I am sure many of you have noticed a new breed of expert; they first started popping up about 4 years ago, admittedly more rare then, now though they are quite prolific. Many have studied the unusual behaviour of this new breed – the so called social media guru.
They give out advice that is often based on third-party sources rather than first hand experience, some are more akin to the second hand car salesmen or our favorite fool; Del Boy, “stack ‘em high, sell ‘em cheap and shout a lot… about yourself”.
By the way, we do consider ourselves to be very good at social media and marketing and helping our clients, we may even at times have been flattered to be called experts. However, we recognize that it is a bit like gardening – you work hard and tender to your crops and learn from what worked and what didn’t.
Keep your eyes open when it comes to “expert advice” as even some of the real experts can be wrong. Have no fear! Here is part I of the worst social media tips along with the right remedies.
1. You need to have an account on ALL social networks.
The Verdict: What a waste of energy and time. Unless you have unlimited free time and resources, you don’t have to create an account on every social media website there is out there. Find out about the audience that populates the site and how you can benefit from it. Ideally, start with Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. They are safe bets.
2. Focus on Twitter…
Or LinkedIn…or Facebook…or Pinterest. The Verdict: There is no Holy Grail of social media. Instead of focusing all your efforts on a single channel, experiment with a few over a period of time. It’s the easiest way to find out where your target audience hangs out the most.
3. Social media = SEO.
Verdict: Oh, you wish it was that easy. In terms of buzz words that may in fact be the case, but social media interactions cannot replace SEO, they can enhance good SEO. Look at it as two marketing strategies which give the best results when they are combined. Your social media posts do show in search results and this can drive additional traffic to your website, but you still need good SEO. In 2012 alone, over 5 billion searches were made on Google…a day. Don’t miss out on all that traffic.
4. All your updates can be automated.
Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. The Verdict: “I don’t really want to talk to anybody in here, just come read my content. Bye.” If that is the message you want to spread to your followers then go ahead, schedule all your updates and save precious time. But don’t forget that people are on social media for the chance to interact…with real people. Of course you can automate some of the content, but don’t forget to actually show up to the party.
5. Automated DMs to new followers are the best.
The Verdict: You must be out of your mind! One word: SPAM. That’s how 90% of your followers will view an auto DM. Whether it’s you thanking them or linking them to your website, it looks inconsiderate and impersonal. And that’s what it is. If you don’t understand social media etiquette, pop down to a pub or bar and try handing out your business card to everyone there uninvited and see what happens. Better – take the time to mention them in a post or send a short “thank you” message. Even a simple “Welcome aboard to all new followers this week/today” is much better.
6. Use popular hashtags in your tweets for more exposure.
The Verdict: Debatable. Hashtags used to be a great way to organize tweets and get a message across. There are at least two types of hashtags, but be careful how and why you use them. If you only use a hashtag for the sake of using it and it doesn’t serve any purpose, it’d be just as hashtag hijacking.
7. More content + more social media accounts = success.
The Verdict: People can see straight through the crap. If you think that simply having a presence on multiple social media sites and overwhelming people with excessive content are enough reasons for a successful business, you need a big lesson in social media. People want content of high quality and the bar is set high. In short, it’s quality over quantity these days and you’d better have a few quality posts than many of bad quality.
8. Automatically publish posts to all your social networks at once.
The Verdict: Automated tools are never the right choice. Ever. All right, maybe sometimes, but once you create a blog post or an update, post it on social networks at different times and change the message. Remember that social media sites favor different frequency. While it’s acceptable to tweet more often, make sure that Facebook and LinkedIn have exclusive content, e.g. images look great and do quite well on Facebook.
9. It’s fine to outsource your social media lock, stock and barrel.
What is social media? Your surest way to communicate with your brand’s audience. The Verdict: You need to use your own voice. Outsourcing is not such a bad idea, but it can go terribly wrong, unless you make sure that the person you trust with it is willing to: a) learn, b) listen and c) put your brand first. Don’t hire an intern with no real-world work experience to manage your entire social media presence. Here at K&I we always want our clients to engage with the process, we are their partners and we won’t do everything – it doesn’t work that way. Call us and we can explain in more detail and perhaps become your partner? 😉
10. Social media is not the place to get personal.
The Verdict: On the contrary! Social media is the right place to share a bit more of your personality, experience and opinion. If there is anything people despise more than automated posts and messages, it’s the lack of personality. Reveal something about the people behind the brand and others will naturally want to connect with you more.
Stay tuned for Part II of the Worst Pieces of Social Media Advice. Let us know if you have read or seen anything that you would want to add to the list.