Welcome to Blogtoberfest! This month’s series is designed to kick your butt. Seriously.
Each week, we’ll be publishing juicy posts that dive deep into the strategy of our 4 favorite social media channels: Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. And we’ll be diving in right alongside you, with our very own brand new Slaying Social media accounts! (Psst: Follow our brand new baby accounts on Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook!)
Today we’re kick starting the series with a list of Don’ts. These are classic Social Media mistakes that we’ve all made at one point or another. They’re time wasting, soul-sucking, heart-crushing social strategy fails that will result in you spinning your wheels and going absolutely nowhere. Save yourself a lot of time and suffering and stop doing these bad social media habits immediately!
Here's what we're talking about today...
- Mistake: Using Social Media Without Strategy or Goals
- Mistake: Signing Up for Every Social Media Platform aka “Shiny Object Syndrome”
- Mistake: Offering No Unique Value
- Mistake: Being Boring & Not Having a “Voice”
- Mistake: Not Harnessing the Potential of Automation and Scheduling
- Mistake: Chasing Vanity Metrics
- Mistake: Inconsistency
Mistake: Using Social Media Without Strategy or Goals
Every morning, I hop onto my social media bright eyed and bushy tailed with a cup of steaming hot coffee thinking, “Yea! Let’s DO THIS! I’m gonna #slaysocial so hard today.”
…. And then I spend the next hour randomly clicking on things that are pretty.
If that sounds like you, don’t feel bad. Social media is designed to suck you in and make you forget why you even pulled up the Facebook app to begin with when all you actually wanted to do was check the time on your phone.
If you’ve never spent several hours descending into the black hole of “oooh! pretty!” on Instagram or Pinterest, you’re some kind of super-human that’s immune to the call of social media and I admire you.
How Not to Social Media 101. But tbh, we’ve all been here.
For the rest of us, we need to make a strategy BEFORE we log in, so that when we hop onto our accounts, we have Goals and Plans and To Do Lists and do not spent hours clicking randomly on anything that appeals to us.
HOW TO FIX IT
Create a social media strategy for each individual platform so that the time you spend browsing your accounts is targeted and specific, saving you precious time AND advancing your goals!
Mistake: Signing Up for Every Social Media Platform aka “Shiny Object Syndrome”
Do y’all remember when G+ came out?
Where Lia lives in San Francisco, everyone was like “this will RUIN Facebook once and for all! RIP, Facebook, so long!” Everyone thought Facebook was OVER. Facebook was about to become the new Myspace.
And yet here we are, years later, still wasting hours of our life on Facebook every single day.
The same thing happened with Snapchat. Everyone was like “This will be the final nail in the coffin for Twitter/Instagram/Facebook!”
And then it … wasn’t.
Well, for some, it was. Lia’s husband’s high schools students wouldn’t be caught dead on Facebook, and yet when he asked them to use their phones to take a picture on class the other day, 99% of them opened up Snapchat and pretended they didn’t know they could take a picture with a “regular camera” on their phone. Uh huh.
Here’s the thing about social media: it’s changing all the time, but that doesn’t mean you have to, too. The only social media platforms you need to be active on are the one your audience is using.
You only need to be wherever your audience is. And you need to dress like them to blend in, too. Wait, no, that’s not right…
So if your audience is Lia’s husband’s 12th graders, you better be on Snapchat. But if your audience is Lia’s parent’s age, chances are they’re just figuring out all the cool, exciting things you can do with Facebook and aren’t going to pick up Snapchat anytime soon (Lia’s dad created an Instagram account for the sole purpose of following her, you guys. Awww.)
Understanding where your audience is spending their time will tell you where you need to spend your time when it comes to social media. So unless your audience is early adopter techies who LOVE the shiniest, most exciting new thing, your safest bet is to do as your audience does, and ignore all of the new, shiny social media platforms.
HOW TO FIX IT
Instead of signing up for every social media platform, focus on cultivating and growing an engaged audience of your core niche target market on the social media platforms that they’re actually using.
Mistake: Offering No Unique Value
Once upon a time, posting a gif of a cat playing piano was revolutionary.
Today, that cat could be launching musical lasers out its eyes and still get a “meh” reaction from everyone scrolling right on by.
The point is, it’s really hard to stand out on social media. Think about how many social media platforms are out there and how many profiles there are on each one. That’s like … a lot.
The truth is, the Internet these days is a crowded place, FILLED with white noise. For every travel blogger posting beautiful photos, there’s ten more who have just quit their jobs to ‘gram acai bowls in Bali.
For every marketing coach already online, there’s probably 1000 more “gurus” waiting in the bushes to funnel you into their next get rich quick scheme, which usually involves spending doing nothing but hawking their course’s affiliate program while they rake in the moolah. (Psst: not us. We promise!)
99% of the social media marketing advice on the internet be like…
The sad truth is, the social media world is turning into a content Hunger Games, and now more than ever, being unique is required to help you stand out.
So, if you are robotically churning out the same information that everyone else is, something needs to change. Replicating others’ success can only get you so far. Rather, what you need to work on is satisfying a need that is underserved, and providing unique value for your community.
Unique value can come in many forms, whether that’s brand new information, information presented in novel, new ways or most effectively, information that is unique and special because of YOU and your voice.
HOW TO FIX IT
Identify a need that is not being met for your audience and address it in a way that is legitimately unique.
Mistake: Being Boring & Not Having a “Voice”
Can we get meta for a second?
There are like a zillion and half blogs that are giving social media advice out there on the internet. You could go to ANY of them for advice on social media, and yet … you came to us…
…2 travel bloggers whose success pretty much entirely revolves around one core talent: being kinda funny.
I’m sorta joking, but I’m also dead serious.
Christina and I both have a strong VOICE in our writing. That voice shines through on all of our social media platforms, whether it’s Christina’s terrible egg puns on Facebook or pretzel vs. beer GIFs, or or that time I spent 2 weeks obsessively posting things about sloths on Twitter or used creepy clowns in my pins. FYI: #slothweek2017 sadly did not catch on. File that one away in “Twitter strategies that do not work.”
— Merriam-Webster (@MerriamWebster) January 17, 2017
Merriam-Webster runs one of my all time favorite Twitter accounts. Yes, like, the dictionary. They’re an excellent example of having a voice, not boring boring, & zingy one-liners!
Our respective voices are what make us stand out from the zillions of other travel bloggers who are ALSO dishing out awesome travel advice and taking baller Instagram photos. We were each able to grow our blogs into our full time jobs in a relatively short period of time because we let our voice shine though.
And now, we’re using that voice to tell you to use YOUR voice. Omg, this is so meta. Are we in Inception right now?
You don’t need to worry about conforming to a “professional” voice on social media or trying to sound a certain way. That’s boring. Let everyone else do that instead.
Inside of you is this totally cool, kinda quirky, completely unique voice that your friends and family already know and love. And your followers are going to love it to!
Be you. Loudly, and possibly with lots of GIFs.
HOW TO FIX IT
Your own inner, unique voice is already inside of you! You just need to channel it on social media. Embrace it, magnify it, and let your true, authentic self shine through on your social media platforms.
Mistake: Not Harnessing the Potential of Automation and Scheduling
One of the craziest things about social media is just how much time it takes.
The amount of effort I’ve put into creating a 140 character zinger is honestly, very very sad. That, and searching for the exact right emoji.
Here’s a great example of excellent Social Media strategy. Look through the whole series. See how they were able to leverage their audience? Brilliant. Take notes.
But here’s the thing: when it comes to social media, there’s a distinct difference between working hard and working smart.
Many bloggers and business owners are working ridiculously hard on their social media channels – sobbing while writing Tweets, having low-key breakdowns trying to pick the right filter… The struggle is real-er than Christina’s donut addiction, folks.
But sadly, there’s no direct correlation between tears shed and results. The smarter approach is of course to make use of as much scheduling and automation as you can, so that you’re able to get these low-level tasks out of the way. Here are some examples of services you can take advantage of:
- Buffer: Best for scheduling Tweets and Facebook posts. Their free trial is great, but you can also pay for more features and less limits.
- Facebook Page Native Scheduler: Facebook allows you to set the publishing date for your posts. Some speculate that this gives you a higher reach than 3rd party tools.
- Tailwind and Boardbooster: The best 2 programs for scheduling and automating pins. Try the free trial out before you buy.
- Later: Allows you to schedule posts for Instagram. Their free program is incredibly generous.
By batching tasks, scheduling content and automating your workload, you free yourself time for the really important stuff: creating unique and engaging content that will make your followers pass out like fangirls.
… and some extra time of course to stuff your face with guacamole. Ooh, or donuts!
HOW TO FIX IT
Save yourself time by signing up for a scheduling tool for each of your primary social media platforms. Spend a few hours per week or month batch scheduling your content in advance. Then, kick back and eat donuts with all that free time you have now!
Mistake: Chasing Vanity Metrics
We know how good it feels to say “I have a MILLION viewers each month on Pinterest!” (Lia) or “I have 35,000 followers on Instagram!” (Christina). It makes us feel like social media badasses and it’s super tempting to flaunt those numbers as if they alone tell the whole story about how successful our social media strategy is.
And to anyone who doesn’t have those numbers, it DOES sound really impressive.
But don’t be fooled: those numbers aren’t necessarily indicative of how many people are actually seeing our content, or actually engaging with it.
Followers and reach don’t necessarily directly correlate. And followers, reach, and traffic? That’s not as neat and tidy of a relationship as you’d think, either.
Throw in engagement and you’ve pretty much got a random pile of numbers that all somewhat relate to one another but are also a pile of fancy sounding numbers.
It’s like the time Lia took a “Business Math” class in college and they spent an entire semester on whatever the heck these are. Like, literally just number jumbles. You guys, Lia spent 5 years working in the corporate business world and nobody ever handed her a giant square of numbers and told her to do math on them. Ever. But we digress.
If you’ve got 100k Instagram followers, but when you post a photo it only reaches 1k people and gets a whopping 100 likes, are those followers actually helping you? Reach and engagement tell just as much of a story as followers, and none of them exist in a vacuum.
Even celebrities make social media mistakes sometimes! No, that’s not your phone….
The most important thing you can do is to define your own goals. Is growing your followers your goal? Then focus on that. Is traffic or sales your ultimate goal? Then the numbers you seek are found in your analytics, not your social media platforms.
When it comes to marketing yourself and your social platforms, feel free to cherry pick whatever numbers sound fanciest (like how Lia grew her Pinterest followers by 5,000 in 6 months!)
But be wary: those numbers only tell part of the whole story, and they can easily be manipulated.
Also, side-eye anyone who uses percentages instead of numbers – and the bigger the %, the more skeptical you should be. Anyone claiming to have grown their followers by 700% probably started with 3 followers.
Understanding what the numbers ACTUALLY tell you, and how they work together to tell a full story, is crucial to evaluating your success on social media.
HOW TO FIX IT
Set your own goals for your analytics. Choose whether you want to improve followers, reach, engagement, or traffic to your site. Then, evaluate your success based off of those specific analytics. You’ll have a more clear understanding of where you’re the most effective on social media, and you’ll be able to sell that success better to potential sponsors and clients, too.
This is the #1 problem we’re all guilty of.
As in, Christina hasn’t posted on her Instagram in over a week. And Lia barely posts on her Instagram 5x per month. Yikes.
Consistency is so important in growing your social media accounts. And while we’re been distracted by our shiny new social media accounts for Slaying Social, our full time travel blogger social media accounts have been hurting. (Psst: Follow our brand new baby accounts on Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook!)
Don’t be us! Stay on the ball and don’t stretch yourself too thin unless you’re confident that you can handle it with your amazing time-management skills or social media account juggling act.
That time TIME tried to be super hip and relevant. TIME, stop it. Stick to actual news.
Consistency in social media falls under two main umbrellas: consistency in content and consistency in timing.
- Content consistency: you need to KNOW your target audience well enough that you know what they crave and like. If you’re a puppy fan page that suddenly starts advertising Tupperware (true story of an Instagram I followed once), then people are going to unfollow you faster than Christina chugging her 5th beer at Oktoberfest.
- Timing consistency: There are a lot of factors that contribute to the importance of consistent posting. First of all, most platforms reward users for frequent activity(like Instagram, our favorite social media platform to throw shade at, or Pinterest, our favorite social media platform to spend hours of our time browsing). That’s one part of the jigsaw. The OTHER part is that by having a consistent posting schedule, you build up an audience that begins to anticipate your content, whether consciously or not. This is like golden dynamite for your business, because it builds solid loyalty over time.
For instance, look at the meteoric rise of Nas Daily, who now has over 2 million fans on Facebook. He posts a video every day, regardless of where he is or what he needs to do to get it done. Skimming through his comments quickly reveals fans that say they look forward to his videos everyday, and some superf-ans that even say his video is the best part of their day.
We’ve adopted a similar concept with Slaying Social, publishing a helpful guide every single Saturday, which we call Slayturday (Yep. that’s right. The bad puns never end with us, folks). We hope that by doing this, we’re giving our readers something to look forward to, which in turn builds the loyalty we need to make this business thrive.
HOW TO FIX IT
Set yourself a regular schedule for new content and new posts. Your posting schedule should match up with when your audience is online and browsing social media, such as during their lunch breaks or commutes to work. PS: Automation makes it super easy to pre-create and stick to a social media schedule, even while you’re sleeping!
Here’s a bonus mistake! IRL social media. You guys, this is not an effective strategy.
So, which of these cardinal sins of Social Media are you guilty of comitting? Leave us a comment below!
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