Recently seen on a T-shirt, “You read my T-shirt. That is enough social interaction for the day.” If that is your approach to social media, then chances are you are not fully utilizing the various social media sites, especially the big 3: Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Perhaps you are using the top three, but not in a strategic way  that is advantageous to your company. Just having an account and making the occasional social media post does not yield very good results! However, there are some pitfalls you can avoid to make your social media interactions better. Make note of these social media faux pas that can make sure your social media pages produce results for your business.

Facebook “Yays” and “Nays”

  1. Not filling out the About section. Facebook provides a place for you to list the location, company hours, type of business and much more. Don’t bypass this important aspect of promoting your company.
  2. Not paying attention to your social media page. You don’t want guests to find a page a filled with random links, spam or promotions that are not part of your business. Pay attention to posts made and delete those that are counterproductive.
  3. Not spacing out your updates. No matter how much people may love to hear about your activities, don’t overdo by posting multiple successive posts. Conversely, not making frequent (3-5 times a week) posts is just as bad.
  4. Do not “put down” your competition. This only serves to make you look bad. Remember the Golden Rule!
  5. Do not use hashtags on Facebook, save those for Twitter.
  6. Be sure to watch for spelling, punctuation and verbiage errors! “Their”, “ there” and “they’re” all have different meanings and uses just as “your” and “you’re” do. However, if you do see an error after making a post, stop and correct it then, rather than waiting until after people have “liked” it or commented on it.
  7. Along with spelling errors, pay attention to elements like using ALL CAPS and excessive punctuation!!! This only serves to take away from the impact of the post.
  8. Not responding at all or responding with the same answer from multiple admins. It is important to let followers know that you are there and “listening” to what they say, but if you have multiple admins, make sure the admins are communicating with each other so they don’t post duplicate responses.
  9. Don’t be glory hound! Social networking means interaction with others; it is not a solo platform.
  10. Not using the tools provided. Elements like the custom URL, the description, hours of operation, detailed info, etc. are easy and free ways to promote your business. In addition, be sure to use the Facebook Insights, so you can better use your account.
  11. Don’t leave the shared link in the status. Once you post the link in your update and the preview pops up, you can take the link out of the text.
  12. Don’t expect users to generate the content. If they do comment, great! But it’s up to you to create engaging content.

Twitter Do’s and Don’ts

  1. Not leaving enough room for people to retweet. Rather use only 120 out of the 140 characters available. If you have a link in the text, use or to shorten links and free up space.
  2. Over-using the #hashtag. Yes, they add interest but don’t get all #HashtagHappy.
  3. Don’t use a QR code in place of an avatar. QR codes have many great uses, but your Twitter feed is not one of them.
  4. Tweet at indiscriminate times, not just during hours of operation. You can use programs like Hootsuite to schedule your tweets for “random” times.
  5. Just the facts! Don’t tweet about something unless you have the facts, or you may lose followers.
  6. Like on Facebook, don’t make all tweets about you! Follow the 80/20 rule where 80% of the tweets are beneficial or entertaining and only 20% of tweets are self-promoting.
  7. Keep your Twitter handle short. If your handle is long, you will limit your room to actually write something.
  8. Don’t over-abbreviate! Sometimes abbreviations are necessary but do not use them in excess as they can make reading posts difficult.
  9. Do connect your business website to your Twitter account. Statistics show that 80.5% of small businesses do not link their social media accounts to their website. Don’t be a part of this group!
  10. Do Share the love. If someone promotes you on Twitter, then return the favor.

LinkedIn: DO NOT Do These Things!

  1. Have a profile without recommendations. If someone is checking you out with an interest in hiring you, then learning what others have said about you will go a long way in their decision making process. However, don’t have an over-abundance of recommendations, as this is a red flag as well.
  2. Use the words ”visionary” or “innovative” as part of your personal description. If you have to describe yourself this way, you probably aren’t. Let someone else describe you in this manner.
  3. Lie. Tell the truth about who you are and what you can do.
  4. Collect connections merely for the sake of having a big number. Be sure your connections are people you know or have something in common with. Also, interact with your connections whenever possible.
  5. Leave out your job description. Whether it is just listing your job title or writing a brief paragraph about what you do, this is an important element in your LinkedIn profile.
  6. Leave out your picture! Potential employers and friends like to have an idea of what you look like. Be sure the picture is a professional one that, if possible, reflects they type of work you are in. People want to see whom they are working with, networking with and introducing themselves to.
  7. Appear too un-marketable. Be sure to list groups, affiliations, hobbies, awards, etc. that give others an insight into your accomplishments and potential.
  8. Endorse people you don’t know. Recommendations are great, but be sure you know the person well enough to write a real recommendation.
  9. Buy or sell your contacts.
  10. Ask a connection to set up an interview for you. This implies that you don’t care enough to make the connection with the company on your own.
  11. Forget to set up a LinkedIn Company page. This is one of the more recent LI features and is a great way to promote your company.
  12. Overlook the value of making frequent updates to your LI profile. Consider setting aside a day a month to make any changes.
  13. Make all LI changes at once-especially if it is in an attempt to find a new job and your current employer/co-workers are connected to you, as this can send out warnings to everyone that you are considering leaving.
  14. Put anything in the name field other than your name. Save e-mail, phone numbers, etc. for the fields set aside for them.
  15. Create your LI profile on LinkedIn. Write everything in a Word program where you can make edits and see any spelling or grammatical errors easily. Then just cut and paste the info into your LinkedIn profile. In addition, if you catch a mistake later on, correct it immediately.
  16. Mention only traditional education. Yes, list the degrees you have, but also list any training, certificates, etc. that you have earned as well.
  17. Forget to include the URL for your business, blog or other social media pages. You should also be sure to customize your web link(s).
  18. Forget to use applications like Events, WordPress, Slideshare, Box or Tripit as this adds content and interest to your page.

Social networks are an integral part of business today. Use the tips here to make the most of your various social media accounts. After all, there is much more to social networking than merely reading someone’s T-shirt 🙂 If you’d like to learn more about how to effectively use social media, give us a call at 919-374-3014!

Molly Cain of
Tom Matte of  MAX