As an online business owner (yes, your blog is your business if you want to monetize it in any way), you need to make sure that you are reaching out to your audience through whichever social-media platforms your audience favors. Keeping up with social media can be very time-consuming and you might be tempted to “cheat” the system or spread yourself too thin by posting information that is not helpful to your audience.
Whether or not you use it, and how you use it, should depend on how you best communicate with your readers and how they like to communicate with you. If you do decide that social media can benefit your online business (which is the case for most bloggers), please keep in mind that your well-earned blogging reputation can quickly evaporate if you commit the following social-media mistakes:
- Buying fans or followers. It is possible (and might be tempting) to purchase a following on the major social-media sites like Twitter or Facebook. What you will end up with is a bunch of fake profiles (created by the people that sold you the following) or a pile of people that have no interest in your business and will not stick around. The point of social media is to have interaction with YOUR audience; if you have a quality blog with relevant, helpful information, you will earn a real following.
- Over-posting. If you run around online and put your link all over the place without making any meaningful comments or connections, it will be very clear that you are a “spammer” and that reputation will follow you back to your blog. You can and should use social networks to interact and build relationships by posting thoughtful and helpful comments. If you think you can truly benefit the conversation of another blogger on a social-media site, consider contacting them directly to build that relationship and ask if you can exchange guest posts.
- Over-scheduling. Most of your posts, tweets, etc., can be scheduled. When you are setting up your scheduled content, make sure you don’t send out too many in a row; people will delete you and hit unsubscribe faster that you can schedule your next Tweet. Think about your own experience with social media… how many tweets or Facebook updates do you read from the same people every day, or multiple times a day? Don’t you end up ignoring most of them? Now think of that person who you have great expectation of reading, who posts or updates once a week or less and you are eager to read their stuff.
- Stealing content. It is really easy to repost something or re-tweet something without giving proper credit to the original source. Don’t do it. You can certainly share content you think will be valuable to your readers – just make sure to property cite the original author.
- Writing fake reviews or comments. Yes, we all want to have glowing reviews of our online business on every social-media site. We all want to have favorable interaction in the comment sections of our blog posts. It might seem easy to cheat the system and write your own reviews and comments. Don’t be tempted to cheat! Honesty really is the best policy! If you want reviews, ask your audience to write them. If you share valuable content, then your reviews will be good.
- Picking a fight. With the ease of interaction in social media, people are prone to criticize and condemn at the drop of a hat (usually hiding behind a fake name). You may be tempted to lash back and write something that could forever tarnish your business. If the comment is particularly nasty and unhelpful, just remove it (if possible) and move on. If there is some constructive criticism in the comment (even phrased poorly), thank the person for taking the time to reach out to you and then calmly and kindly try to engage them in a dialogue to remedy the situation.
If you use social media wisely, it will be an excellent way to interact with your audience and introduce yourself to the world. If you commit any of the above mistakes, you could quickly lose your good reputation and your online business.
One final note… while social media can most certainly be beneficial, don’t let social media become a detriment to your three most important blogging goals: 1) building your email list, 2) creating great and consistent content, 3) offering income-producing products and services (#3 is optional if you are trying to monetize your blog).
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