How to Correct 3 Major Social-Media Blunders

Social media plays a huge role when developing any sort of brand. If you aren't careful, you could make mistakes that could quickly turn people off.

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By Ann Tran

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Nobody's perfect: We are only human and we make mistakes. And these mishaps run the gamut – from personal flubs to business snafus. And under business, social-media blunders occasionally occur. But luckily, you can turn these mistakes into opportunities, not just by learning from them, but also by teaching others how to avoid the same ones.

I'd like to impart some social media wisdom based on my extensive use of multiple platforms.

Here are a few examples of what works and what doesn't.

1. Focusing too much on yourself and not thinking about what is helpful to your audience. I re-tweet, engage, and share about 60 percent on my Twitter page. (I tend to engage more on the other social networks.) Because of the size of my following on Twitter, I incline to be less engaging and proportion my engagement so it will not barrage the stream. I then try to extend them beyond that platform, continuing those conversations on Instagram, Facebook and Google+ where it's a bit more manageable for me.

Related: The 5 Habits for Social-Media Success

Don't be afraid to share other people's work. It is amusing to me when I see people will only share a quote from my page rather than an article that I've written that may be useful to their followers. Re-tweet someone a few times or make a few comments on their posts as a way of saying hi.

On a side note, please don't direct message or ask for favors before we have properly introduced ourselves. Let's get to know each other first. Before you text, direct message or e-mail me about your campaign, consider whether what you're asking might be burdensome and whether you truly know me well enough to expect favors. If you propose something to collaborate on, make sure that it benefits both parties.

Also, be extremely generous with profound content. Create material that educates and informs the user's experience.

2. Focusing on numbers and popularity rather than relationships. The reward in social media is in the contacts you make and the relationships you build. Treat people as friends, rather than as a means to an end. If you venture to build real and lasting relationships, the ROI will come.

A sense of entitlement is a turn off, so be humble, be kind and be genuinely helpful. Work hard, and your work will speak for itself.

The key here is treat virtual relationship as you would "real life" relationships.

Related: How I Went From Zero to 380,000 Twitter Followers Without Spending a Dime

3. Using too many hashtags that are not relevant to your brand. Be considerate and sensible in your hashtag usage. If you know that you will be working at an event, be selective and judicious and not over share prior to your events. Before your chat at events, give a lot of honest, quality love out. Contribute and give mutual respect and appreciation to get others' attention.

But keep in mind if an event won't benefit your fans, feel free to turn it down. You want to be aligned with what you are going to endorse.

Think of social media as a big cocktail party. Flourish a sense of gratitude and a genuine interest in people, as opposed to what people can do for you -- only then will you'll see the ROI of social media.

I love connecting with people on social media, especially when they want to build a relationship and share real experiences, information and wisdom. I say this all the time, and I truly mean it: Social media is all about collaborating and cultivating relationships, just like you would in any real-life situation. So before you get in touch with anyone on social media, please think about the cocktail party metaphor, and if you can't be the life of the party, at the very least do your best to be the kind of guest who will be invited back.

Related: Want to Gain Influence on Social Media? Get to Work.

Ann Tran

Social Media Consultant

Ann Tran is a respected social media consultant, travel social marketing strategist, influencer, and sought-after speaker at social media and technology events.  Ann helps brands understand and use the power of digital media and online influence to build their business. 

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