I’ve Been Using Social Media Wrong. Have you?

I don’t know about you but I don’t claim to be a social media expert. Far from it.

There’s plenty of things I’ve done wrong with social media. You may be doing them too.

I want to be honest today. I’ve been using social media wrong. I’m sorry. I want to change and I want to help you avoid the social media mistakes I’ve made.

Even Twitter fails at social media

Image via Manoel Lemos

Social media is a new beast in the internet world. Sure, it’s a couple of years old but it’s still finding it’s foothold and it’s purpose.

Sites like Xanga and MySpace have come and gone and evolved.

So has Facebook, Twitter, and (the new kid) Google+.

And everyone is trying to figure out how to use social media to the best of their ability.

Like I said, I’ve done this wrong. I haven’t been a good steward of social media. I’ve made stupid social media mistakes.

Let’s take a look at the mistakes I’ve made in social media. You might be surprised. And I hope you’ll take note and avoid these mistakes.

I failed to share myself: Sure, I shared my content (That’s a mistake I’ll get to later) but I didn’t share myself. I only shared content.

Rarely would I enter into the social media world and post something that related to my life. You wouldn’t see me posting a picture of an exciting outdoor adventure I’d participated in. Or you wouldn’t see my excitement over the latest Five Iron Frenzy CD release (By the way, this is the band that helped me meet my beautiful wife).

Don’t make this social media mistake. Be willing to expose your life to the world. Share moments of life that bring you joy and pleasure. Don’t make your Twitter or Facebook page all about business. Bring something personal to the table.

I constantly retweeted my blog mentions: Whenever someone would mention my blog or something awesome about myself, I went into what I call whore-mode. What’s this mean?

I’d retweet whatever they’d written about me so everyone could see how great I was. I wanted people to know others were talking about myself. I become a social media whore.

Sure, I’d done it under the pretense of thanking the person who shared my content (don’t get me wrong, I’m very grateful when someone shares what I’ve done) but I began using it as another way of promoting myself over and over.

A better way to thank those who are sharing what you’re doing is to do a reply thank you or to mention them in a comment that has no mention of your website.

Let your fans know you appreciate them. Just don’t let it be another promotion tool for your content.

I neglected posts and tweets from other users: My thought has been that I’m too busy to engage too much on social media. I can’t respond to every tweet or Facebook post so I struggled with responding to one or two. It wasn’t fair.

But life’s not fair. We’re not all going to get the same amount of attention from each person. Yet we can do for one or two what we wish we could do for all.

Don’t let the fact you can’t engage with every fan hold you back from engaging with one, two, or three fans who are following you.

Build relationships.

Be engaging. Be conversational. Be real.

There, I’ve laid it bare. You’ve seen my social media mistakes and what I’ve done.

Don’t make the same mistakes as I have.

Avoid being impersonal. Avoid being a social media whore. Avoid neglecting your social media fans.

Question; What mistakes have you made with social media? What did you do to change it? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • “Avoid being a social media whore”

    That phrase alone makes it worthwhile for me reading this post.

    Nice post, Joe.

  • Your last point reminded me of Andy Stanley’s view of leadership. Do for one what you can’t do for all.

    It makes no sense to make your social media streams nothing but “thanks for tweeting that.” But one or two a day, selectively picked, is always a good strategy.

    And don’t be a “birdiebragger” (Gary Vee term). That’s what you mentioned about RT’ing mentions of you. Do it three times a week at most and only when it’s powerful.

    In other words:

    Don’t RT these:

    Great post from @MattMcWilliams2. [link]

    Great to meet @MattMcWilliams2 today.

    Do RT these sometimes:

    I just read @MattMcWilliams2’s book and it saved my marriage.

    Loving the conversation on @MattMcWilliams2’s blog today. Some powerful comments and stories. [link]

    Those are not *as* much of a brag and I wouldn’t mind seeing them on your stream. They add value. That’s what it comes down to.

    • Good point Matt. We can share some of the killer retweets without being a social media whore (-; If we pick and choose the best of the best for retweets it can be really effective.

  • Not certain I want to associate with this crowd of social media whores – LOL.

    My advice to anyone starting out is to truly commit to the platform of your choice. I’ve been running a FB business page for a couple of years, but just started in with Twitter a few months back. I watched what others were doing, the tools they were using, and the relationships they were building and I modeled myself after them. I then totally absorbed myself into what I was doing. It’s been a growing success and lots of fun!

    • Great advice Bill. While being everywhere is great (a fantastic strategy by Pat Flynn), we can’t be truly effective if we’re not focusing on one or two places that we can shine.

  • Excellent post Joe! Learned quite a bit. I need to improve in the area of sharing about me- I’ve always kept business as business and personal as personal. Will work on that-

    • Give it a shot Allen. I think you’ll find it brings more engagement and helps build a more committed audience.

      • Alright- I started sharing this week on my Facebook page. Have had more engagement- the difficult part is what to share and how to share it. I’ve used some photographs of Noah and I in the snowstorm this week to kick off this idea.

        • Fantastic Allen! We’ve all got to start someplace.

  • Enjoyed the post. I’ve failed to share myself consistently.

    • We all fail at times Bernard. What are you going to do to change that?

  • Great topic Joe! I think I do one and three fairly well, but I err on number two. I probably could give a little more too! All things to consider!

    • It’s easy to err on number two. Especially when we see others doing it and think it’s an effective social media strategy. What can you do to correct the problems with retweeting so much of your mentions?

      • Joe – I usually RT shares with comments or at least favorite them. This week I’ll try just the recognition! Twitter is tough though – it feels like an uphill climb and if you’re honored enough to get a share, you feel like its lost in the shuffle. There’s folks that have to post 100 times a day and it clogs up the feed, so what does my 1 RT hurt? I’m still understanding all of this. Very tricky business!!

  • It’s good to see you grow brother. Social media to me is all about the engagement and creating the conversation. Yes, we want to promote our stuff but what people really want is to connect with us. When people can identify with us and make a real connection, they’ll naturally be interested in what we have going on.

    • Thanks man. It’s amazing as we watch how our social media strategies change and the growth it brings.

      • I really do think what you said about RT your mentions is spot on. I’m going to implement that strategy!

  • Rebecca Jo Cannon

    This is very helpful. I am in the baby steps of building a platform. I do know that sharing ourself is hard, but I have found when I put myself out there it leads to either helping someone else or they get blessed from helping me. I was lead to your sight through Michael Hyatt. I am thankful. In the scheme of things, I am nothing in all of this, being on disability unexpectedly. God has just been putting some very awesome people in my path. I am excited to see what he does and how HE wants to use me. Put yourself out there!:)

    • Rebecca, well welcome to the site and I’m glad you were able to find me through Michael Hyatt’s site. He has some amazing content!

      If there’s ever anything I can do to help you grow and push forward, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

  • I love the tools on Google+, especially hangouts. I recorded my video interviews using the On Air Hangout feature which is really cool. But I’m still confused on using it as a social gathering platform. Let me know when you figure that one out!

    One thing that completely changed my perspective on social media recently was participating in some closed groups. There are great opportunities to connect, but it’s been a long learning curve for me.

    • I’m stuck on Google+ as well. I think the killer application of Google+ is the groups function. Lots of great interactions can happen in those smaller groups.

  • Dan Forbes

    Social Media like real life rewards us best when we focus on contributing rather than taking. Good points, Joseph.

  • I think my biggest problem is that I don’t take the time to learn how to use them. I just randomly sign up and then do nothing. Although, I would have to take the time to learn how to use them, and I’m not sure I’m ready to commit to that yet. One of these days!

    • There’s that pressure Barb. We’re inundated that we should be everywhere, doing everything. We can’t and it shows, especially in social media when we’re silent. Find what social media outlets work for you and use them. Ditch, or keep your presence small at, the ones that just don’t work.