Ten common social media mistakes

Social media networking is a marketing phenomenon too powerful to ignore. Many companies use it wisely to communicate and connect with existing and potential customers, but just as many use it incorrectly. Here are some wincingly bad social media practices:

1) Posting a page and then walking away from it. Just having a presence on social media sites won’t cut it.

2) Setting up a social media site if you’re paranoid. You must be willing to reveal — at the very least — the culture, or personality of your business from an insider’s perspective.

3) Spamming others with a constant stream of promo messages. They call it “social” media for a reason. Use it to communicate with, and listen to, others.

4) Joining a social media network if you don’t understand how it works. Get advice and hands-on help from people or agencies in the know, and commit time to learning about this medium on your own.

5) Assuming social media networking can replace traditional advertising and public relations. Your Web site, social media presence and traditional media messages — print and broadcast — should link together and carry a consistent message.

6) Having a presence on every social network platform you come across. Choose your networks carefully, based on their structure, their following and your company’s goals.

7) Expecting to realize direct sales. Trying to blatantly push your products or services through social media will alienate more potential customers than it will cultivate.

8) Thinking others will flock to you. Be pro-active in linking to others’ pages, friending those who want to friend you, and taking time to converse with others and comment on their posts.

9) Don’t think because it’s cost-free it isn’t expensive. Your social media marketing efforts require time and management.

10) Don’t assume it’s a “necessary evil.” Approach social media with an open mind and a generous spirit.

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