in signing up for a social media account is usually to provide your email address. And communicating via social media, in some cases, is the same as communicating via email.
4) Social media is the new SEO.
If we’re talking buzz words, then yes, social media is the new SEO. But social media, in terms of function and strategy, does not replace SEO. In fact, it’s just another case of two marketing strategies working better when they’re together. Social media posts now show in search results, social media engagement influences search rankings, and SEO can drive more people to your social profiles and posts. Once again, social media is an additional channel -not one that replaces existing efforts like SEO. Billions of searches are conducted every single day, and you don’t want to miss out on that traffic.
5) You can automate all of your updates.
Social media can be time consuming, so the automation of your updates is, of course, appealing. But the tough reality of social media is that it’s all about people talking with people, and people can easily see through rubbish. Especially automated rubbish. Automating all your updates screams “I don’t care about actually being here. Just come read my content.” While it’s okay to automate some content publishing (for example, your latest blog articles), you still need to support that with real conversations and interactions with your network.
6) Send an auto DM to all your new followers.
Whether you want to thank them, tell them to visit your website, or anything else, please please please don’t send an auto direct message (DM) to every new follower you get. Auto DMs are incredibly impersonal and perceived as spam by most. Sending auto DMs not only seems inconsiderate, but it also makes you look like a complete newbie who doesn’t understand social media etiquette.
7) Include popular hashtags in your tweets to get more exposure.
There was a time when hashtags were used as a great way to organize tweets. In fact, it’s still great for specific campaigns or events so a group of attendees or participants can share and monitor content related to that campaign/event. But when it comes to topic-related hashtags (e.g. #marketing #boston), people don’t really monitor those hashtags, so your organized content is not reaching a new audience. Using such general hashtags makes you look, once again, like a Twitter newbie who’s trying to game the system. It’s also commonly referred to as “hashtag hijacking.” Today, hashtags have also become a way to make a comment about the rest of the tweet. For example: “Had to wait for AN HOUR to get my iPhone 5 today. #1stworldproblems”
8) Use a tool that autopublishes your posts to all social networks at once … to save time.
We’ve talked about how automating all your social media updates is never a good idea, but we also said it’s okay to automate some of your content sharing. But there’s an exception to that rule, because you should never publish one message and send it out to all your different social networks at once. Yes, it will save you some time, but it’s also a terrible practice. Not only does this look automated, but you should also consider that different social media sites favor different types and frequencies of content. For example, images do fantastically well on Facebook. And you can post much more frequently to Twitter than to Facebook than to LinkedIn. Furthermore, you likely have people who are following you in all three of these networks. How obvious will it look that you’re automating your efforts if they see the same message posted to all three social networks at exactly the same time? With these key differences, you simply can’t autopublish the same post to all sites at the same time and remain effective.
9) Don’t get personal.
Social media gives you the opportunity to share a bit more personality than your website may allow. In fact, personality is often what gets you noticed in social media. After all, People don’t fall in love with hex colors and logos – they fall in love with people. Show the personality behind your brand and people to make your social media marketing more lovable so people naturally want to connect and engage with you.
10) If you make a mistake, you can delete the post to fix the problem.
Once again, once a comment is out there, it’s out there – whether it’s your prospect’s, your customer’s, or your own. There’s no stopping people from taking screenshots and sharing them with their connections even if you delete the comment later. So think about what you say before you say it. And admit to any mistakes you make.
11) You need to have a social media policy.
Social media policies waste time policing what is okay or not okay to publish in a single channel. But it’s impossible to anticipate every single scenario in social media, and on top of that, you don’t want to end up slowing down your publishing frequency, since speed counts on social media more than in other channel. So instead of a full-fledged social media policy, put together some guidelines that are easy for your employees to remember and keep in mind as they make their own decisions about what to publish in social media. As we mentioned in number 14, at HubSpot, our policy is simply to “use good judgment.”
12) Social media is completely free.
While, yes, there is usually no cost to sign up for a social network, you can’t stop there if you want to achieve true social media marketing success. You need to actually use the site, publish content, and engage with your followers. All of that takes people’s time, which isn’t free. So to be effective in social media, you’ll need to invest in human resources. Furthermore, the businesses that are truly effective in social media are also paying for marketing analytics software so they can measure the ROI of their social media marketing and improve upon their strategies and tactics. To be effective in social media, you will need to invest in people resources.
13) You can’t measure social media.
When you approach social media – just as when you approach any channel or tactic – you should know what your goal is. Is it new leads? Is it to increase the reach of your content? Is it to reduce customer support calls? Whatever your goal, measure the progress toward that goal. Measure how many leads come from social media. Measure how many visits to your blog came from social media. Measure the number of customer support phone calls against your social media activity. Figure out your metrics, and track them.
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