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According to Hootsuite and WeAreSocial’s Digital in 2017 report, out of the 7.476 billion people in the world, 2.789 are active social media users. That means 37 percent of the world’s population is engaged via social platforms. If these numbers are making you question whether your engagement rates are up to par, nix these 5 common social media mistakes and start to watch your metrics rise.

  1. Using #hashtags that are too broad

It may seem like adding broader, more general hashtags to your social posts – like #technology, #motivation, #food, etc. – would increase visibility and thus engagement. Unfortunately, today’s savvy social user isn’t prone to being fooled by this approach. They tend to recognize when brands do it, and it could cause your brand to lose credibility over time. Why? Users can tell from your post if the message is relevant to them, even if it includes a hashtag that they follow. The more you abuse hashtags, the more likely users are to mute or block you.

We recommend using more specific hashtags that align directly with your brand and speak directly to your key targeted audiences – not ALL audiences. Those audiences are more likely to tune in to what your brand has to say.

  • Hashtags Gone Wrong: Public Relations or PR? According to @PRDaily, the length of your hashtag makes a #difference. #Explore that and other tips: #social
  • Hashtags Gone Right: #PublicRelations or #PR? According to @PRDaily, the length of your #hashtag makes a difference. Explore that and other tips:
  1. Getting wordy

Since Twitter increased its character count last year, it’s easy to get too wordy across all platforms. Like going shopping, just because it fits doesn’t mean it looks good. Rather than focusing on making sure you’re hitting the character count limit, focus instead on getting your message across in as few words as possible. Social users will thank you. Like you, they only have 24 hours in a day, and they have a limited attention span. The quicker you can capture their attention and get your main point across, the better for your brand and the ones you’re trying to reach.

Here are some best practices to follow for each channel regarding post length recommended by HubSpot and adopted by M/P:

  • Facebook: 40 characters
  • Instagram: 125 characters
  • LinkedIn: 100 characters
  • Twitter: 120-130 characters
  1. Targeting the wrong audience

Remember when I said to speak directly to key target audiences, not ALL audiences? That doesn’t just apply to hashtags. It applies to your brand’s entire social strategy.

Meredith Hill of the Global Institute for Travel Entrepreneurs once said, “When you speak to everyone, you speak to no one.” Keep this in mind when determining your target audience on social channels – key word being “target.” You need to hit a bullseye when it comes to understanding who your audience is; otherwise, you run the risk of diluting your message by trying to reach too many or, even worse, not reaching anyone.

Not all social platforms are made the same which means that not all platforms have the same audience. The same content shouldn’t be blasted out across all channels. LinkedIn and Google+ are professional spaces which can be used to reach investors and B2B contacts. Facebook, recently debated to be the new LinkedIn, is a space that can combine both consumer and B2B content. Instagram and Snapchat, at this stage in the game, should be mainly consumer while Twitter can be a mix.

To achieve success in reaching the right audiences, M/P suggests creating buyer personas to better understand who your audience is and how they get their news. Having that knowledge allows brands to select the best channels for their content so they can reach the right audience.

  1. Believing there’s an “I” in team

One of the biggest mistakes that companies make on social is talking too much about themselves. Readers are interested in seeing things they can relate to or apply to their lives with the occasional sprinkle of how your company can specifically solve their problems.

M/P recommends an 80/20 rule: 80% of the time, talk about what’s happening in your industry that benefits your audiences to know; 20% of the time, talk about company news. Talking about hot topics in the industry can let readers know that you are knowledgeable on the topic and once that trust and credibility is built, a relationship can flourish.

  1. Losing a consistent cadence

If you’re doing everything else right but posting sporadically, readers may disengage from your content. Too many posts in one day can overwhelm a reader’s newsfeed while too few posts can cause readers to forget about your voice and brand. Finding the right cadence for your content is key to keeping the followers that you have while attracting new ones.

To make sure you hit the sweet spot on cadence, follow these M/P best practices:

  • Twitter: Post 3-6 times a day, spread out throughout the day
  • LinkedIn, Google+, Facebook and Instagram: Post 3-5 times per week during peak hours for your target audience

Need some help in getting your social program turned around? Just ask.