Top 5 Common Social Media Marketing Mistakes You Need to Avoid

Social media can be a wonderful and glorious thing for businesses of all sizes. In theory, it levels the playing field because everyone has access to theoretically the same audience; you just have to get their attention. Whether you’re a mom and pop shop on the corner or you’re a mega corporation, you still have to play by (mostly) the same rules.

And yes, that means “lowly” Internet entrepreneurs, professional bloggers and online startups can get in on this action too. However, you’ll find that far too many people go about social media marketing in entirely the wrong way. Here are five of the most common mistakes. Are you guilty of any of these?

1. Getting Caught Up on Followers

It’s true. Social media can very much be a numbers game. When you’re on Twitter with only a couple hundred followers, it’s hard to make any sort of real impact. It’s hard to generate any substantial sales. But that doesn’t mean you should don that black hat just to boost your numbers for the sole sake of boosting your numbers.

It can be very tempting to hop on a service like Fiverr and buy as many followers as you’d like. It’s tempting to participate in follow-for-follow schemes. While these can help for some extra visibility, they’re not going to help much in the long run. When almost all of your followers are fake accounts and bots, you’re not getting any real value out of Twitter anyway. You’re far better off with 1,000 real genuine followers than with 10,000 bots.

2. Not Engaging with Fans and Followers

Believe it or not, the people on the other side of that tweet or Facebook update are actually real human beings. And while you may certainly approach your social media marketing strategy from the perspective of a brand or a business, it doesn’t mean that you should treat those platforms as nothing more than soapboxes and billboards.

Engage with your audience. Reply to comments. Ask them questions. Get involved in the conversation. Start conversations with other profiles and accounts in your niche. It’s not about standing on some podium and screaming at the top of your lungs; it’s about getting in the trenches and shaking a few hands.


3. Spreading Yourself Too Thin

I’ve written before about why you shouldn’t build your business on rented land. That’s still true, but you can still leverage social media platforms to your advantage. Just don’t go throwing all your efforts into every new channel that pops up.

Remember Ello? Most people don’t. It was a flash in the pan and it was ultimately inconsequential. If you were to divert too much of your time and resources away from established platforms like YouTube, Twitter and Facebook to grow your Ello following, you would have wasted it all. Sure, set up the account and claim your name, but don’t stretch yourself further than you need to.

4. Overdoing the Automation

One of the most common mistakes that I see particularly among solopreneurs and small business owners with humble budgets is that they want to do everything manually. When they tweet or post a Facebook update, they’re doing it in real time. That’s just not practical.

On the other end of the spectrum, you find many of these same people going way too far with the automation. Everything is scheduled out days or weeks in advance. They have a “set it and forget it” mentality with social media, which just doesn’t work either.

This becomes especially problematic when you use software that will automatically share links that match a certain keyword search. It’s annoying when you see a Twitter feed filled with “So-and-so liked a YouTube video [link]” updates. Automation can be good. Automation can be useful. Just make sure it’s still genuine and authentic.

5. Focusing Only on Yourself

I don’t blame you. It makes a whole lot of sense that you’re really only interested in this social media platform or that one because you want to get your name out there and generate some business. You’re in it for the money. You’re looking out for the bottom line.

This relates back to the second point above, though. If you only use these social media platforms to blast out your marketing messages, if you only talk about yourself, your followers are going to lose interest. They want to connect with you. They want to engage. They want a real conversation.

Particularly in realms like Internet marketing, you can’t really look at other people in your industry as competition. You’re colleagues, in many ways, and it’s worth connecting with them to share strategies, tips and insights. Share links that your followers will find interesting, useful or entertaining. Just like on your blog, the goal is to provide value. The money can follow.

Do you see any particularly bad social media practices out there? Share them in the comment section below!

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11 thoughts on “Top 5 Common Social Media Marketing Mistakes You Need to Avoid”

  1. Carl Davies says:

    This was a wonderful post. I ALWAYS look at social media as Grow, Share, and Engage. Those three things are the basics of social media marketing.

  2. Yes, through the years getting tips like this from John my awareness about social media marketing has been increase. Amazing post John..

  3. Great post! Some very useful stuff we can start using today.

  4. Love ’em all Michael.

    I am stunned at how folks flop on social….until I review my dingbat career on social in the past 😉 I was self-centered, link-posting and never really engaged, for long stretches. But then I focused heavily on #1; big-time mistake I made, focusing on numbers versus people.

    Yep; human beings, real ones, live and in the flesh, are on the other side of our tweets and Facebook messages. I remember that every time I get social on social and every time I leave a comment on a blog post. Because I remember that you are a real person Michael, and all the readers who scan comments are real people too. Helps me humanize the process and also this helps me enjoy the process of building a rocking blog SO much more.

    I engage folks on Twitter 1 to 1 for at least 20 minutes daily. This is the main reason why I have 50,000 followers and an engaged following. People know I am human. Not just words on a screen. Not just links. I tweet with folks, for folks and help humans on Twitter. I do not tweet at them. Big difference. I also thank tons of Tweeters on a daily basis for their RTs because doing so builds bonds which benefit both parties. If I make friends, we all lift up the collective Twitter-sphere.

    Become obsessed – in a good way – with making friends 1 engagement at a time. 1 interaction at a time. This is a secret to avoiding all of the mistakes above. Because each mistake is a fear based error that roots itself in moving away from making loving 1 to 1 connections toward trying to get more numbers or followers or traffic or whatever.

    Traffic does not buy your course or review your eBook. Traffic does not hire you. Human beings do. So treat folks like actual human beings. Be engaging. Be kind. Be helpful. Your social media campaign will really, really pop.

    I wrote an eBook about how to drive traffic – and profits – through Twitter. Almost the whole eBook centered on service, helping, engaging and making friends. This is it. What so few folks understand. Smart social for bloggers and online entrepreneurs is not about mass broadcasting. It is about helping, making friends, having fun, serving, promoting others and enjoying the ride.

    Make social a party. Social will love you back.

    #5 is one I have dissolved a bit over the years. I still share my travel stories to inspire, and to add more juice to my brand, but in the same regard I ask folks questions and help at every turn, and retweet other blogger’s content regularly, to make it about them much of the time, too. This means less links and more text. Especially on a platform like Twitter. This is where the engagement really begins to pop. This is where things come together beautifully. Less links. More text. More chats.

    Just spend 10 minutes daily in the beginning on a site like Twitter. No overwhelming. Help like 5 or 10 Tweeters by RTing their interesting, targeted blog posts. Giving opens you up to getting as generous folks get retweeted, engaged and yep, people will actually click on your links when you dive deep into the engagement and resharing side of things. Givers prosper nicely.

    #4 is all about popping in a few times daily to do things manually. I do automate freely since I am always circling the globe but I’m not asleep at the automation wheel. 5 or 10 minutes here and there every day, for a few sessions, helps folks see I am real, human, engaging and not using social as a 1 way street. I listen. Gotta keep it genuine and authentic so feel free to automate from an authentic space – as noted – but keep that engagement train going too. That sweet mix keeps things fresh and also ensures people will click on your auto updates too.

    As for scheduling weeks out, I know one thing about the future: I am eating a Buddhist veggie lunch in Thailand in 5 minutes LOL. I rarely plan things out more than the next meal. All we have is the moment. So seize it, make the greatest impact, and if anything, schedule a few days out to keep your creative energies in the Now.

    Thanks for sharing Michael.

    Signing off from Chiang Mai.


  5. Jenny Ma says:

    Great post, I did some of those mistakes and I’m now focusing on engagement more than the numbers. Also, I suggest focus on one social platform at a time for a beginner, then move to the next once you master it.

  6. Hindi India says:

    Very useful post. Keep sharing more good information. Thank you.

  7. Hey,
    These mistakes if taken into consideration will increase your business influence for sure!
    And all these are very simple and increases your costumer insights,
    Thanks again.

  8. Sandeep says:

    Having an 80:20 approach to social media marketing is the best. 80% of your content should be aimed at educating your audience and the remaining 20% can be devoted to marketing/promotional messages. The sad part is that most brands are focused only on themselves and as such don’t see a lot of traction on social media.

  9. Is says:

    Hi Michael,
    Thanks for the post, I was focusing on automation and promoting just myself thank you for this post. I guess, I am going to look for some other ideas to engage more with the followers.

  10. Hi Michael,
    Thanks for the post, I was focusing on automation and promoting just myself thank you for this post. I guess, I am going to look for some other ideas to engage more with the followers.

  11. Corey Adan says:

    Well, this is my first visit to your blog! Your Social media marketing blog provided us valuable information to work on social media marketing mistakes. You have done an excellent job! Thank you for posting such a good article.

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