As social media has become a more important part of communication strategies, we’ve seen many examples of social media done well. But we’ve also seen some organizations taking (or not taking) some actions that look clumsy, inexperienced or just downright bad. Here are just a few social media marketing mistakes:

1. Neglecting your accounts

There’s nothing worse than finding a favorite organization on Twitter and then realizing they haven’t updated since 2008. Don’t sign up if you don’t have the time to devote to making it a useful channel for your audience! If you realize you won’t be able to keep up, delete the account. It’s better to have nothing at all than a lonely, ignored site.

2. Over-selling yourself

Your social media space should be a true representation of your organization. If you’re not the top in your industry, don’t try to present that image. It doesn’t take long for followers to figure out that you’re not what you say you are. Keep your image honest and authentic.

3. Using incorrect grammar and spelling

Would you send out a press release that said something like, “We’re here 4 whatevr U need!” No, you wouldn’t. Social media may be informal, but it’s still a direct communication tool. Your posts should be credible and clean. If not, you’ll come off as cheap and unprofessional. Hold your social content to a high standard.

4. Discounting smaller niche networks

When creating a strategy for social media, your mind automatically jumps to Facebook and Twitter. These are good channels when you’re trying to reach a general mass audience. But it’s important to also consider the many small networks popping up around the interwebs.

There are sites for all sorts of interests – from motherhood to music to manga. For example, Cafemom is a popular site for mothers. Treehugger is a social news site focusing on environmental issues. And Stache Passions provides a social site “for singles with a passion for the [mou]stache.” There’s a community for everyone. If your organization fits into a niche network, you could find yourself in an automatic hub of your target audience. And you didn’t have to search very hard to find it.

5. Disabling the comments section

Not allowing your audience to comment on your content sends the message that you don’t care what your followers have to say. Social media is…social. We understand wanting to avoid negative comments on your sites, but you will appear more approachable and human if you take the criticism and complaints in stride. Handling negativity well often wins respect.

6. Astroturfing

Sure, gaining more fans and followers makes you feel successful. To some extent, if your numbers are increasing, you’re doing something right. (Not that your follower count should be your yardstick for success.) All too often, though, in desperation for more fans, organizations encourage personal friends and family to become fans and followers, even if they have no professional interest in your organization. Your mama is proud of you, but she’s not buying your product. Don’t rely on these easy fans that are nothing more than numbers for your business. Focus on nurturing relationships with people who have a real interest in your organization (with the money to back it up).

We know there are lots more social media marketing mistakes out there. Which do you encounter often? Have you made any social marketing mistakes yourself? 

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