Guest Post - How Not to Use Social Media

The following post was provided by Nick Rojas. Nick is a business consultant and writer who lives in Los Angeles and Chicago. He has consulted small and medium-sized enterprises for over twenty years. You can follow him on Twitter @NickARojas.

There are many recommended ways to use social media, a low-cost way to reach market segments, whether you’re a large or small business. Using netiquette and abiding by the decorum of each social network are a great start.  In order to be effective using social media, however, there are almost just as many suggestions of what to NOT do.

Take a look at some of these “don’ts” when it comes to social media management. Here’s what not to do when marketing via social media:

1. Exist on one social platform

Some marketers focus their attention solely on one social website, like Facebook or Google +. This is definitely a missed opportunity to reach other demographics that are part of your audience but who may hang out on different platforms. 

2. Try to use all social platforms

The opposite of the preceding offense, trying to maintain a presence on all social networks often results in spreading your coverage too thinly. Pinpoint where your audience is located, and focus on those platforms rather than casting your net too wide.

3. Copy & paste

Due to the availability of free social media management tools, it’s possible to schedule numerous posts over several social networks at once. Avoid the temptation to send the same message out to all your platforms -- it looks tacky and deprives you of the ability to hone your presence to fit each channel. 

4. Don’t update your homepage

All of your social media platforms should point back to your homepage. Don’t get caught up in updating all your social platforms and forget to add fresh content to your website. This content should include: news, events, product updates, and perhaps a blog.

5. Be professional at all times

You can sound knowledgeable on social media without sounding like a snob! Try adding a human quality to your interactions online -- people will remember how your brand makes them feel.

6. Forget email marketing

Just because there are so many social media outlets to choose from, doesn’t mean you should move away from emailing your contact lists. Email blasts are still a hugely effective way of generating web leads, and should be sent out periodically.

7. Ignore the critics

Your presence should be regular and consistent on social media. Be visible and don’t shy away from potential criticism online -- it likely will come up at some point. Instead of shying away from potential negativity, allow room for it and deal with it as needed.

One of the worst thing you can do on social media is failing to respond to customer service issues, basic complaints, and the like. Your social media pages are where you can control how your brand is presented and packaged -- don’t miss out on the opportunity to address potential detractors and turn the story around in your favor.

8. Focus exclusively on social media

Social media is an important arm of online marketing and is a great way to add to your roster of content around your business. It’s important to plan your time wisely when it comes to web platforms -- there’s always more that can be done on social media, more interactions to be had and more content to create or strategies to try. If you are also responsible for maintaining a blog, it’s a good idea to limit your usage and focus on those longer pieces.