This post is in partnership with Entrepreneur. The article below was originally published at Entrepreneur.com.
By Lisa Evans, Entrepreneur.com
According to a recent social-media engagement study, Americans now spend more time on social media than any other Internet activity, including email. Social media isn’t going anywhere and businesses, small and large, are now recognizing their online presence is an essential part of their marketing strategy. Eight out of 10 small to medium-sized businesses now use social media to drive growth for their business, and three out of five say they’ve gained new customers through social media marketing.
There’s no denying social media is an excellent tool to interact with customers and clients, but simply posting something on social media for the sake of being active online isn’t enough. If you aren’t careful, your constant retweets and oversharing can quickly get you an “unfollow.”
These 8 habits are sure to alienate you on social media:
1. Always Selling
This is one of the worst social-media pet peeves, says Brian Paldin, CEO of the social-media marketing company, The Razzi Group. Social media is a conversation, says Paldin, and no one wants to talk to a salesman. Posting only when you have something to promote is a quick way to get your company unfriended or unfollowed.
Instead, Paldin recommends interspersing sales pitches with photos of your company party, quotes, blog posts, links to articles with content that provides value to your followers rather than constant promotional sales posts.
Posting the same type of messages multiple times a day is a sure-fire way to alienate your audience. Lysa Miller, owner of Ladybugz Interactive Agency in Boston, a web-design and social-media strategy agency for small businesses, recommends posting relevant content once or twice a day. No one wants to see a dozen photos a day of pizzas from the restaurant they followed on Twitter, but they may be interested in a new recipe (posted once, not three times a day).
Sharing info from other sites can be an annoyance to your followers. Avoid sharing articles from aggregate news sites such as BuzzFeed, as these don’t show any originality to your business and are shared too many times online by individuals.
“People don’t want to see a business oversharing those kinds of viral stories because they’re going to see that content from their friends,” says Miller.
4. Lack of Original Content
“Customers need to know you’re interesting enough to follow,” says Miller. Retweeting other people’s messages or posting articles from other sites doesn’t tell the consumer what your company is about and shows a lack of originality. Paldin says once every two days is a good time to retweet or share content that isn’t yours. Focus on creating original content, such as a blog post on your website or a portfolio item you can share with followers.
5. Not Having a Strategy
“Posting random links and content just to put something up is not a good idea,” says Miller. Create a calendar of posts you want to share in advance, leaving room for some last minute additions.
“When you’re messaging people, you need to know what that message is and you need to plan that out in advance,” says Miller.
The best way to create a strategy is to look at who your customers are and find out what their needs and wants are related to your business. Paldin has even done surveys for some companies in order to create a social-media strategy, asking followers to tell him the type of content they would like to see on the company’s social-media channels. When creating your social-media strategy, think about how the information you share is going to help your customers be loyal to your business.
6. Unnecessary Tagging
This is just bad social etiquette, says Paldin. “You shouldn’t be tagging people in photos or in posts that are not associated with them.” While tagging people in a picture or a post may help you to increase the post’s visibility, it’s a fast way to annoy people and will quickly get you an “unfollow.”
7. Being Disengaged with Followers
“If you’re looking to get your customers to continue to follow you, you need to pay attention to what they’re doing,” says Paldin. Since the whole idea of social media is to engage with customers, Paldin recommends following people when they follow you, like their photos, ask questions and always respond when they reach out to you. “What’s the point of having 10,000 followers if you only have two percent engagement? Wouldn’t you rather be a company with 1,000 followers but 10 percent engagement?” says Paldin.
8. Reposting Too Much
Sending the same link 10 times a day may increase your click-through rate, but it can also annoy followers who see your reposts as digital clutter. “People want to see activity when they scroll through your feeds and your comments,” says Paldin. But if the activity is all the same message, they’re going to see you as annoying.
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