It changes the rules of the game for social media marketers each time a major change comes to the social networking industry. Marketers need to work quickly to find out where the chips have fallen. The year 2013 was an especially challenging one for social marketers. Major changes in social media gave marketers a lot to work on. If you're new to social media marketing and find these changes a struggle to keep up with, here's your first step - learn to stay clear of these basic mistakes.
Not sharing a story with your followers because you think they've probably read it already
When the owner of a business dealing in online retail book sales gets his store on Facebook, should it share a great New York Times story about a novel that's won the Nobel Prize? Since the NYT is widely read, he might fear that it could look lame sharing a story that the world already knew about. This would be the wrong way to think, though. What you decide to share or let go should depend on how compelling the story is and not on how many people you believe know about it already. If the story you're sharing is important, it makes for a compelling read, and it should be on your Facebook page. Not everyone reads every major newspaper or magazine. Often, they depend on having their social media contacts clue them in on where the best stories are. You can't let them down.
Not getting on social media for fear of making mistakes and getting crucified
Many business owners hang back from joining the social media party when they see their competitors damage their reputations with the mistakes they make. They fear that their inexperience in social media could sink their business in no time. It isn't really inexperience on social media that gets them into trouble though. Usually, it's an issue of insensitivity or arrogance. These qualities will get a business into trouble anywhere. You simply need to go about your social media sharing and commenting with sensitivity. If you make a mistake that offends your followers, you simply need to make amends right away, rather than responding in a way that antagonizes your audience.
Ignoring Google+ because it isn't as well-known as Twitter and Facebook
Google+ is new and is certainly not as popular as the major names in social networking. It's important to understand though, that the newness of Google+ is no reason to ignore it.
Today, Google+ is a network that is still undiscovered by the vast majority of businesses. Yet, since Google has millions of users on other services, it does have a dedicated user base. If you get your business on Google+ today, you have this dedicated audience practically to yourself. There's little competition from other businesses.
Not being on your social networks at peak usage hours in every time zone that your customers are in
Business owners on social media often look down upon the practice of repeating tweets. They feel that it's lame when a business shares the same thing over and over again. Once should be enough, they think.
Businesses tweeting repeating stories and messages aren't like one of those elderly relatives at family gatherings who find it hard to remember that they've told everyone their stories many times already. Businesses have a good reason to repeat tweets: they need to catch followers in different time zones when they are most receptive to them. People usually only pay attention to tweets if they arrive when they are free and open to reading them. They don't care as much about old tweets from when they are asleep or at work. Businesses need to be available to every consumer when they are most likely to look at their tweets.
Not understanding that the same person can behave differently on different social networks
Many businesses use one kind of approach, no matter what social network they are on. This isn't the best way, though. Even when you try reach the exact same people with the exact same story, you need to repackage it, depending on what social network you're on. When a person is on Facebook, he tends to use a relaxed attitude - he tends to be open to casual stories or conversations. The same person can be considerably more serious on LinkedIn. Sharing an employer-bashing story on Facebook may go over well. The same story may fall flat on LinkedIn though, because it's a place where people tend to think about keeping their jobs, not looking rebellious.
Doing sure-bets stuff
Simply doing what seems to work for everyone else rarely works. When you try to copy other people, you often miss the essence of what it is that makes them win. If you see plenty of posts get popular because they are about Top 10 lists, putting out a few Top 10 lists yourself may get you no attention from your followers. Even when you put out something as well-worn as a Top 10 list, you need to be creative about it. You could think up original jokes to put in the headlines, get original illustrations and so on. You might even need to think up a Top 50 list or a Top 100 list to get some attention. Few other businesses are likely to have the patience to put a Top 100 list together. Those tend to stand out.
Finally, you need to admit it if you're faking it
Many social media marketers merely fake it on social media. While they go out on Facebook pretending to be friendly, what they really want is to get back to their computers and run their social monitoring software to evaluate how well they're doing. A real social media marketer would simply be social instead - he would come out and ask his followers how he is doing and ask for tips. Many successful marketers get valuable suggestions from their followers simply by stepping up and admitting that they don't know everything.