I began the summer thinking I had a pretty clear understanding of social media; after all, I’d been active on Twitter and Facebook for several years.
Wrong. Little did I know there is a whole lot more to social media than fitting as much information as possible into 140 characters or just blurting out what happened to me that day.
Over the last four months, I’ve been heavily involved with blogs, websites, and social media during an internship. My biggest take-away: rather than just being active on social media platforms, you must be effective.
Time and time again, across many social platforms, I’ve seen social users misuse opportunities to grow their brand by not taking the time to review what they post, or promote. These rookie mistakes hurt, rather than help, their social influence… often without even knowing:
If I Can’t Find Them, I Can’t Read Them
Too often I visit a website looking for their newest insightful blog… and can’t find it!
Your writing is decent, or I wouldn’t be looking for your blog. Yet you do a disservice to your audience and yourself if you don’t take time to make your blog easy to find. Is it that hard to build a ‘Blog’ tab on your home page? Not, it’s not.
Failing to Include Sharing Buttons
I want to share. I like to share. Sharing makes me happy. Your blog post, sans sharing buttons, doesn’t make me happy. These buttons make it simple and easy to share your material with social sites such as Facebook, Twitter, etc.
People are all about convenience. If you don’t make it easy for others to share your material, chances are that they won’t. Not adding sharing buttons to your posts is a crime!
The plug-ins are free and easy to install. Get it done!
Forgetting to Customize the Share Message
Once you install these sharing buttons, review the tweet/post the plug-in generates for you. If you don’t, sharing your post on Twitter might actually HURT your brand.
What do I mean by this?
If you use services like WordPress and ShareThis, chances are your tweet looks like this:
“Your wonderful blog post ow.ly/kdj928 via @sharethis”
Or maybe this:
“Your wonderful blog post wp.co/38d93k via @wordpressdotcom”
WordPress.com didn’t write your wonderful post. You did! If your tweet gets several “retweets”, you might not have any idea because @wordpressdotcom gets all the notifications. Don’t let this happen to you!
Dive into your sharing settings and configure your tweets to include your Twitter handle and branding. If at first it appears there’s no way to do this, Google it. Trust me, there’s a way.
Failing to “Sell” Your Post (Make Me Want to Read!)
Tweets and Facebook posts need to provide the reader with a hint of what they are about to click on. If you don’t include a title, summary, or even just a subject in your social post, readers are far less inclined to click on your link. Personally, if all I see is a URL or shortened link, I think: “You didn’t bother, why should I?”
Take an extra 15 seconds to include a synopsis or introduction. Make it interesting or creative; sell me on why your post will benefit me.
Putting URLs in Your Facebook Status Updates
A common mistake everybody, and I mean everybody, makes at one point or another: when sharing a post on Facebook, the link remains in the status bar. This clutters the post. Don’t do this!
Copy and paste your link into the status bar. Then, wait for Facebook to load the link (after a second or two, you should see a thumbnail and your link appear below the status bar). Then, delete the link and write your quick summary or introduction.
Until now, you may not have known you made these rookie mistakes on social media. Now you know. Fix them, because each hurts your social influence.
That is the difference between being active… and being effective.
About the Author: Mack Watts is heading into his sophomore year at The Ohio State University. He’s one of the Social Media Outreach Interns at YouTern. In his spare time, Mack is a big sports fan, and enjoys listening to music, and hanging out with his family. In addition to blogging for TheSavvyIntern, Mack also manages and writes for 6 Rings. Follow Mack on Twitter!