Five unbelievable social media mistakes you may be making right now


At my heart, I am a teacher in all I do, whether it is through my classes, books, or blog posts.

And it’s my favorite part of my job too. I am at a great point in my life where I can share my experiences and help people get through a learning curve quickly.

I have this place on my site where people can sign up for an hour of my time to talk about their business. It works out really well and we can get a lot done in an hour. Usually people say “wow! this was great!” or “I have five pages of notes.”

But sometimes helping people isn’t that difficult because I find many folks keep making the same little social media mistakes. And while they may seem insignificant, they can stop a brand in its tracks. Here are five mistakes I see over and over that make me shake my head in wonder!

1. No social sharing

I cannot believe how many people have blog posts or other content on their site but have no social sharing buttons (meaning the little buttons to let you tweet or send to Facebook).

You might be thinking, “tell me it’s not so!” But it is so. I see this all the time.

Ladies and gentlemen of the blogosphere: Content does not work for you if it just sits around like a bump on a Heinz dill pickle. It would look like this:dill pickle

Your content has to MOVE. It has to IGNITE. And if you don’t allow people to act on their impulse and share you are basically wasting most of the work you have devoted to your content.

2. No shiny happy faces

silly facesOne of the themes of this blog is to emphasize the strategic importance of inserting humanity into your social media presence. At a minimum, that means showing up as a real person. Here are some “not being human fails:”

  • Failing to show your face or state somewhere on your blog who you are and why you are writing.
  • Using a corporate logo for an avatar when you could show up as a real person (how do we build a social connection with a logo?).
  • Having an “about page” that reads like a resume instead of a human story about a person who wants to help you.

3. Moderated comments

Do you really need to guard your borders?

Do you really need to guard your borders?

It drives me nuts to leave a comment on somebody’s personal blog and that have it go into comment moderation limbo. I want that immediate gratification of seeing my comment appear after I take the time to write it.

Why are you moderating comments? What are you afraid of? I have had 35,000 comments on this blog and I have deleted 10 ( that were not spam). That’s a pretty low percentage.

You are trying to build a community. Take down every barrier to people connecting with you, especially if the risk is low (or imagined!)

4. Disconnected content

Me: “Why don’t you have a blog?”

Somebody else: “I do have a blog. It’s just not on my website.”

Me: “You’re building a lot of attention and search benefits on your independent blog but you are moving people to a place that does not feature your business, products and services.”

Somebody else: “Oh.”

5. Bio fail

bio hazardThere are many ways to use Twitter but most of the people I work with want to build a brand and network with meaningful new connections. Creating an effective bio is a key to getting somebody’s attention and I can’t believe how many people ignore their bio. Here are four common bio hazards:

  • No bio. Why would you create a Twitter account with no bio? If you want people to follow you back, tell them something about yourself. Your bio is the social networking “hook.’
  • Cryptic bio. “I am an enigma in a cupcake.” When I see bios like this I want to shake somebody. WHO ARE YOU? Do I follow you back or not?
  • No location. “I am a citizen of the world.” What does that really mean? If you tell people where you actually live it might enable important local and regional business connections.
  • No link. You are networking on Twitter to make something happen. Add a link to a LinkedIn profile or website so people can learn more.

Well folks, those are the big ones I see on a daily basis. Anybody guilty?

Silly faces photo courtesy Flickr CC and Evil Erin 

This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. I’ve been compensated to contribute to this program, but the opinions expressed in this post are my own and don’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions. IBM had no editorial control of this content.
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  • Regarding your moderated comments comment. While I agree 100% in the frustration of moderation limbo. I recently started a new corporate blog and have less than 30 comments. But in that same time spam have gotten over 250 spam comments. Do you have any thoughts on why bots are finding my page so easily?

  • I made a change on my Twitter profile immediately after reading this (location, you made a good point Mark).

  • Altrincham HQ

    I have my logo on my twitter profile and under each blog I have a photo of myself so that people connect with myself

    However I don’t agree with number 2 that photos need to wacky, crazy or goofy to stand out

    Sadly a few local Social Media “gurus” in the NW of England have started this and I simply can’t take them seriously

  • Thanks to you, my Twitter bio got better. I love your funny Twitter bio posts. I’m not as funny as them, but it helped me think outside the box. I started to see an increase in Twitter followers right after. And yes, I check the boxes! I’m doing something right. LOL

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  • Patricia Haag

    Super points, Mark. The only area I can’t agree is about the moderated comments. Had to clean out 69 spam comments this morning. I’m feeling like my blog is a spam dumping ground.

    Have a great day!

  • All great points. I like #2 especially because a business needs to show some personality once in a while. People with great personalities usually attract the most attention and the same can apply in the business world.

  • Sandra Isaac

    Spam comments are infiltrating these systems. It can be a little daunting…but you have to persevere!

  • It’s their job. It will get a lot worse, probably. That’s our weird world Jason.

  • Hurrah. I had an impact today! : )

  • I didn;t mean to confuse you. I used the graphic to be entertaining but I would never suggest that corporate photos be wacky. Sorry for the confusion. On another note, you’re showing up here as a corporate logo. How will I get to know you this way? I don;t even know your name. You’re missing an opportunity. : )

  • Hurray for the home team! Good job Pauline.

  • You need to install a spam filter like Akismet. This catches 99.9% of the spam. For me, I would say 1-2 per week get through. Let me know if that helps.

  • The irony of it all. You’re showing up as a logo here. : 0

  • AMEN Sandra! They are tricky little devils.

  • Don’t be so modest… you ALWAYS make some sort of impact. 🙂

  • thank you sir.

  • Try installing Akismet and Disqus together, which I believe is what Mark has here. With just Akismet before on my blog, I was still spending too much time cleaning out junk. The two together have made a huge difference for me.

  • Awesome.

    I’ll add to #1: don’t use a comment plugin that requires people to authenticate another application before sharing. That popup that says “connect your social network to share” may give you some interesting analytics, but at what price? Gah!

    And #4: YES. But what to do when the offsite presence is ALREADY well established? Transition is tough, and sometimes not worth the loss of audience or search IMO. Instead you can look for ways to integrate navigation and experience. Would love to hear your thoughts on this.

  • Altrincham HQ

    Ah my names Alex – TBH my logo has never let me down and as I said photo is on my blog and about us section so people get to know me

    Also including on twitter header photo and regularly involved myself in the content I put out both visually and with the written word

  • Herb Silverman

    Excellent points; I really enjoyed #4 immensely! You know, my blog, Unmistakably Herb, will start in June. (Yea…) I am thrilled and frightened all the same time. I guess my issue is fear. Hitting the “Publish” on the little keyboard and letting the world see what I have done. It is very refreshing, but very daunted. However, your details were most helpful, as always…

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  • It let you down today. : )

    Nobody on this blog community knows who you are. It’s a great way to build relationships, Hard to do that with a logo. On Twitter, I rarely follow logo accounts.

  • true Eric.

  • you have to bite the bullet and integrate. Every day you delay the problem gets worse. You can still re-direct the URL so I think audience loss risk is minimal?

  • I have written about blog fear and courage a few times. This is the issue that makes or breaks a blog Herb. Be tough Herb!

  • Todd Lyden

    Wait, there is a way I could ask you annoying questions for a an hour and I’ve missed this??

  • Herb Silverman

    Tough, it is! On a different topic, are you ever in the Atlanta area?

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  • Once or twice a year. I just live up the road in Tennessee.

  • Ha! I’m a patient listener : )

  • John Trader

    First time commenter Mark although I have read your content for quite some time!

    The section on injecting humanity on your blog – a picture that shows who you are or an about page that doesn’t read like a resume really resonates with me since I do a lot of international marketing to markets where this approach pays a ton of dividends. In the U.S. we may be accustomed to being anonymous (for the wrong reasons you point out) but outside of the U,S,, the concept of adding “humanity” is so critical to gain that trust that greases the wheels of business. It just has to be a part of an international marketer’s strategy to secure the trust that is required before even putting a foot in the door.

    Thanks for the post.

  • Herb Silverman

    I like TN, as well; I was just visiting my middle brother, Len, and his family in Goodlettsville, a suburb of Nashville, over the Memorial Day weekend.

    As far as Atlanta, please keep me abreast because I really like the opportunity to have some coffee with you and discuss social media and the impact it plays with people w/disabilities. I think that there is a huge opportunities to help individuals with disabilities with technology (and blogging, too,) to the betterment of communications and satisfaction.

  • First, welcome to the comment section! Thanks for making the leap John.

    This is a really superb point and I think it is what connects all of us — we want to buy from those we know and trust.

  • It’s mightily impressive that Facebook has managed to cram in all
    important aspects. Let’s not kid ourselves though, it’s still a big
    thing and some will struggle with it.

  • I always moderate the first comment on my blog Mark but I know what you mean about it being frustrating leaving a comment and it not going through.

    I do have Akismet installed as well as G.A.S.P. so I’m going to give it a go and not moderate.

    I had to contact Akismet this week as I was getting caught in their false positives and ending up in the spam queue.

    Hopefully this comment won’t go to comment prison!

  • disqus_W4KjfaOksA

    Good stuff, Mark. I agree that people should show their faces. If I receive a comment from someone without a photo I automatically think it’s spam. And why people would not promote their content on social media is beyond me.

  • Thank you sir.

  • My bio stinks.. there I typed it. It’s not ‘I see the trees wrapped in the picture of Waldo’ bad, but pretty close. I is smart. I have a range of skills and talents that don’t have translations to ‘sales’ or other scannable keywords. So there’s that. The rest.. I’m good. That said, FWIW:

    1. There is a school of thought or ideology that rears its head once in a while, that having share buttons is vulgar and anti-social, that if content is good enough it’ll find its way around and who cares about the credit anyway. IDK ‘too school for cool’ drivel; if you want shares, make it easy.

    2. Even for a bigger company w/ lots of faces, be human. It shows your customers, your vendors, your investors that it takes a team, doing a lot of different jobs to work together to get results. No people don’t build connections w/ logos (though honestly, not sure a relationship is always the difference maker; many just want the WIIFM ‘deal.’)

    3. Love it when it’s on a big corporate or media site and it gets like 5 comments a month but heaven forbid one &%$! word makes it thru or one link, what would the stockholders think?! If something negative (never you mind accurate) would post, the world would tilt right off its axis.

    4. Depends. Are you blogging for you or your business? Not every topic under the sun fits your business’ website niche. Obviously if you work for X industry and write about that, keep it there. But if you’re an actuarial scientist and want to remain gainfully employed as such, does your sometimes ranty and racy blog about sports, politics, organic cooking really belong on the business site? May humanize you personally, but I’m not sure it’s gonna get the returns you seek professionally.

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  • Aseem Jibran

    Excellent post. Although, all of the points mentioned above are of utmost importance, yet I strongly believe BIO FAIL is right there at the top. Specially for a newbie like me, who wants to follow individuals who share same interests or are from relevant domain i.e. digital marketing and social media.

    Since I am new and willing to spend some extra time on it, therefore I go an extra mile by skimming through their tweets to get to know them better. Now imagine people like you, who have a massive following and get tons of new followers each day. Why would you bother to follow someone back who has a bio which says “Lover of life | Straight up with a twist” [that’s an actual twitter bio]. I guess I will have to share this post with her sometime soon 🙂

  • You made it! : )

  • 1) Noooo. Have never heard that school of thought. It’s all about the sharing. Agree with you 100%

    2) Hell yeah.

    3) Plus, a little bit of negative goes a long way toward building credibility

    4) Well said

    Thank you for sharing your wisdom Davina!

  • Sounds like a plan! : )

    Thanks for taking the time to comment Aseem.

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  • Crissy

    Great post! Although, I’d like to disagree with #3. Sort of. If it wasn’t for comment moderation, our blog would be flooded with spam comments. I don’t mean just a couple. I get 20, yes 20 alerts on my email from WP about moderating comments and when I check the email, it’s a spam comment selling anything from Christian Louboutins to Raybans. We’re new to blogging and can’t figure out why we’re getting spammy comments.

  • Great post Mark – I am so glad you mentioned moderated comments. Those 5 little words “Your comment is awaiting moderation” deflate you like a balloon after taking the time to comment. Scott Stratten wrote a great post about that a while back – I wish everyone could remove that silly function and see how easier it is to build community. Great tips – will share!

  • Crissy, there are free WordPress plug-ins like Akismet that catch 99.9% of the spam. Go get it right now : ) Also, see the comment right above this one …

  • Thanks Donna!

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