Guest Post: 3 Beginner Mistakes Using Social Media

Administration | Web
June 1, 2011

For many companies, freelancers, pastors, and non-profit organizations,Twitter and Facebook might be one of only a few marketing tools at your disposal because of the fact that it is a free resource and your audience might already be participating in these social networks. It is important for companies to come across as professional, but there is conflicting advice out there on how to create a social media personality that will get your company the kind of professional attention you want.

So the question is, are you using these tools effectively or are you making a few beginner mistakes? Here are our top three mistakes made by people when they are trying to interact with customers, clients, and others interested in your company:

Not Engaging Your Followers
Do you read what people are saying about you or your products? Have you responded to comments they leave you? Do you even care about their thoughts? You should and if you are not, you are missing out on a golden opportunity to build relationships.

How should you be engaging your followers? Comment on photos they post on your Facebook page, thank them for comments they leave, respond to their @replies. Use Facebook’s Question app, poll followers on Twitter, and create a community built your account.

The lines of communication with those that follow you and you follow should be two-ways and it should start with you. Take the time to reply to your followers and let them know you’re listening to what they have to say. Engaging with this community can have long-term and lasting benefits.

Ignoring Negative Comments
One specific way of not engaging that gets its own point is that you don’t ignore negative comments directed at you or your company on social media sites. Treat every comment, positive or negative with your full attention, but in negative comments even more so should you engage the customer. One negative comment that is handled quickly and poorly could exacerbates the problem and make a fed up customer into someone who will publicly renounce you or your product. And ignoring them simply validates what they’re already feeling: that your company doesn’t care about their business.

Realize that if handled correctly, you could still come out with a new customer and even show others that you really care about their wants and needs. In some situations, a public comment followed up by a private message may be necessary, but inaction is the worst thing you could do. Sometimes just reaching out can be enough to turn a negative experience into a positive one.

Not Having a Plan
A few weeks ago I talked about the idea of having a Twitter strategy, but this can easily be applied to other social media tools with a little tweaking. Rushing into marketing with social media without a plan can cause confusion, frustration, and possibly lose customers and bad reputation.

Remember, what is posted on the Internet is there permanently. If you make mistakes in your social media marketing, they can come back to haunt you. This does not mean a strategy will make you flawless, but it will be the guidelines for how you proceed with social media. A few hours of time spent now on revising your strategy to be the best it can be can prevent many more hours or days of frustration and struggling to correct mistakes in the future.

About Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith is a 26 year old youth worker at the Air Force Academy chapel, working for Club Beyond, and attending Denver Seminary for his Master”s of Arts in Counseling Ministries. He has been involved in Youth for Christ for eight years and absolutely loves sharing the life of Jesus with teens.  You can read more from Jeremy at



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