Over the past few years, it’s struck me how often people ask me the best way to participate on social media. While we are becoming more mature in how we leverage social media for public relations and marketing, there are still some common mistakes I see peopel make. Here are the top five mistakes that I think you or a company should avoid when you begin any social media activity:
1. Self-serving comments: It’s a fine line between being helpful and being self-promotional. I think this is the most common mistake you’ll see. Companies or individuals will research blogs and post comments only as way to promote their content. As a rule of thumb, it’s better to leave out any promotional stuff and add comments that contribute to the overall discussion.
2. All About Me: Many marketers and people still subscribe to the notion of broadcast media, just sending out updates about themselves. Social Media is about conversations and engagement. Listen to the conversations and participate when appropriate (see point 1).
3. Follow You, Follow Me: I call these folks the “pied pipers of social media.” You know who I mean. They’re the folks with hundreds and thousands of friends and followers on Twitter or Facebook with no discrimination. Unless you’re a top personality, be selective on who you follow.
4. Hit & Run: I’ve been noticing this trend recently. It’s very similar to point 1 but in a different way. These are individuals who join communities, liked LinkedIn Groups, and only post discussions or responses that are only related to their company. I call these folks hit & runners as they run in, post, and run out again.
5. Hot to Trot to Not: When individuals or companies begin participating on social media, they tend to be very excited. They join different networks, jump in on tweetchats and comments everywhere. But after the luster wears off, their participation begins to wane, until eventually they disappear. For corporate brands, it’s important to have a calendar of content and several individuals contributing to your social media channels.
And believe me, I’ve committed a few of the mistakes above, though I won’t tell you which ones =) What other mistakes do you see?