Cofounder ofThe Market Vibe, a digital marketing agency that helps brands enter their next phase of growth.
Having advised business owners on personal branding strategies for social media over the years, I’ve seen some good approaches that result in plenty of benefits—and bad approaches that can stall their business at best and plummet it at worst.
Knowing what not to do is just as important as knowing what to do. If you’re a business owner, here are nine personal branding mistakes you should avoid making on social media.
Mistake 1: Being Stuck In Your Ways
Many clients we work with are hesitant to add new social media platforms to their personal branding mix or are reluctant to use new types of content, such as short-form videos.
Venturing into something new can be challenging; however, it’s vital that you adapt your personal branding efforts as the social media landscape changes so you can bolster your online presence and get on the path to generating more sales.
By not being stuck in your ways, you’re less likely to put all your eggs in one basket. The more social media platforms you’re on, the safer your revenue streams are in the event of an outage; however, for more business peace of mind, you shouldn’t solely stick to social media platforms. Create your own email list, build a website with a strong SEO strategy and seek other means of connecting with prospective and existing customers.
Mistake 2: Posting The Same Content Everywhere
If you post the same content everywhere, not only do you run the risk of people who follow you across different platforms noticing, but you also run the risk of not getting the most value out of your content.
Different types of content work better on different platforms. For example, if you repurpose a TikTok video (without making any changes) and post it on LinkedIn, it might fall flat—because those platforms cater to two very different audiences. Tailor your content appropriately to different platforms. You don’t necessarily have to start from scratch, nor should you the majority of the time. For instance, you can record a video and then make two versions by altering factors like captions and sound effects.
Mistake 3: Uploading Videos With Watermarks From Other Platforms
One of the worst social media faux pas I’ve seen is when people upload videos to one platform that have watermarks from another platform. Failing to remove watermarks looks tacky and can also limit your reach, as is the case with how Instagram treats videos with TikTok watermarks.
There are various free tools online that you can use to remove watermarks.
Mistake 4: Not Optimizing Your Bios On Various Platforms
Similar to optimizing your videos and other content for different platforms, you should also optimize your bios depending on the platform at hand. Don’t use the same bio for TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, etc.
Tweak your bio in a way that speaks to the general demographics of each platform. And for every version of your bio, tell people exactly who you are and what you do. Get to the point and keep it short. Remember, the purpose of your bio isn’t to sell; it’s to inform people just enough to where they want to learn more.
These days, SEO isn’t limited to websites and blogs. It also applies to social media; consider that TikTok came out on top as 2021’s most popular domain, according to a report by Cloudflare.
Write informative captions that include strategically placed keywords. And don’t forget about alt text. It helps for SEO purposes, but more importantly, it’s crucial for accessibility.
Think about all the ads you see on social media. Chances are that they start getting annoying after a while, especially the ads that are blatantly trying to sell.
When creating content for your audience on social media (and on your website and other communication channels), prioritize providing value instead of selling. For instance, consider uploading short videos that give essential leadership tips if you're an executive coach. You can still encourage people to get coaching from you but in a subtle way.
When creating content, think about how you can best serve your community. Sometimes, business owners are wary of giving away knowledge and advice for “free.” But in my experience, doing so builds trust between you and that prospective customer—and they might come back later wanting to work with you or refer you to someone. My philosophy is that you have to give before you ever receive. Don’t be afraid to give good advice for free and to help people get where they want to go, even if it means sending them to another business that can assist them more effectively.
Additionally, prioritize responding when prospective and existing customers leave you questions and messages online. According to a 2018 survey from Clutch, 83% of respondents “expect companies to respond to social media comments within a day or less.”
Hashtags have their place on many social platforms, but going overboard with hashtags isn’t a wise move.
Strive to use hashtags that make sense (for example, don’t use #puppies for a post centered on resume tips). Additionally, don’t spam hashtags. Instead of using many hashtags, use a few targeted hashtags. Research best practices on the number of recommended hashtags for each platform.
Mistake 9: Thinking It’s All About The Numbers
There’s a perception, one I believe to be false, that the number of followers a brand or person has on social media is the be-all, end-all. That misguided perception drives people to focus on growing their follower count, sometimes even buying fake followers.
But what’s the point of having a lot of followers if they barely engage with your content? There’s a reason why brands are increasingly working with microinfluencers. They may not have thousands upon thousands of followers, but as stated in The Drum,they have “loyal and engaged fanbases.”
Ultimately, before you post anything to social media, think about how that piece of content will get you closer to your end goal of running an even more thriving business.
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