A couple of weeks ago, I wanted to make some chocolate chip cookies. I found what looked to be an awesome recipe – I mean, soft, gooey, delicious. I couldn’t wait. I had all of the ingredients I needed already in my pantry. I’m a total rule-follower, so I carefully measured out the exact measurements listed. I looked up what “cream together” meant for the butter and sugar, just to be sure. I used parchment paper so the bottoms of the cookies would not burn. I even set the timer three minutes short so they wouldn’t get too done.
Small, hard, and dry cookies.
What went wrong? I followed the recipe to a “T”!
Turns out, there are some things that you shouldn’t do when baking cookies (that I did) that the recipe didn’t outline.
Why am I telling you this?
Last week, I read a very interesting article about a question many Estate Planning and Elder Law attorneys ask us, “How can I get more people to follow me on social media?” The article outlined several important “ingredients” to use in your recipe for successful social media engagement: e-mail, networking and investing in design.
However, just as in baking, there are also things that you shouldn’t be doing (that you may be doing) that could be driving away those followers that you just got!
Andrea Lehr of the Hubspot Blog learned about why people are following a brand’s page in the first place. The top reasons are an interest in the company, the chance at free or discounted offers and hearing about the new company happenings, like products or services.
This particular study revealed that followers prefer to learn about your business via photos first, closely followed by video and reviews. You probably have most of those items covered in sharing your blogs, pages of your website (potentially with video!) and articles of interest.
So why would anyone choose to un-follow you? Take this quick test to see if you have committed any of these social crimes!
HAVE YOU EVER…
1) Posted Too Much Self-Promotion or Uninteresting Content?
It is important to encourage visitors to check out your website or notify them of upcoming events. However, just like in real life, if someone is ONLY talking about themselves, it’s tough to get involved in the conversation. Be sure to share community events, interesting articles and a big one, ask open ended questions. These items will add value to your reader’s experience and engagement.
2) Overused Automated Messaging or Lacked Personal Engagement?
Have you ever submitted a question online and received an e-mail immediately after? Something like, “Thank you for contacting us. You are important to us. We will respond to your message as soon as possible.” These messages are helpful confirmations that our submission reached the proper destination. But, if you do not get a response “as soon as possible,” you are disappointment. Followers can feel the same way on social media.
Be sure you are taking time to reply to the messages you may receive in your inbox on your social media platforms. If you get a new follower, “Like” it, if possible, so they feel acknowledged. If they leave a funny comment on a blog post or photo on your page, reply as much as you can.
3) Used Hashtags Wrong?
If you don’t know what a Hashtag is, here you go: #. Yes, that’s a pound or number sign. But the Twitter world started a Hashtag phenomenon that basically addresses the subject of the content you are posting in a brief word or phrase that then becomes a searchable link for all posts with the same Hashtag.
Be diligent to use your Hashtags sparingly and only if they make sense with your post.
If you’ve just been caught red-handed, be sure to remember a few specific guidelines.
- First, it is okay to post regularly. Your followers are expecting that! Just be sure that you treat your posting as a sort of conversation. Conversations that are one-sided or “salesy” won’t last long.
- Be sure you are sharing information that you think your readers might really want to know.
- Try engaging with them directly – wish them well on their birthday or “Like” pictures they post, etc. In this way, you are developing relationships. A brand that is near and dear to you is one that you may share with your other friends and loved ones. Be the brand that gets shared!