3 common social media marketing mistakes you should avoid

If you do a quick search on Google for "common social media mistakes" you'll pretty much find the same points being covered again and again.  Everything from not posting enough, failing to stay engaged, not having a plan, etc. I think by now a lot of these are pretty much ingrained into our heads. So instead, I wanted to point out a few mistakes that may not be so obvious:

  1. Placing social media icons without links to profile pages
  2. Using hashtags on Twitter for #everything
  3. Automatically linking your Facebook updates to Twitter or vice versa

Mistake 1: Placing social media icons without links to profile pages

How many times have you seen the following examples in marketing materials?

Photo of social media icons
Photo of social media icons

There are two big problems here:

1. How is someone supposed to find any of your profile pages?

Let's use Leukemia & Lymphoma Society as an example. If I were on Facebook, I'd probably do a quick search for “leukemia & lymphoma society,” which would return a lot results.

Screenshot of Facebook search results for leukemia

But which one is it? One might assume it would be the first result, but that’s not the case. You can see how things are starting to look.  You’ve already created confusion, possible frustration and even a potential loss of a fan by making it harder to find your actual Facebook page. And that’s just on Facebook, we haven’t even touched on how to find profiles on Twitter or YouTube, which aren't as nearly straight forward.

Furthermore, adding icons without telling anyone where to find you is like writing “Call Us” and adding an icon of a phone (credit to Gary Vaynerchuk for this great analogy).

Photo of call us phone icon

Would you ever do this?

2. Don’t assume everyone in your audience is digitally literate.

Do you know what these icons are? I sure don’t...

Unknown icons

Remember, it's not like a website where you could potentially click on it to discover more. It needs more context.

It's also safe to say there are plenty of people out there who probably aren't even that familiar with Facebook or Twitter icons. Just look at the fragmentation that exists with various Twitter icons that can be found.

Twitter icons

So, what's the right approach?

Lush is a great example of how a brand can execute and promote social media by explicitly telling their audience where to find them.  From this ad, it's clear where I need to go on Facebook and Twitter.

Photo of Lush ad using social media placement correctly

Mistake 2: Using hashtags on Twitter for #everything

Hashtags were created by early Twitter users as a simple way for people to follow a topic within Twitter by using its search function (http://search.twitter.com). It was a favorite among conferences and events and today has quickly morphed into much more.

However, hashtags should add value and context to what you are tweeting about and used sparingly. Unfortunately, too many people abuse the use of hashtags and feel the need to include it in every other tweet. The Luxor hotel (@LuxorLV) in Las Vegas is a good example.

Screenshot of Luxor tweet
Screenshot of Luxor tweet

By using hashtags so frequently, it dilutes the purpose and fragments the conversation by becoming increasingly irrelevant to your followers.  When it comes time to create a meaningful one for a marketing campaign, topic or event, it can be a lot harder to distinguish and your followers will think it’s just another hashtag.

Mistake 3: Automatically linking your Facebook updates to Twitter or vice versa

Screenshot of connecting Twitter and Facebook accounts

Want to post your Tweets on your Facebook profile? Not a good idea. Facebook and Twitter are two different platforms and should be treated as so. People on Facebook expect different things than people on Twitter.

Facebook allows for greater in-depth conversation and dialog, while Twitter is great for real-time updates or sharing of information via links to websites. Twitter also has a much higher threshold than Facebook for message saturation. A typical user on Twitter can make up to 25 tweets a day, which is completely acceptable, whereas on Facebook 25 posts a day would quickly annoy your friends and fans.

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