April 11, 2017

The worst social media advice

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Published: 11 April 2017 

Whether they mean to or not, people often give bad advice. This can happen no matter what industry you’re in. If you’re new to social media, it can be easy to follow bad advice to try and get ahead.

So we’ve sorted through the good and bad advice and found the worst advice that could actually be damaging your social media presence, rather than helping.

Here are five pieces of advice you really shouldn't follow:

1. You need to be active on every platform

When you don’t really have a social media plan, it can be easy to think you need to have a presence on every platform. That means you’ll get more followers and more traffic to your website right? This isn’t necessarily the case.

What often happens when businesses try to stay active across every platform is they get spread thin. It’s time consuming maintaining numerous active social media platforms. Consider what you want to achieve with each social media platform. If you’re not reaching those goals, or you’re struggling to get any engagement, it may not be worth having an account.

Instead, dedicate your time to a few social media platforms. Know your target market and what platform they are most likely to use. If you’re in an industry such as recruitment, you may find more success on a platform such as LinkedIn, which isn’t generally the obvious preferred social media platform.    

2. You should buy followers

Everyone wants to have lots of likes or followers. However, it takes a lot of time and effort to build up your number of followers. Why not quickly boost that number by buying followers? Sure, it saves you time, but is it really worth it?

Social media platforms often have strict policies regarding purchased followers. Facebook Business has a page dedicated to authentic activity, which outlines the platforms policy surrounding purchased likes. If your account is involved in any suspicious activity, you could end up suspended, which could be detrimental to your business.

Social media platforms, as well as Google, take engagement levels into account. If your account has thousands of likes, but no comments, it will instantly look suspicious. If you wanted to buy followers to increase your ranking on Google, think again.

To avoid your account being suspended or even deleted, it’s best to do things the old fashioned way. This will allow you to build relationships with real people, rather than having a bunch of spam bots as followers.

3. Always use hashtags

Hashtags are great, particularly on Twitter and Instagram. It’s a helpful way to join in an existing conversation and find people who are interested in the same topic. Businesses can even take advantage of hashtags and build their own branded hashtag.

However, you don’t want to inundate your updates with hashtags. You want to make sure people can still understand what you’re trying to say in your status. Often accounts, particularly on Twitter, will use hashtags in front of the majority of the words in their tweet. This not only means it’s hard to read, but it decreases the legitimacy of the account. With so many spam bot accounts already existing on Twitter, you want to make sure you don’t end up looking like one. Using too many hashtags is a sure way to look like a spam account.

Instead, limit how many hashtags you use per post, particularly if you’re using them in text. Consider what your update is about, and use those keywords as the hashtags. This will mean your message is clearly communicated to your audience and you will still look professional.

4. You need to post all the time  

The more you post, the more followers and engagement you’ll get, right? You have to be careful about how much content you are posting to your social media pages. You don’t want to be posting at such a high frequency that you annoy your followers and they unfollow you.

Decide on a schedule for each of your social media pages. If you’re placing more emphasis on one particular platform, it makes sense to post to this one more frequently than others. Just make sure you decide on how many posts you want to publish to each platform, and stick to that schedule.

Some tips to follow are:

  • Make sure what you’re posting is relevant to your target audience. There is no point increasing how much you’re posting if it’s all irrelevant.  
  • Know when your audience is online. If most of your audience works 9am-5pm, you’ll want to post when they’re on social media - lunch time, and after 5pm. If you know you have an international audience, analyse your data to find peak times.
  • Use tools such as Buffer to schedule your social media posts at frequent intervals. Don’t publish all of your content at the same time, or else you’ll appear spammy.

5. Automation solves everything 

   

Automation can be great for social media, but only if it’s done correctly. You can use tools to schedule your posts for the week. This is often a necessity for businesses. Particularly if your business doesn’t have a dedicated social media manager, it is generally too time consuming to manually post updates to social media.

However, the danger with automation is businesses may not log into their social media accounts frequently enough. This means you’ll miss engaging with your audience in real time. Use scheduling tools to post content more frequently, but make sure to continue to log into your social media accounts at other times as well.  

When you’re using social media for your business, especially when you’re just starting out, listen to the advice you’re given, but always remember to be cautious. If the advice doesn’t seem completely legitimate, it’s worth questioning it and doing your own research. If you’re unsure, consider the downside to the advice. Only follow the advice you’re completely comfortable with and won’t damage your brand’s reputation.   

Ben Maden

Read more posts by Ben

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