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Inbound Marketing Blog

    Has Your Company Graduated From Social Media School Yet?

    Posted by Bill Faeth

    3 Common Social Media Mistakes

    In case you hadn't heard, the growth of social media as a tool for business shows no signs of stopping. As of August 2012, 72% of marketers saw an increasing demand for social media services. The fact is that many of us are still getting used to Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest as real tools to promote our brands and manage public image.

    Even relatively-savvy millennials can make some serious social media errors from time to time. From misunderstanding the various types of personal Tweets to trying to marketing your business on the wrong kind of Facebook profile, here are the mistakes your small business should strive to avoid:

    1. Facebook

    Facebook profiles are for humans, while Facebook Pages are for businesses. Marketing your business as a person is ineffective, so make sure you set up your profile on the right platform from the start. Besides, Facebook Pages offer benefits that profiles don't. Here are a few top reasons your business needs a page, not a profile:

    • You can have multiple administrators of a Facebook page, which means you can share social media networking responsibilities without having to give away your passwords or risk losing access.

    • Pages are better optimized for results on major search engines.

    • You can categorize your page by local business, brand, musician or other categories in order to maximize your visibility within the social network.

    • Fans don't need permission to like a page, but you need to accept people as friends before they can start interacting on a personal profile.

    2. Twitter

    Mixing up two common types of personal tweets, replies and mentions, is an error we see far too often. Well-meaning Twitter users don't realize that by putting a handle at the beginning, they'll significantly reduce the content's mileage. Tweets that start with a handle like @TwitterUser are only visible to the recipient and your mutual followers. Here are a few examples from my real-life interactions over the past few days.

    Here's an example of a reply gone wrong:

    avoid the common social media mistake of using replies instead of mentions





    While this Twitter user meant to share my content within their network, the Tweet was only visible to mutual followers of their account and SEO guru Rand Fishkin, as well as the interactions feeds of the mentioned parties. Here's an example of someone who's using handles better in a Tweet of the same content to maximize visibility to all their followers:

    Don't mistake replies for mentions on Twitter





    3. Pinterest

    Even experienced marketers are guilty of making errors on Pinterest. After all, the social media network is almost brand new, having only been open for business since May 2011. It's tough to pick a single type of mistake, but not taking the time to designate specific and searchable board categories has to be the top one.

    Too often, well-meaning brands find themselves using a single board. The purpose of Pinterest is curating and organizing content. Even if your brand is pretty niche, chances are that you can come up with several categories that you cover on you business blog, like customer FAQ, team spotlights and tutorials. Dumping all your blog content onto a single board will just give the impression of disorganization. Southern Living is an awesome example of a brand that pins to a wide variety of well thought-out board categories: 

    Southern Living uses a variety of creative board categories

    The lifestyle magazine's social media experts win extra points for not just stopping at basic categories relevant to the publication like food, fashion, decor and entertaining. They currently have 75 boards which allow them to curate and cover topics in-depth. Boards with recently-pinned content at the time of writing included creative ideas for decorating pumpkins, apple recipes and two whole boards dedicated to creative tailgating!

    The fact is, we're all guilty of social media mistakes from time to time. The key is to learn the basics and avoid repeating the most common mistakes that plague brands. From creating a searchable, categorized Facebook page to taking the time to put some thought behind your Pinterest boards, a little effort can take your social media strategy a long way!

    What are some of the common social media mistakes you see on a regular basis?

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    Image credit: freedigitalphotos.net/digitalart

    Topics: Social Media