Social media is an invaluable tool for businesspeople–if they avoid social media mistakes.
With social media, entrepreneurs can promote not only themselves, but their companies as well. Engaging on social media is one of the best ways for people to expand their brands and reach an entirely new audience.
It’s part of how Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick led his Santa Monica, California-based company to become one of Fortune’s 2015″100 Best Companies to Work For.” Activision was already the world’s most profitable and largest Western interactive entertainment company–publisher of “Call of Duty”–even before it acquired Major League Gaming this month.
Here is an example of an excellent use of a tweet by @CallofDuty and retweeted by @Activision that shared Black Ops 3 is the top-selling game of 2015 worldwide. Note that it has 856 shares and 2,500+ likes:
While social media can be a phenomenal tool for promoting your company and yourself, it can also have a detrimental effect when used incorrectly. Make sure you are not making these 8 Social Media Mistakes That Are Killing Your Brand.
To ensure that your company is getting the best results from your efforts, here are some of the biggest social media mistakes made by businesspeople on social media and how you can avoid them.
Mistake #1: Being Immensely Irritating
“Immensely irritating” might sound a little vague, but you know it when you see it in the world of bosses and entrepreneurs on social media. The fastest way to annoy your followers is by tweeting non-stop advertisements for a company or brand.
People come to sites like Twitter and Facebook to engage in conversation and learn about new ideas. While people on social media are indeed receptive to hearing about new products and services, they aren’t receptive to a sea of uninspired messages begging them to spend money, also commonly referred to as “spam.”
If you spam your social media followers, you can be guaranteed that they will eventually block your account. Worse, they might even report you to the site’s administrators. It’d be nice to think that people could easily sell a product just by sending out a large volume of tweets and posts, but that simply isn’t how it works. Instead, you have to create engaging content that will really entice the reader.
Mistake #2: Being TOO Controversial
Some companies have been known to try to create controversy in a misguided attempt to “go viral.” Examples would be companies posting something graphic, shocking, or extremely political in the hopes that people will flock to their company’s social media profile or website for the sheer shock value.
Sure, controversial social media posts can drum up some attention. But this kind of attention does not always lead to any real or meaningful advertising for a brand. There might be something to be said for individuals or performers attempting to go viral. However, when it comes to entrepreneurs, this sort of shock advertising is best avoided–unless you’re Richard Branson.
Mistake #3: Speaking, But Not Listening
Social media isn’t designed to be about one person speaking to a large audience. Instead, it’s supposed to be about multiple people having back and forth conversations. The worst thing that a businessperson on Twitter or Facebook can do is to post a status, but then never respond to followers’ comments.
If you really want to ingratiate yourself to your followers, it’s best to actually have a back and forth conversation. If someone sends you a message or leaves a comment on one of your posts, send them a message in turn. Over time, this sort of back and forth communication will do wonders for your brand and your online image.
Mistake #4: Being Dull
While you want to avoid being controversial on Twitter or Facebook, you also want to avoid being incredibly dull. There are scores of businesspeople on social media who created accounts merely because they thought it was the smart thing to do, but then they never share anything of value. These accounts rarely become popular and do little to promote the person’s company.
Not everything you post on social media needs to be related to your business. You can make appropriate jokes, share articles that are of interest to you, and post fun and interesting information. Ideally, your social media pages should be a mix of information related to your business and non-related interesting content that is exciting and fun for your followers.
Mistake #5: Losing Interest
There are plenty of social media pages that are abandoned after only a few months–often because a business fails to have a viable strategy. Make sure yours avoids these 10 Stupid Mistakes Small Businesses Make With Social Media.
When you first launch your social media presence, don’t expect to gain thousands of followers overnight. Many of the most successful accounts on Twitter today took years before they really built a following. However, these people continued to post messages and links during this time, even when it seemed like no one was reading or listening to what they had to say.
Persistence is the name of the game when it comes to building a successful online presence. When you first start out, don’t be embarrassed if it feels like you’re just talking to a blank page. If you regularly update your social media pages with quality content, eventually you’ll build a worthwhile audience. It just takes time, patience, dedication, and interacting with your followers.
Entrepreneurs and businesspeople can’t afford to not be online today. Social media is here to stay and it’s the simplest way for you to enhance your reputation and spread awareness of your brand. If you can post quality content consistently, you will eventually see the fruits of your online efforts pay off.
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Guilty of Any of These Biggest Social Media Mistakes?
We have all seen major mistakes made on social media. Some can be painfully embarrassing, but create no lasting damage. Others have been known to cost a business large amounts of money. Ask United Airlines, whose refusal to compensate a musician for damaging his guitar resulted in several viral videos that dropped the company’s stock by 10 percent and cost the airline $180 million dollars. Just one of the videos now has 1.55 BILLION views–and still climbing seven years later.
The moral of this story is social media is not optional, but businesses need to do it well. Don’t entrust your brand’s reputation to a free intern given no guidance in what your brand’s values are–to say nothing of what will offend your customers. Treat social media as the golden goose it can be; take it seriously!