Eight Social Media Missteps
By Amber Newberry
We get asked a lot for advice regarding social media, so we’re compiling a few lists of information and tips. Keep in mind, what works for some may not work for everyone, but you learn a lot through trial and error! You might discover new ideas that could help you in making decisions for your own social media, or maybe you’ll find some reinforcement here for what you already know. We’re starting with some potential missteps you might see out in the wild. If you’ve been that person, don’t take it to heart—it’s an evolution, and that requires corrections along the way. You’re not always going to make the best decision the first time you try something, but the important thing is that you learn from it and apply that knowledge to the future.
1. Not posting regularly
At first, I felt weird about posting every day and then posting multiple times a day? Forget about it! I didn’t want to annoy people. But here’s the thing: why would people follow you if they don’t want to see your content? Furthermore, the less you post, the less the algorithms favor your content. When you post every day (even once), it shows that your account is active. The algorithm will recognize this, and when you don’t post for a day, or a few days, the system begins to favor other posts over yours because someone else out there is more active and therefore gets bumped ahead in order of importance. So, how do you get over the hurdle of telling yourself your content isn’t worth posting every day? Realize you’re worthy. Simple as that, your posts ARE worthy of being shared and being seen! If you made it, and you enjoyed doing it, chances are there is someone else out there who would enjoy seeing it. If you’re not ready to post every day, at least try posting regularly, like every other day or three times a week! Or, if you’re ready to start posting more than once a day, try spreading out the posts by between 9 and 14 hours apart, so you aren’t flooding your followers with new content. The good thing about regulating your posts by spacing them out is that it helps you avoid running out of material. The point is, you have to find the consistency that works for you, and having daily content might not be feasible for you at this time, but consider the idea that every post does not need to be your original concept. Share your friends and promote them! Share what your followers are doing or saying! Utilize the Reshare app, do a couple of artist highlight posts, or reshare old content for #throwbackthursday! There are creative ways to ensure you have plenty of material to throw out there into the universe.
2. Not posting/sharing/promoting your friends/followers
Everything about social media is symbiotic. Users depend on you to post content for them to consume. You depend on the users to follow and share your content to expand your audience. The process of sharing/promoting the people you follow only strengthens that symbiotic relationship in a way that is beneficial across the board. If you see terrific content that you love, chances are the people following your social media will also find the content interesting! Your followers will discover someone new to follow. The person you are promoting might share your post of their work into their IG story, which will get your handle in front of their audience. Now, here’s the super important thing that you must never, ever forget! Always tag the content creator and give them credit for their work. Consider reaching out to them to ask permission, especially if it’s not someone you’ve tagged or worked with before. I’m usually flattered when someone else shares my posts (as long as they tag me and give me credit), but some people will have preferences about how their work is shared, and they should be privy to where and how their work gets to the masses, if possible. The most paramount thing is ensuring that everything is tagged correctly. For example, if you share a picture an alt model posted, make sure that you tag not only her, but also the photographer and anyone else who worked on the project. Chances are they were tagged in the original post, so the info is already at your fingertips. In a case like this one, the project could include makeup artists, fashion designers, hair stylists, locales, and more. It’s essential to pay attention to who is tagged in the original post to make sure everyone involved is credited in the reshare. Better yet, the more people who are tagged, the more visibility for the repost!
3. Not interacting with your followers
If you’re not responding to the comments on your posts, you’re missing out on a valuable personal connection with the people following you! By thanking your fans for their comments, or responding to their questions, or just having conversations about the posts, you’re sacrificing increased engagement. So, what exactly is engagement? It’s the level of attention your followers pay to your social media posts. It includes the percentage of your audience that liked a post as opposed to your complete following. It refers to the number of people making comments on your posts or sharing them. When your followers engage with you, it’s important to acknowledge this. Think of it this way, if you walk into a party and you wave at the host and say “Hey, thanks for having me!” and they stare blankly at the wall or look away, it feels awkward… rude even! So, imagine your post is a party, and the people liking the post are potential partygoers. The people commenting are the ones who have arrived at the party, and you’re the host, so it’s your job to make sure they’re having a good time. Thank them for coming, thank them for contributing, and make them feel important, because they are! They’re your followers, and the ones commenting are arguably the most important because they are actively engaging with you on multiple levels, by liking the post and also boosting its visibility with comments. Let them know that matters to you by interacting with them so they keep coming to your parties and commenting on your posts.
4. Not building relationships with other content creators
We touched on this in #2 with a bit about the importance of sharing and adequately crediting. Still, something else of monumental importance is following other content creators and engaging with them. Be a good neighbor and support your fellow creators by liking and commenting on their posts! Ask questions, compliment their work, and add to the conversation going on in the comments section. It is an excellent way to build a stable relationship with like-minded makers, artists, and business owners. By supporting them and helping to increase their visibility and engagement, you’re doing yourself a favor. Remember how symbiosis is so vital in social media? Well, simply by commenting on the posts of your peers, you are getting your handle in front of new followers. Or, perhaps, your current followers will see you supporting and interacting with the accounts you love, and that means something to them, to know that you are there for your fellow content creators. I love stumbling over conversations between two of my favorite Instagrammers in the comment threads. It’s like running into a friend at a grocery store or spotting a celebrity at a coffee shop. And trust me when I say there’s something sexy about being a good neighbor; it’s a human element that people can connect with even if they don’t interact. They see you out there being a person, being a follower, being a supporter: just like them!
5. Faking the following
Quality followers don’t care how big your following is (or looks). Most people follow a social media account because they like the aesthetic, the personality, or the product. The size of the following matters way less than the actual content presented. In fact, faking your following could be a huge turn off because it will make a potential fan think, “If they bought followers, what else are they doing to fool me?” Not to mention, you’re sacrificing everything meaningful about social media. Fake followers don’t interact. Your engagement percentage is actually lowered because you have more followers than are interacting with your posts. There can be no genuine interactions because you can’t have a conversation with a dead account or a robot. And let’s just go ahead and point out that your potential real, actual followers are smart people, and there’s a good chance that they’ll notice a sudden spike in followers. You are risking allowing your audience to feel betrayed because you’re presenting them with an image that isn’t the truth. People will respect you more for your 500 real followers, who you engage and connect with, more than they will respect 50,000 robot followers who do not like or comment or contribute to increasing your visibility. And the best part is that those 500 real followers might share your account with their followers and friends, and then you gain even more legitimate followers, who are hundreds of times more valuable than the fake ones who do not engage at all.
6. Thinking it’s a contest
We know how frustrating it can be when you’re starting out. It’s constant trial and error, and it can be hard to see what’s working and what isn’t. You might see someone who started before you, and they’re steadily gaining exponential followers. You feel like you can’t keep up, and you might never catch up. What are they getting right and what are you getting wrong? You’re taking it personally, and it feels like being the new kid at a school where all of the cliques are already established. Well, my dears, I’m going to drop a bombshell… it isn’t a contest unless you let it be one. We are not living out our own, personal version of The Circle. If you stop comparing yourself to others, there’s nothing to be won or lost, there is only your journey. Comparing yourself to others is dangerous. It allows those you consider your competition reason to make decisions and it gives them a certain amount of control over you. They might be aware of this control, or maybe they have no idea you see them as your opponent. Either way, by thinking of others as your competition, you are allowing them to change you, or contribute to how you make decisions. When you remove the idea that there is some form of a contest playing out via social media, you are freeing yourself of limitations. If you have only yourself to worry about, there is no boundary, no rules, no regulations. You are free from the confines of comparing yourself to others and you can finally create without worrying what someone else is doing.
7. Not Being Genuine
This ties together some of what we touched on in numbers 3, 4, 5, and I wanted to highlight why it’s essential to just be yourself. First, let’s be upfront about something: it’s exhausting putting on a charade! At the end of the day, trying to separate yourself from a public persona so you can remember who you really are deep down can take a toll. You have to ask yourself if it’s worth putting on a fake smile and allowing the perception of you to change. It’s hard for people to connect with something that isn’t real, and it’s even harder to continue to be something you aren’t just to keep up appearances. If that is not enough of a reason to just get out there and be yourself, then think about how it feels to you to discover someone you love or look up to is not what they seemed. Imagine being back at that party: you walk in, and the host gives you a warm welcome, thanks you for coming, and then forgets you exist within seconds. Someone walks in behind you, and that person gets exactly the same greeting, word for word, the smile, all of it. None of it is personal, and all of it is rehearsed and rehashed over and over again. It doesn’t feel special anymore. You start to realize that the warm welcome was a contrived and calculated thing, and the personal connection you thought you felt is just for show. You feel scammed, in a way. You might still see that person around, but then everything they say and do must be taken with a grain of salt because you wonder how much of it is real and how much of it is calculated… and for what reason? There will always be an agenda. Applying that same thought process to someone you follow on social media, you know that a polished, artificial presence isn’t real, and maybe whatever that person is making or selling isn’t bona fide either. We’re living in such a state that there will always be a certain amount of pseudo-realness, it’s openly accepted, but it has made us all skeptics. So, why bother playing into that expectation when you have the option of actually being genuine! People will notice, people will appreciate it, and absolutely nothing is stronger than the foundation you build on honesty.
8. Thinking it’s all over if you slipped up
“Tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it.” L.M. Montgomery penned the phrase for Anne of Green Gables, one of my favorite book series of all time. I still think of this quote all the time; it comes up in all sorts of situations. When I’ve made a conversational foible, slipped up on remembering someone’s name, or gotten upset over something minuscule. But, even when I’ve really screwed up on my own accord, it’s the first thing I try to remember when it’s time to move forward. If you made a mistake, take responsibility for it. Apologize, if necessary. Be honest, be public if you need to, and address it with grace and humility. Recognize that you could’ve done something wrong, and understand that it is human to make mistakes. If you messed up, let it teach you that recovery is part of development and improvement. Second chances are real, as long as you learn from the mistakes you make along the way. People will respect you for your willingness to accept responsibility for your missteps, and they might even love you more for knowing just how real you actually are.
Amber Newberry is a writer, editor, and entrepreneur living in Salem, MA. In 2016, Amber began FunDead Publications, a small independent horror publishing house with co-editor Laurie Moran. This spurred an interest in business ownership, and building on what she learned from previous jobs in marketing and retail management, Amber started her own online and brick and mortar shop in 2018, called Die With Your Boots On. She founded the Daughters of Darkness market in 2018, and it has become a passion for her, working alongside co-organizers Laurie Moran (FunDead Publications & The Cemeterrarium) and Liz Frazier (Witch City Wicks).