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Common social media mistakes – and how to avoid them!

Posted: August 17th 2016

Social media has taken over the world. With Facebook alone having more than 1.71 billion active monthly users worldwide – that’s almost a quarter of the people on our planet – it’s a pretty immense phenomenon to say the least. There are many ways to use Facebook, and all other forms of social media for that matter, but if you’re using it to help promote your business, you’ve got to be a little bit more careful. Every day, people make massive blunders without even realising they’re doing it, and there are certain social media mistakes that businesses just can’t afford to make.

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Mistakes? What kind of mistakes?

It may come as a surprise, but businesses making potentially damaging mistakes on social media isn’t unusual at all. For example, ask yourself: when was the last time you came across a post asking you to tag your friend or share a photograph on Facebook in order to win a prize? About half an hour ago? Us too! Thousands of these competitions are being shared around the internet every day, but in fact, these types of contests are against Facebook’s rules and regulations – and these rules are not to be bent.

Competitions themselves aren’t banned, but you are not allowed to use them as a direct tool of brand awareness, i.e. getting people to actively share your page. You are, however, allowed to ask people to like your page or to privately message you to enter. You could even just use Facebook to direct followers to a competition page on your website – there are many ways of holding a contest online without breaking the rules.

As a business owner, you have to remember that Facebook reserves the right to take down any account they deem to be breaking their terms and conditions, so every risk you take should be seriously considered first. You can view Facebook’s business rules and regulations in full here to make sure you never slip up.

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But not all mistakes go against the official rules...

Many of the mishaps made on social media aren’t actually going against any particular principles. They are fine to do, just counterproductive for the business. A perfect example of this is when someone has a new business page – be it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or any other platforms – and they ask their friends to ‘like’ or ‘follow’ them. And then they ask their friends’ friends to do the same. You need to understand: these people are not your target audience! Sure, they will boost the amount of followers you appear to have online, but more often than not, these followers aren’t genuine or valuable to you.

The less your followers interact with the content you post to social media, the less visible you will be to those who have actually liked your page. Facebook and Twitter like to promote successful business accounts with real, active followings, so making sure your audience is authentic is crucial. There are plenty of ways to find relevant followers, both organically and through paid advertisements. One tool that could help you find the right following and organise your social media properly is Followerwonk.

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Do you keep engaged with your followers and make them feel valued?

If your followers care enough to comment on your social media content, you should show them your gratitude and respond to them. Nothing shows good customer service like taking the time to appreciate their interest with a little Tweet or a Facebook comment. However, this must be a personal action. In the past, some companies have set up automatic responses to their social media interactions and it has landed them in quite a sticky situation.

Take American Airlines, for example. They set up an automatic response on Twitter when they were merging with US Airways thanking users for their support. This was sent to every person who sent a Tweet to them, even when someone branded them “the largest, sh**tiest airline in the world”. A little pointer, American Airlines: you’ve got to expect the bad along with the good! This is social media we’re talking about – there’s always going to be someone voicing a negative opinion. You’ve got to second guess the reactions your posts might receive, and be prepared for any repercussions it may have.

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We’ll be back soon with a second blog outlining some further social media mistakes to avoid at all costs. Until then, why not get in touch with us and let us know your social media queries, or even take a look at some top social media tips from the experts?

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