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Social media advice is as common as dandelions on the lawn…and sometimes is about that welcome! Some people treat social media advice like a weed and just pluck it out of their mind as soon as they’ve heard it, instead of watering, seeding and fertilizing the lawn. Some weeds are prettier than others, and just like weeds, some social media advice is better. Here are a few pieces of social media advice that are fit for the ‘circular file’. If your social media expert is telling you to do any of this, it may be time to weed that garden!
Social Media Advice to Ignore
Auto-connect all your accounts
If you’ve been told you should connect your Facebook so it autoposts to Twitter and LinkedIn, and your Instagram to Facebook and Twitter, and your hip bone to your leg bone… it’s definitely time to rethink that strategy. Each network has its own culture and features and if you’re writing one post to fit all networks, you’re missing out on the advantages of using each networks unique features. For example, if you write an engaging post for Facebook, tagging other Pages and people, it will be cut off at 140 characters when it’s auto-shared to Twitter. If you write an engaging post on Instagram, including your max of 30 hashtags, those hashtags annoy your followers on Facebook because they aren’t that popular over there. Writing a post on Twitter including hashtags, or worse, tagging other accounts, doesn’t translate well to any other network when auto-shared.
Sometimes it is possible to write a post that can be cross-posted successfully, but it is an art. You won’t be able to use many hashtags and you won’t have the advantages of tagging accounts on any platform other than the one on which you wrote the original post.
Automate DMs on Twitter
No matter how many times people say they hate receiving an automated direct message (private message) on Twitter, people still do it. Sometimes it’s an innocuous “Thanks for following me” with an attempt to get someone to check out their profile on another social network. More often I’m seeing veiled attempts at getting people to DO something like Retweet, buy, download or subscribe to the person’s programs.
It bears repeating: If someone has just followed you, trying to get them to follow you elsewhere, buy, download or subscribe, is like proposing marriage on the first date. Give them time to get to know you, see your tweets, learn what you’re all about. Provide value and THEN they will do all of those other things. Social media isn’t immediate. It’s social and it takes time. Give your followers time to see the value in your Twitter and they will search you out on other platforms.
And to be clear, I do not find it valuable to thank every new follower for following me, whether it’s manually done and personable, or automated. Let’s be honest. Saying “Thanks for following” doesn’t provide any value and, in this day, it doesn’t help to build relationships. As a matter of routine or strategy, I do not thank 99% of my followers. I concentrate on providing value. I do occasionally reach out to new followers when there is something of interest in their bio or feed. That’s authentic. That’s relationship-building.
Sell, sell, sell
Social media has been corrupted by marketing. Yes, I’m a marketer and yes, I participate in that. It’s still true. Social media was developed to help people be more social. Every platform is truly built with the users in mind, not the marketers, so you need to think about everything from the perspective of your followers. Do you want to log on to Facebook or Instagram and see one big, long newsfeed of ads? Even if you feel that’s the case on a network, it’s probably more a feature of who you’re following than the actual network itself. People don’t want to be “advertised to”. They want to learn more about the people behind the business. They want to have a relationship with the people running the accounts. (Granted, huge brands are a bit different.)
Yes, it’s ok to talk about your products, services, programs, but it should not be the main focus of the content you’re posting. There are many formulas suggested by many social media experts as to how often you can post a “sales call-to-action” on your accounts:
- Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook – Gary Vee
- 10 to 1 – 10 non-sales posts earns you the “right” to post one sales post
- 60-30-10 – 60% conversation, 30% sharing, 10 % sales
Of course you want your followers to know and understand what it is you’re selling, you just don’t want to hit them over the head with it repeatedly. Provide value first. Sell later.
SEO doesn’t really matter
A dearth of SEO experts and agencies sending spam emails to everyone with an email address has really hurt this industry. Take for example, the one that came in to my own email as I was writing this blog post, aimed at “improving the rankings of my real estate listings”. Umm…yeah…I’m really glad he didn’t find my real estate listings on Page 1 of Google, since I don’t have any! This kind of ridiculous cut and paste spam really gives the SEO industry a bad name.
SEO does matter, especially for a small, local business! But you don’t need to hire one of those agencies that cold emails you a bunch of cut and paste crap. Start with using proper SEO techniques on your website when you write your page content and blog posts. If you need more help, search for SEO agencies in your city and go talk to them about what they will do. And for heaven’s sake, if they aren’t on Page 1 of the Google results for “SEO agency in my city” then keep looking! If they can’t get themselves on Page 1, how can they do it for you?
You don’t need a website
I must have been having a psychic break when outlining this blog post because another email that came in while I was writing it asked if it was necessary to have a website upon opening a new business, or if social media would suffice. The short answer is “YES” you still need a website. Your website is the hub of information and social media should be treated as the spokes that drive traffic to your hub.
A website is the only property online that you can really own. You are borrowing your account on social networks… you don’t own and control those sites. If a social network has a service interruption (#FailWhale anyone?), or shuts down altogether (Blab), where will your customers go to find out about you? And one last caution, your presence on the top social media sites isn’t always secure, can disappear without notice and can be very hard to get back.
So there you go. A few pieces of social media advice I think you’re better off ignoring. Do you have one to add? Let me know in the comments!