blogging basics

If you want to leverage social media to grow your business, then you need to learn the basics. Many people start using social media without a framework and they make mistakes without realizing it. If your social media presence isn’t growing as fast as you would like, check this list. Learn what not to do on social media and what you should do instead.

1. Not including social share buttons on your blog posts

In today’s fast-paced world, you need to make it easy for readers to share your content. Few people will go out of their way to share your posts. There is simply too much content that is easily shareable. If yours isn’t, the reader will likely move on.

What to do instead: Add at least one set of share buttons to your blog. There are many free plug-ins for WordPress users. If you use Jetpack, there is a sharing module included. Shareaholic and SumoMe Share are also good, free options. Social Warfare is a premium plug-in that allows you to craft the message that gets shared on each network and to include platform-specific images, such as vertical images for Pinterest or horizontal images for Facebook and Google Plus.

2. Only posting promotional content

If you are only promoting your own content, then you will come across as spammy and self-serving. People want to have a connection on social media, not simply be pitched to.

What to do instead: Share useful content from sites other than your own. Engage in conversations. Answer questions. You know, be social.

3. Posting the exact same content to every channel

Each platform has its own style (and character-count requirements). You are missing out if you don’t take advantage of each platform’s individual personality.

What to do instead: Customize your message to each platform. This doesn’t mean you have to write completely different messages. Tweak your main message. On Twitter, you only have 140 characters, so be brief and tantalizing. Instagram and Pinterest both require interesting, beautiful images. Posts on LinkedIn should have a more formal tone that Facebook posts.

4. Posting with the same frequency on every channel

This is the 2nd part of #3. Not only do different channels have different styles, they move at different paces. This impacts how often you should post. If you post with the same frequency on each channel, then your message will get lost on some channels and you will annoy your audience on others.

What to do instead:

  • Twitter and Pinterest are both fast-paced, so you can share a lot of content every day. Start with 5 posts per day and go as high as you feel comfortable.
  • Facebook and Google Plus have lower volume; you should post one to three times a day. Any more than that could annoy your audience.
  • Instagram is also lower-volume. Once or twice a day is a good number of posts.
  • LinkedIn – once a day during the workweek is the most recommended frequency.

5. Spreading yourself too thin

Are you on every social platform from Facebook to Snapchat? Ask yourself if you are being effective on each. Are you getting a return on your time investment? Do you feel burned out? Or, are you neglecting some platforms because you can’t keep up?

What to do instead: Don’t feel like you have to be everywhere. Choose two or three platforms and go all in (if you are brand-new, then start with one). By limiting your number of platforms, you will have more time to craft compelling content, engage with your audience, and keep your sanity.

6. Asking people to follow you back

Asking for follows in posts or saying “I follow back” in your bio smacks of desperation.

What to do instead: Post good content and be participatory. Be interesting, entertaining, informative. You will build your following naturally and this following will be made up of your target audience, as opposed to random people who aren’t engaged with you and your brand.

7. Going crazy with hashtags

You know those tweets #that #have #a #hashtag #for #every #word? Don’t do that. And just because you can use 30 hashtags on Instagram, doesn’t mean you should.

What to do instead: Limit yourself to one to three hashtags on Twitter. The sweet spot on Instagram is about 10 hashtags and many IG’ers suggest putting your hashtags in a comment, rather than the main post. Hashtags don’t work the same on Pinterest as they do on other platforms; you are better off writing a keyword-rich pin description than using hashtags.

The bottom line

Remember that there is another human being on the other side of each social media interaction. Be respectful – to yourself and others – on social media. A good rule of thumb is that if something bugs you on social media, it probably bugs others as well.

Tonia Kendrick is a reformed banker, who now spends her days writing (by the pool, when the weather cooperates). Her latest project – the Solopreneur Diaries – is for entrepreneurs, small business owners, and bloggers who want to thrive in business and in life. You’ll find tips, tutorials, and tools to help you grow your blog, build your business, and design your life.


Hi, I'm Lisa Illman.

Business Development Consulting.

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