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September 4, 2014 // 4:00 AM

The 3 Biggest Mistakes People Make on Twitter and LinkedIn (And How to Fix Them)

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social-media-fingersThough social media isn't some shiny new marketing toy, lots of marketers get tripped up when using it. Sure, these folks know how to put together a tweet or publish a status update, but they get overwhelmed when they're trying to navigate the unwritten "rules" of these platforms to be successful. And when they get overwhelmed, they slip up -- just like the rest of us when we're learning something new.

But with just a little know-how, these common slip-ups can be avoided, and then these marketers can be on their merry way to building relationships with their leads and customers on social media. In case you're one of these marketers or you just want a little refresher on what not to do on two of the biggest social platforms for marketers -- Twitter and LinkedIn -- keep on reading. We'll walk you through three of the most common mistakes we find on these platforms and give you tips for avoiding them. 

Mistake #1: Blasting LinkedIn Groups With Irrelevant Content

I'm sure this has happened to you at a networking event. You're hanging out, having a great time and chatting with lots of people about interesting things. Suddenly, one guy keeps popping into your conversations to share random facts that may have something to do with the overall event but really not with the conversation you are having. You feel this person is a show-off and clearly not listening to a word you are saying -- not the type you were hoping to meet at an event like this.

That's what happens often in LinkedIn Groups. They are discussion forums where like-minded people discuss common problems -- and used properly, they offer a huge opportunity for marketers. Unfortunately, marketers will often flood groups with irrelevant and spammy information. Check out what to do instead below.  

Instead, don’t just start conversations and post links back to your site. 

Join existing conversations -- don’t just start new ones. You want to add to the group rather than be the guy at the event showing off knowledge no one really wants to hear. Also, not every response you leave in a discussion has to be a link to your site.

Remember, if you come across too salesy, you are not adding to the conversation and will come across as spammy. You may even be thrown out of the group.

Mistake #2: Sending Generic LinkedIn Invites

In real life, you couldn't imagine someone just introducing themselves to you, then immediately falling silent. Usually, after you exchange names and pleasantries, you get to talking about why you're talking. Maybe the other person wants to chat business. Maybe they are bored on the other side of the room and you looked like you were having more fun. Regardless, you still have a moment in the conversation where you talk about the why.

So why do marketers often leave out the why when they're inviting others to connect on LinkedIn? I'm sure it's happened to you -- the generic "I'd like to add you to my professional network" tells you nothing about who the person is and why they wanted to connect with you. Sending someone who doesn’t know you the standard LinkedIn connection message is just as awkward as introducing yourself at a networking event and then not saying a word. 

Instead, customise your messages to new contacts.

Let people know why you want to be connected with them. Are you looking for new talent to join your team? Do you want to explore possible co-marketing partnerships with them? Were you impressed by their latest blog post? Just tell them why you want to connect with them -- they'll appreciate you being up-front about it.

See what I mean in this note I received following a request to connect:


It is clear that this person has seen my profile, read it, and now is engaging with me. Although the role is not for me, this is still a great example of good personalized and direct message on LinkedIn.

Mistake #3: Shouting Over Your Twitter Followers

One of the annoying things to happen at a cocktail party is to find yourself talking to The Interrupter. They come up to you, you begin to chat, and suddenly you find yourself completely silent as they talk at you or over you. In fact, they could be shouting over you with no regard at all for what you have to say. I don’t know about you, but if I were in a situation like that, I’d ignore them or just walk away.

I see this happening all the time on Twitter. Marketers will put their messages out there without any real consideration for their followers. They shout out what they think is important and don’t listen or engage with others.

Instead, get involved in the right conversations.

It's easy to get overwhelmed by all the conversations happening on Twitter. But as a marketer, you shouldn't be involved in every single conversation -- just the right ones.

Use the proper social monitoring tools like HubSpot’s Social Inbox to help discover and participate in the right conversations -- and then when you are participating in the conversation, make sure you're doing plenty of listening. Instead of shouting into the Twittersphere and hoping to get noticed, you can have the right conversations with the right people at the right time. So when a prospect starts to compare you against a competitor, a customer complains, or an superfan shares one of your latest blog posts, you have the tools and knowledge to get involved.

What other no-no's do you see marketers doing on social media?

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Topics: Social Media

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