“Be social on your social media” is what I said. They said “I’m going to have to quote you on that”, and they’re correct, they should quote this – and live and breathe it like their existence on social media depends on it. Because it does. Failing to be social on social media is the biggest mistake I see clients make. In general, social media today is like websites in the late 90’s: everyone knows they need it, but have no idea what to do with it. There’s lots of technical things we do to make social media marketing work for clients, but in broad strokes there are three major mistakes that people make:

  1. Fail to be social on your social media
  2. Only talk about yourself
  3. Fail to make a plan

Let’s take a look at each of these.

Mistake #1: Fail To Be Social On Your Social Media

That’s what not to do. You need to be social on your social media. What does this mean in practice? I’ve worked on client accounts where there was no interaction with any of their followers. At all. Zero. Zip. Nada. Zilch. That’s a problem. At the other end of the computer screen, your followers are people, who will love and reward you for treating them like people. You know who has great social media accounts with enthusiastic followers who engage with their content? People who are social with their audience. Think about this in your “real life” — are you super thrilled to talk with someone who is only interested in themselves, or are you more likely to enjoy talking with someone who is also interested in you? The same applies to your social media. Interact with followers. How much you do depends on you, your needs, your time availability, your staff, etc., but the principle remains the same: to get the most out of your social media, you should strive to be social on it.

Mistake #2: Only Talk About Yourself

Your social media accounts will perform better if you don’t treat them like one-way broadcast platforms. As mentioned briefly above, people who only talk about themselves aren’t as interesting to most of us as people who are genuinely interested in us. I’ve fixed client accounts where this was the major problem. If you were to look down ther account timeline, all you would see is “I” — “I did this…”, “I attented this premier…”, “I’m doing that…”, me, me, me. One particular account I’m thinking of had over 5,000 followers (on Twitter) built up over a few years, but most posts had only a few “Likes” or “Retweets” (shares), and most of those were from team members’ personal accounts liking the company account posts. Lame. Uninspiring. Boring.

How did we fix it? The first thing I recommended was to create content that appeals to their base audience that wasn’t about the client directly. Stop talking about yourself so much, and give the audience something that it genuinely enjoys. For you, this could be sharing articles that your audience would like, or videos, or photo/memes, etc. It could be that you create content that your audience will like that isn’t directly about you. For this client that is exactly what we did. I created photo content and memes that the audience would like just for what it is. It worked. Likes and retweet shares per post went way up. That didn’t mean the client couldn’t post about themselves or the status of their projects, it just meant that when they did make those posts, it was in a mix of content of other things that were genuinely interesting outside of what they were doing. The effort paid off for my client — besides significantly increasing their engagement, they also doubled their followers within a fairly short period of time.

Mistake #3: Fail To Make A Plan

This is a big one. You need to make plan, a content plan for your social media accounts. What kind of content are you going to put out for your audience? How often are you going to put it out? And not just how many times per day will you post …something, but are you going to post a resource every week on a certain day? Are you going to do something fun for Fridays? Are you going to occassionaly post a #ThrowbackThursday post? Are you going to post blogs or articles, video content, photos, memes or GIFs? Are you going to ask questions or take polls? Whatever it is depends on your specific needs, but you need a plan for it. Most clients don’t have any idea how to make a content plan for themselves. I think I’ve worked with two clients ever who had a clue what they should be doing on their social media. And the reality for most clients is that even if they did have an idea of what they should be doing on social media, it’s one of the first things to fall by the wayside the moment other pressures in their business crowd their day-to-day plate. When that happens, what we find is accounts that haven’t had posts in days or weeks at a time, and sporadic posting when they do. You need to post something every day. How many times per day depends greatly on your business and your audience, perhaps even your industry. But whether you should be posting one time per day, or 50 times per day, you need to have a plan for what they looks like for weeks to months out. If you don’t, it gets dropped. What’s the return on effort of sporadic social media effort? Less than sporadic engagement. All social media — like all advertising, and marketing of any kind in any age – is fractional. You only get a fraction of return on your effort. If you want to see that effort compound and give you a good return, you have to work it, and that requires a game plan.

Putting these three principles into effect in your social media efforts will go a long ways to helping you avoid the most common mistakes people make, and set you up to have a more interested, more engaged, more active audience on your social media accounts.