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It’s no secret that Social Media is an important tool for any business.  It has the power to instantly put a business on the map in a way never before possible in the most grizzled Madison Avenue exec’s wildest dreams.

But while it has amazing power to grow your business, there is also the ability to do harm.  Just look how well social media worked out for Anthony Weiner.  If you’re one of the three people on Earth who doesn’t know about that, just Google “Anthony Weiner underpants”.

Here are the common things that I see businesses do that can hurt them.  Avoid these at all costs and you will be successful.


1:  Over posting.  You’ve probably seen this.  You open Facebook and get five posts over the course of ten minutes from the same person.  It fills up your news feed so you can’t see any of the stuff you want to see.  You’re more likely to tune that person out or even unfollow them.

Posting too much will annoy your fan base.  They might even block you as a spammer.

A great rule of thumb is to post when you have something to say but not more than every few hours so no messages bombard their newsfeeds.

Each social platform’s users will have different breaking points.  You can post more frequently on Twitter.  But post to Facebook with the same frequency and watch your fan base dwindle fast.

2: Under posting.  On the other end is not posting enough.  While you don’t want to kill people with a barage of messages, not posting frequently enough is a sure-fire way to have them forget about you.

The winners balance it out.  Like Goldielocks snuggling into Baby Bear’s bed, you have to find the frequency that’s just right.

3: Not engaging people.  Social media works best when people are doing things.  Like commenting on a photo you posted.  Or sharing a funny joke.  It’s like passing your business card around.

If you’re not actively trying to engage people, you’re just another face in the crowd.  You must stand out to be heard and seen.

The people who do the best are always asking questions, sharing content that has a viral nature to it and reaching out to get their audience to take an action.

4: In your face selling.  Every business wants to get an ROI from social media.  But a fast way to turn people off is to sell hard to them.  Offering promo after promo will turn you into nithing more than a telemarketer.

Yes, you should sell.  But remember, people like to buy, they do not like to be sold.  The best way to sell is to build a relationship or trust.  It’s ok to mention a sale or promotion occassionally, But remember, the main reason people are on social media is to socialize, not to see what you’ve got for sale today.

5: Boring them.  Most businesses want to talk about one thing and one thing only.  Their own business.  But while your customers and prospects may be interested in what you do, they are not as passionate as you are.

Successful players have a personality.  They don’t cross the line, (see next point), but they step out of their comfort zone and talk about things that are fun and exciting.

6: Crossing the line.  It always amazes me to see some people not use common sense.  They will say things in social media they would never say.  If you wouldn’t talk politics to a customer standing right in front of you, why would you do it on Facebook?

The best rule of thumb is to never say anything you wouldn’t say to all of your customers.  Stay congruent with how you are in the flesh.

No pictures of the staff drunk at the holiday party.  No pictures of body parts.  You get the idea.

7: Not sticking to it.  Getting started can be hard enough.  Sticking to it over the long haul is even harder.

You can’t just put one ad on the radio, or one coupon in the mail and expect to have customers continue to buy from you.  One radio ad may actually get you nothing.  It’s those who invest in it and stick to it over a long period who see results. Same with social media.

8: Not having a plan.  Those who don’t spend a little time trying to flesh out what it is they want to accomplish, how they will speak to their audience, what social platforms are best, who in the company will participate and other logistical questions like that, are doomed to fail.

If you do any of the above, you guarantee yourself to stumble and fall in the world of social media.  But if you do the opposite of each, you can be certain of success on some level.  How high you go is only limited to the effort you make.