Monday, September 23, 2013

Avoid These 20 Social Media Screw-Ups

Social media is bound to lead users in one of two directions -- winners or losers. Either you strategically use social media to push your agenda, meet your needs and reach your goals -- or you don’t. Sounds simple, because it is. Social media is not for everyone and yet for writers it is vital. Here are 20 mistakes or pitfalls to avoid when using social media:

1.      Don’t avoid social media, embrace it.

2.      But be selective in which social media outlets you choose to be heavily active on.

3.      Create a time budget or schedule of when and how often you’ll devote your life to all things social media.

4.      Strike a balance of how you’ll spend your time: How much for research and learning about social media sites and best practices? How much time to read blog posts and Web sites? How much time to network and build connections? How much time for  blogging, guest-blogging or placing comments on the sites of others? How much time is for creating content? Distributing it?

5.      Make sure your profile on any membership site is complete, updated often, and includes accurate contact information and a current photo.

6.      Mentally commit to your social media experience and see it as a piece of your strategy.

7.      Avoid trying to be overly funny, witty, or clever --  it can be misinterpreted and backfire on you.

8.      Develop a consistent online persona, brand and image.

9.      Don’t forget to include links and tags at every opportunity.

10.  Do not spam people.

11.  Learn who you are communicating with, especially with  groups or the media  -- otherwise you’ll offend them.

12.  Don’t make every communication overly commercial or self-serving.  Be humble, you egomaniacal nut!

13.  Remember that everything is public with social media and can circulate to bosses, family, competitors, clients, neighbors and really, anyone. Be cautious -- what you say will live on and could become an issue down the road.

14.  Don’t post when angry -- hold back.

15.  Proofread prior to sending anything.

16.  Focus on what’s important-good content.

17.  Don’t outsource your social media to a surrogate. You’ll lose control of your identity and open yourself up to many problems.

18.  Don’t just build up big follower totals if the types of followers are useless to you.

19.  Use social media to lead to face-to-face connections and not to replace them.

20.  Don’t think social media can substitute for other marketing and PR efforts.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2013

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