Happy Mardi Gras!! Hope you all get some King Cake today!

Today is the official Fat Tuesday holiday. If you aren’t familiar with Fat Tuesday, it’s the last Tuesday before the Christian holiday of Lent begins. Since Lent is giving up bad social media habits for lenttraditionally a time to give up something, historically Fat Tuesday was your last day to “indulge.”  People in the church are asked to give up something that is “important” to them – food, alcohol, TV, etc. Starting this Wednesday, you’ll hear a lot of people saying they gave up “something for Lent.”

In the spirit of Mardi Gras and Lent, I’ve put together a list of things you should give up when it comes to your social media marketing efforts. If you’re doing any or all of these, this is a perfect time to stop.  Choose one, choose them all, but whatever you do, please stop doing them.

  1. Auto-DM – I honestly think this is one of the worst Twitter faux pas you can make, and many people don’t realize that it’s frowned upon. If you have an auto-dm set up on your Twitter account, go – right now – and take it off. It just screams spammy.  Also, DMs are reciprocal, so if you send out an auto-dm to someone that you’re not following back and they try to respond, they’ll get a message telling them they’re “not allowed to do that because the person isn’t following you back.” Now you look spammy, AND you have egg on your face.
  2. Infrequent posting – You should post on all of your social media sites at least once a day – some sites (such as Twitter) more frequently. If you can’t make it happen that often, establish some kind of schedule – whether it’s 2, 3 or 4 times a week. Consistency is key and frequent, relevant content is king.
  3. Poor planning – Have you ever sat at your computer, stared at your screen and wondered  “What am I going to post today??” If so, you could save yourself some pain and suffering by having a plan in place. An editorial calendar is critical in social media success. It doesn’t have to be fancy – it can be as simple as a separate Google or Outlook calendar. The important thing is to have one, with at least a monthly theme.
  4. Poor or no engagement – Have you ever followed a company or person on social media and all. they. did. was. push.? If that’s what you’re doing, stop it. I realize that there are times when you’re sending out articles that you think will interest your audience and that’s fine, but don’t make it the only thing you’re doing on social media. If it is, you’re not being very social but rather, checking the box off your list.
  5. Marsha Brady syndrome – Similar to #4 in that you only talk about you. Remember the episode from the Brady Bunch when Jan got fed up with everything being about Marsha, Marsha, Marsha? Don’t be that company on social media.
  6. Hard selling –  No one likes to be sold to. If you take the time to show people you are a real person, they’ll know what you’re about. People buy from people they like, so be likable. However, don’t go to the total opposite of this and NEVER mention what you or your company does.  If you keep the 2 in 12 rule of thumb in mind, you should be fine.
  7. Quantity -v- quality – There are a lot of people out there who will tell you that you have to have THOUSANDS of followers, and that’s simply not true. If this is the standard that you hold for yourself, you’re most likely going to be very disappointed. Granted, it’s hard not to be frustrated with the changes over the past few months in the way Facebook ranks your posts. Agreed, you want as many people to see your posts as possible, and the more you have, the more that will see it right? Not necessarily. Focus instead on producing good content that encourages people to start commenting, liking, etc.  Once that starts to happen, more and more people will begin to see your posts.
  8. Not knowing your audience – It may take a little while to figure out what resonates with your audience (especially if it’s slow to build engagement) but once you do, stick with what they like – not what you like. You may be inclined to post only pictures on Facebook, but what if your audience likes questions better? Give them what they want, and it will make your job much easier.
  9. Giving up too soon – Another thing that I see people do far too often is giving up before their efforts have a chance to pay off. It takes time to get it going, so don’t become discouraged too soon. I tell our clients who are getting started on Twitter that it can take a good 6 weeks of REALLY working it before they’ll have their “aha moment.” Which leads me to…
  10. Social media isn’t free – Sure, the majority of sites are, but not the effort. I have two very well-oiled phrases that I use. One is “social media is free, social media marketing is not,” and the other is “you pay with your time or you pay with your time.” If you do not have the time to invest in doing a good job, you need to find someone to do it for you or at least get your efforts going. You can use a full-service agency like ours or hire an internal marketing person, but you need to have someone who really understands marketing as a whole – not just someone who happened to read a  “Facebook or Twitter for Dummies” book.

So which of these habits are hardest to break? Does it help if I give you one more day to live large before you give them up?

Until tomorrow –

Laissez les bons temps rouler!!