“How do you find the time to manage all of this social media stuff?” That’s one of the most common questions I’m asked whenever I present. And sometimes, I get the sense that people are hoping that it’s so complicated and time-consuming that they’ll have a great excuse NOT to do it. Not to learn [...]
Social Networking: 7 Big Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
Participating in social networks is a bit like being on a reality TV show.
- Everything you say is public.
- Once it's out there, it's out there.
- It's easy to get voted off (other people's friend/follow/connection lists).
To help you manage social networking, here are seven of the biggest mistakes people make, along with tips to help you avoid them.
Social Networking Mistake 1: Failing to observe the local customs
If you're new to a network, take a little time to lurk and learn. Ideally, watch someone you respect and follow their lead on the local etiquette.
For instance, on Twitter when you @reply to someone (versus messaging them privately), it's polite to mention the topic so others aren't excluded.
Social Networking Mistake 2: Seeing a social network as a market for hawking your wares
Depending on the network, rampant self-promotion can lose you friends, get your account suspended, or have you banned.
Instead, provide value to your network-mates by being entertaining, informative or helpful. If your overall contribution is high, then there may (depending on the local rules) be room for a little promotion, too.
Social Networking Mistake 3: Being insincere
Social networks don't interfere with the functioning of phoniness detectors. People see right through the tactics of disingenuous networkers.
Authenticity and transparency are the buzzwords of Web 2.0. Be yourself.
Social Networking Mistake 4: Using the network as a forum for personal expression
Complaining about your mother-in-law, providing minute-by-minute updates on the minutiae of your daily emotions or broadcasting zit updates is unlikely to win you friends and followers.
Unless you can do it in a way that edifies, entertains or empathises, it's best to save this stuff for a journal. Or therapist.
Social Networking Mistake 5: Being insensitive
Religion, sex and politics are perennial hot potatoes. If you're looking for a finger-burning carb fix, then great. Otherwise, be extremely tactful or avoid these areas altogether.
Social Networking Mistake 6: Lobbing tennis balls
Know someone who asks vague, lazy questions that put the ball in your court to engage meaningfully? You click their profile and see the exact same 'How are you doing?' message sent to 20 other people.
Social networks are a great way to connect - but treat each person as the individual they are. If you want to engage, take responsibility for finding a genuine point of contact. You'll be more likely to get a response and make a connection.
Social Networking Mistake 7: Having a boring profile
If you want your social networking dance card to fill up, make an effort. Don't have a bio that reads 'Since my birth in 1972 I've been - '. SNORE!
People invest a tiny amount of time deciding whether or not to add you to their social network. Make it easy for them by keeping your profile uncluttered and interesting. Include your photo. Consider using your real name.
Avoid these mistakes and you'll be less likely to get voted off the island. Instead, you might just find yourself with the prize - a great network of people!
You might be interested in this upcoming event...
NEW: Social Media for Small Business Webinar Series
Practical ways to use social media to grow your business
Online Webinars - Starting 28 May 2013
NEW webinar series: designed to dispel the myths about social media and arm small business owners with skills and know-how to make social media a powerful force for business development and bottom line results.
Experts will present practical ways to use social media to:
- Build brand awareness for your organisation
- Network and make connections all over the world
- Build your personal profile and position you as a credible authority
- Drive traffic to your website, blog or social networks
- Convert social media followers to leads and leads to customers
- Grow you reach with suppliers, staff, resources, alliances, sponsors