It seems like everyone has something to say about social media.
Whether it's Facebook posts whining about the overuse of smart phones (pot, meet kettle) or a major magazine proclaiming millennials the "Me Generation" because of our love of selfies, social media is a hot topic. The effects of social media aren't just cultural. Social media has changed the way we do business, the way we buy products, and the way we talk about businesses and products.
I've been playing around on social media since I was about 15 years old. I joined Myspace in 2005 when I was 16 and YouTube was just barely started. I've made a lot of mistakes on social media, but I've also learned a lot. At this point, social media--that is, sharing my life on a public platform and using it to grow a business, promote a blog, or share about a favorite product, is just another thing I do--is engrained in my day-to-day life. I can't imagine my world without it (and I would argue that it's not a crutch for anyone).
When it comes to mistakes, we all make them. Here are three big ones.
1. Engaging in petty drama.
A week ago, I decided to search the #35weeks hashtag on Instagram. (What can I say? I love comparing my pregnancy with others!) I came across a 17-year-old girl who is also 35 weeks pregnant--and had gotten into a spat on her most recently (hashtagged) picture. Instead of deleting a negative comment, she engaged--leading to a 20+ comment exchange with a complete stranger. While a 17-year-old on social media isn't someone to take our p's and q's from, I see this happening with big bloggers, and brands, too. It's easy to respond to a negative comment (that is written purely to be negative) with a snarky comment, but I promise, it won't help matters. If someone has a legitimate question, respond. But if they're just trying to get a rise out of you... trust me, don't do it.
2. Not using hashtags or emojis... or overusing them.
Especially on platforms like Instagram and Twitter, hashtags and emojis can make or break a tweet. A picture's worth a thousand words, which means that emojis can massively up your character count!
But that doesn't mean to load your captions or Tweets with as many hashtags and emojis as you can! This isn't about clickbait: keep your hashtags and emojis relevant and clever. Don't tack on popular hashtags just for the sake of it! We've all seen those pictures with a million hashtags underneath them... and you know we all think the same thing: lame.
3. Not creating unique content.
It can be easy, especially as a business, to get bogged down by social media. You might find yourself to simply curating content. That is, all you do is post links to other people's content on your Twitter or Facebook. While this is inherently valuable (and a nice thing to do), if you don't add your own content, you are dooming yourself to only act as a vehicle for other people. Take a few minutes each day to write a few Tweets or Facebook posts dedicated to your own topic or area of expertise. Ask questions and engage!
On Instagram, make sure your captions also provide great content. A picture without an explanation might be pretty, but what does it matter to your followers? By providing great content, you can be more successful on a primarily visual platform.