One of the first things I lead off in any of my seminars is when learning how to use technology make mistakes and make them often but don’t make the same mistake twice. I know that some of the mistakes I made have resulted in people unsubscribing from my blog, defriended on Facebook, removed from the Facebook Fan page and unsubscribed from my email newsletter.
How did I know I was making mistakes using social media? The numbers don’t lie. Randy Gage says, “if you can’t track your marketing then it probably isn’t worth doing. Using Google Analytics, Feedburner, Hootsuite, BudURL and many other tracking devices I could see whenever I made a change or did something right you could see a huge spike in activity. When I made a change and lost visitors, subscribers, and leads I knew I had to fix something fast.
The reality of the situation is if we don’t have anything to measure the results from our activities then we have no idea what we are doing right or wrong. Let me assure you everyone will have made similar mistakes but I share mine to expose my learning experiences so that you can shorten the curve and retain the following in which you so rightly deserve.
Check out this awesome video on return on investment from using social media
Here are some of the mistakes I openly admit to and how you can avoid them.
I wasn’t having a conversation with my readers in my blog.
I wrote more in terms of how to, concepts, and action plans instead of having a conversation with my readers. There were times were the post was more concentrated on getting the point across instead of writing to where the reader was able to feel what I felt along the way. In the future I want you (the reader) to see me as a person with good tips as opposed to good tips written by a person. If you have read a blog post and the author didn’t ask questions, wrote like a robot, and didn’t put feeling into their writing would you feel anything at all? See I’m asking a question right now. Do you feel like you are in the conversation?
I didn’t include more people in my posts.
There were many people who I met along my travels this year who asked great questions, gave good feedback, and provided solutions that I had never heard of before. I consistently shared event recaps that included PowerPoint presentations, handouts, templates, scripts, and videos but they didn’t connect. Look out for 2010 Event Recaps to include more pictures of people and not me, more detailed answers to good questions asked by the audience members, and recommending other agent related resources other than the ones I create myself. Social media’s effectiveness is higher when people share what you have shared, not you just sharing information. How did you feel when someone linked back to your blog? Did you just think that was cool or did you take the time to thank them in some way. Link to others’ Linkedin profile, Twitter account, blog, and even go as far as include a screen capture of their blog in your blog but with respect, courtesy, and good will.
Not consistent with tags.
Tags represent the key words in an article or other piece of content someone would search for in the blog, YouTube, SlideShare or any other content sharing site. What I failed to do early in 2009 was I didn’t create a list of tags and stick to them. Instead I just created a tag I thought might fit which will work in the beginning but the inconsistency makes it difficult to search with the more content that is added. Now I have a list that I continuously copy/paste into social media profile bios instead of having to type them over and over again. What tags do you use?
Didn’t thank Retweeters
There were many people who Retweeted my Tweets and I did not thank them as @reply or Direct Message. Anytime someone shares what you have to say in a positive way and you don’t thank them the chances are they won’t do it again. It’s like someone says, “I like your suit.” and you don’t say thank you. What nerve? How did you feel when someone ReTweeted your message? The highest compliment you can give someone is to ReTweet Tweets but be careful not to overdo it.
Too much automation
I am a huge fan of outsourcing and automation because it saves time posting to sites and since time is an extremely valuable commodity I worked the feeds as much as possible. In other words, anytime I published any form of content it would go everywhere and sometimes twice. Now that I understand social media better I can see where others have automated their system, which makes it less personal. I’m not quitting all the automation but revisiting what is working and what is not. For example I don’t use FriendFeed anymore to publish my social media activity. Check out the VIP special report to see how I have revisited the social media road map to automate the process.
What sounded like a good idea became a fatal error for my Facebook Fan page. I have all of my social media sites tied into FriendFeed, which is a compilation of multiple RSS feeds. I check out the statistics a few months and had saw I lost 30 fans. Not a big deal you think right? Wrong. Those 30 fans could be raving fans and could have shared my expertise with their peers. Can you imagine how hard it will be to get them back? It may not happen but if I hadn’t tried I wouldn’t have known. That’s how social media can work sometimes. You just have to try it out and see what happens.
Didn’t comment on blog comments
For a while I thought blog comments were just people giving their two cents but I didn’t even realize that they were trying to have a conversation with me. Can you imagine someone saying something to you and you say nothing back? How would you feel? Now I spend time looking at the few comments I get to try and help my readers understand the material and engage them with new ideas in addition to the blog post. This extra effort will build reader confidence, make them want to return, and share blog post with their peers.
I assumed that readers just want the meat or context of the blog post and nothing else. Let’s face it. You spend time writing for an hour and now you have to put in a picture too? ABSOLUTELY! Why? Because pictures help with search engine optimization, make the blog post entertaining, and match the message the blogger is trying to convey. I use pictures from my digital camera or buy them royalty free from CrystalGraphics. Where do you get your pictures from?
Some SlideShare presentations contained similar slides
I gave over 60 presentations this year with about 20 different topics at state conventions, live workshops, and webinars about using social media and technology for my target audiences and uploaded most of them to SlideShare. Some of the same slides were used in multiple presentations that were uploaded to SlideShare. It isn’t a big deal for people who see one presentation for the first time but if you saw the same slides in multiple presentations you might begin to wonder if I had any additional material. The challenge is that I continuously update my slides on technology. You have to change them because most technology is outdated, upgraded, or tweaked to benefit the consumer experience. In a presentation that has 70 slides (average for 3 hour talk) then 10 slides might be the same across the board. I know SlideShare was good to me when I first started using the tool cause every PowerPoint I put up they featured it on their home page which exploded the number of hits more than I could do myself. It’s too bad they don’t do that anymore 🙁
I know you as I will make mistakes using technology, social media, raising children, and driving your car but in my opinion it is what we learn from our mistakes that makes us stronger as professionals and human beings. Just try not to make the same mistake twice.
Go ahead and share of your mistakes. It’s OK. Others will learn from what you did wrong and what you did to make it right.