5 social media mistakes to avoid

5 Social Media Mistakes to Avoid

One of my readers asked me to blog what I did to grow my blog thus far so this post if for that person. I will use boxing as an analogy because 1) the road to mastery is not so different and 2) an analogy always helps, doesn’t it? It does for me at least.

Here are 5 social media mistakes to avoid that I made but you don’t have to!


1. It Doesn’t Happen Overnight

We’ve all heard about bloggers who seem to be huge overnight (ok, perhaps not overnight but within one year of blogging) and the inevitable reaction is, “I must be doing something wrong!”

There are no shortcuts my friends, in boxing, or in growing your social media or blogging audience. At least for mere mortals.

For boxing, the building block is jump roping with a goal of 15 minutes for a warm up. That seems like a lofty goal. Jumping for two minutes with frequent entanglements was a huffing and puffing challenge for me. But now, I set a clock and just try  for 15 minutes. I can’t do it continuously. But it’s amazing how much you can improve if you just log in 15 minutes three times a week.

Johnny from ExpertBoxing gave advice that was  helpful. Johnny said, “You need to be able to jump rope for 15 minutes as a warm up and it’s gonna totally suck [as a beginner.] Don’t worry. Just log in the time and you will improve.”

That advice really freed me up to know it’s ok to be bad at it. And that practice is the key.

Likewise in blogging, start with quality. Focus on two things: 1) the quality of your content around an overarching theme and 2) building relationships one person at a time. This balance is, I think, the key to success.

Mistake #1: Not balancing building content with building relationships. If you build it, they will come, right? WRONG! Instead of posting 7 to 10 times a week (frantically and with questionable quality), I SHOULD have posted 3 or 4 times a week and used the other time building relationships via social media.

Instead, I did frantic posting and used my social media to shoot out my posts. LOOK AT ME is not a good way to go. Instead of one way Tweeting, I should have taken the same amount of time to tweet back, retweet, and otherwise engage in conversation. Ditto for all other social media platforms.

2. Practice, Practice, Practice

Just like improving my boxing through regular jump rope practice, I also needed to improve my social media interactions platform by platform. Each platform — Pinterest, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google +, Sulia etc. and phew! — has subtle differences and using each one effectively is a matter of much trial and error and/or study.

Growing your social media like improving your boxing skills takes dedicated practice. But, it can be overwhelming where to begin and what to do. There are just so many different aspects.

And even more daunting is to keep up a steady stream of content onto each platform on a regular basis.

My advice is to create a routine and then stick to it every day. Consider it a daily drill. I think my daily drill will be different from yours simply because we probably like different social media platforms and have grown our social media relationships in different ways. I think the key here is consistency. Figure out what works for you and just keep doing it. Do this platform by platform. I know it’s easier said than done!

Mistake #2: Using the same message from one social media platform to the next. I used to cut and paste my tweet into Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media platforms. It seemed very efficient. But no, each platform is different so the messaging needs to be different!


3. Instructional Videos Really Do Help!

When I first started boxing, I was enamoured with the speed bag. My boxing trainer gave us a quick lesson so we could try it out, but I wanted to see how a really good boxer worked the speed bag so I did a search and discovered Manny Pacquiao. Pound for pound, he’s considered the best boxer ever.

I watch videos of Manny Pacquiao training both for technique and for inspiration. Here he is hitting the speed bag. Can I hit the speed bag like Manny? No, but I’m working on his technique of hitting the speed bag — you see how he flips his hands as he alternates between hands? You hit with the side of your fist and then the back of your fist, and then do the other side while keeping that same 1-2-3 rhythm of the bag. He also hits the bag with single strokes — I can’t do that yet (and it’s very frustrating!).

My boxing trainer showed me how to do this but only because I told him I wanted to learn to do this. And I wouldn’t have known if I hadn’t seen Manny on the speed bag.

It’s amazing how much you can self teach yourselves these days using videos! I learned Search Engine Optimization (SEO) from my SEO consultant Vanita Cyril*. Vanita would give me advice on changes I needed to make on my blog, but I just could not understand what she said via email. I’m just not technical enough. Eventually, she made a series of training videos and for a small fee, I watched them. All of them. And then fixed the egregious errors in my blog. I didn’t set up my social buttons correctly. I didn’t know how to use H1, H2 or H3 headings AT ALL. Keywords were confusing to me. How many? Too many? Not enough?

I found Holly Homer’s Blogpreneur video series to be incredibily helpful. I especially liked her video interviewing Melissa Taylor of Imagination Soup on how she built her success as a teacher to blogger to Pinterest expert to entrepreneur. For both inspiration and helpful information, I encourage you to learn from fellow bloggers.

Mistake #3: Using trial and error as my instructor instead of  fellow bloggers! Learn from other bloggers whether it’s a video series that you pay for or just from reading their posts or watching their videos. Everyone is willing to share and you can save a lot of trial and error learning by taking time to seek out instructional videos.



4. Getting Advice is Different From Executing Said Advice

My boxing trainer says that training is different from being in the ring. You can be amazing at every boxing drill but toast in the ring. One needs to be applied to the other but it’s not so simple or easy to execute. I do a lot of drills of what to do when someone is throwing a punch at my head. I do blocking drills. And slipping drills. And ducking drills. But in the ring, I’m often frozen with indecision or  trying to both block and duck at the same time which isn’t pretty or effective.

Likewise, the mantras of social media bear repeating. Social media is a conversation. I learned that in the early days when I first started blogging yet this simple message still bears repeating even though I’ve been blogging for five years now.

It also took time to realize that I need to be promoting other people’s content via my social media. It takes time to find your “tribe” but well worth the effort. Use the 80/20 rule to promote other great content 80% of the time to 20% of your own.

Mistake #4: Not making every social media interaction a conversation. It easier said that done because it’s very time consuming but in the long run, it’s the road to success. And use that conversation to promote other great content of bloggers that you love and support. Because guess what? They will support you back!


5. Apps and Blog Tools Worth the Money

Getting the right jump rope at the mere cost of $12 was worth every penny. Likewise, getting a few helpful apps can really help. These are the apps that I am paying for:

CommentLuv . Why? It threads my comments so it’s easier to follow the conversation and it gets rid of the spam comments. The unpaid version crashed my site, by the way.

Buffer App. Oh my god. Why did I wait? I lost tons of Twitter followers by piling up tweets since I am only on Twitter once a day, trying to reply to all my tweets. The buffer apps let’s me spread my tweets out. I used the free version but I really needed the unlimited buffer capability of the paid version. Once I finally did, my ratio of new followers to unfollowers improved tremendously.

PicMonkey. If you use Pinterest (and I highly suggest that you do), PicMonkey is how to make those amazing graphic images that get repinned. There’s a free version but the paid version has the templates suited for Pinterest and the popular fonts.

Rafflecopter. I’m using the paid version to run my giveaways. I am not sure of the differences between the paid and unpaid version but I really love the feature that lets me show my winner on the Rafflecopter itself. Before that, I had to update each post with the winner and announce it on Twitter and Facebook.

MaxCDN. My SEO consultant had me use MaxCDN to improve my blog’s load speed. That’s really important for Google SEO. I have no idea how to do it and I think it’s tricky to install correctly. I just had her do it and I would recommend that for anyone who needs faster blog load speed. Tell Vanita I sent you and she’ll take care of you!

Just Unfollow. I would not have 51,000 Twitter followers with Just Unfollow. It makes it easy (no carpal tunnel!) to follow and unfollow on Twitter.

Mistake #5: Not spending can really cost you.

Catherine asked me to rate my apps in case you just want to buy a few. I would say (but it also depends on what social media you use) ….

1) MaxCDN if your blog has load speed issues. You want your blog to load in under 2 seconds; faster is better and will be rewarded by more SEO traffic. It’s the pricest, but it’s worth it if you blog loads slowly. You can test load speed time using Pingdom (for free).

2) PicMonkey would be my next investment but you have to be heavily time invested in Pinterest for it to be worth it. Pinterest is the number one referral for me and lots of bloggers so I would spend time on both Pinterest and in PicMonkey in order to make images that get repinned.

3) Buffer App is worth the money if you tweet excessively like I do. If you tweet frequently from your smart phone which spreads out your tweets, you don’t need this. But I tweet in one fell swoop so spreading out my tweets keeps me from pissing off my followers.

I hope my mistakes will help you in your blogging journey. What social media advice would you give? Please share! Thank you!

5 social media mistakes to avoid

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By Mia Wenjen, PragmaticMom


  1. Awesome post, Mia! Quite timely as from now until the New Year, I’m working on schooling myself in social media so I feel I have more of a handle on it. #2 is the big focus for me first off. Yep, guilty of that as well as a few others. Sometimes it is easy to get overwhelmed with it all. We must keep that jump rope going. 🙂
    Cool Mom recently posted…Almost Wordless Wednesday Writing Prompt: Happy Thanksgiving!My Profile

    • Hi Cool Mom,
      Thanks so much! Glad you found it helpful! Sigh…there is so much to learn for blogging and SEO. It feels like an uphill slog and it’s hard to look back to say, wow!, we’ve learned so much! I always liken it to drinking out of a firehose!! Happy Thanksgiving and thanks for the jump rope reference! I really enjoyed that! 🙂
      Pragmatic Mom recently posted…5 Social Media Mistakes to AvoidMy Profile

  2. Dee

    I agree, this is an awesome post. I’ve pretty much abandoned blogging for the moment because life is just too full at the moment, but one day I do hope to get back to it. Hopefully these tips won’t be old by the time I finally get there!
    Dee recently posted…We can rebuild him. He is the Six Billion Star Man.My Profile

  3. Great post. I am blogging mostly for fun, but I am still trying to “improve my game” and increase my audience. I certainly agree with you on an overarching theme, and I think that once you establish that, like you did, you can also afford to digress on other topics occasionally.
    Natalie recently posted…Celebrating HanukkahMy Profile

    • Hi Natalie,
      I think an overarching theme is the key and I worried that I blogged to widely. Luckily, Jeanette from Artchoo! and I were Skyping about collaboration ideas and she said I was consistent enough. It is so helpful to have other bloggers at your back. Their perspective is so helpful, especially one that reads your blog regularly. We were able to give each other helpful advice based on our knowledge of each other’s blogs as readers, and as bloggers. Setting up a blogging support group would be a fun way to learn too! It could be done virtuallly too via Google Hangouts or Skype. (Just thinking aloud to myself …)
      Pragmatic Mom recently posted…5 Social Media Mistakes to AvoidMy Profile

  4. Kay

    My social media tip is to not forget the social aspect.

    When someone follows me on Twitter the first thing I do is check their stream. If all they have are promotional tweets and I don’t see any RTs or @s, then I don’t follow back. Get to know someone before you shove your product down their throat.

    As for Rafflecopter, I’ve been using the free version for over a year and it does allow you to post the winner to the widget. The main differences between the paid and unpaid versions is that the paid version has no Rafflecopter branding, allows viral sharing, and allows email signup as an entry form.

    I’m also a huge CommentLuv fan. I use the free version and haven’t had any problems.
    Kay recently posted…Celebrity Chat: Hunnie Brasco of L.A. Derby DollsMy Profile

    • Thanks so much Kay,
      I had some issue with Rafflecopter at some point, and thought it was because I was using the unpaid version so I just paid for it hoping it would fix it. It was some technical glitch. But I didn’t know the difference between paid and unpaid. That was really helpful. Thanks!

      Good advice on Twitter stream too! Glad you are not having CommentLuv issues with the free version. Not sure what my problem was, but when I disabled it, my blog worked.
      Pragmatic Mom recently posted…5 Social Media Mistakes to AvoidMy Profile

  5. Catherine

    Great tips, Mia! Thanks! That’s interesting about spending. Which areas do you suggest spending money on, Mia?
    Catherine recently posted…Happy Thanksgiving!My Profile

  6. All excellent advice, Mia. I loooooove buffer, too. I haven’t upgraded to the paid version but I am going to install the paid version of Next Scripts, which will also post to Pinterest and G+. Send me an email and we can do a hangout about picmonkey if you want. Maybe you can be my guinea pig!
    Erica recently posted…Game of the Month: SumokuMy Profile

  7. Great advice. I still need get on PicMonkey.
    iGameMom recently posted…Free Apps: 3 Free Creative Apps for Kids from LazooMy Profile

  8. I’ve been using the free versions of both picmonkey and fotor lately. Haven’t decided which one I like better yet – enjoying them both so far.
    Cool Mom recently posted…Almost Wordless Wednesday Writing Prompt: Happy Thanksgiving!My Profile

  9. Great list – am reviewing it and taking notes!
    Amanda recently posted…Resist the Urge to Impulse Buy Cheep Holiday GiftsMy Profile

  10. Amanda C.

    This is great – very helpful. Thanks! I re-tweeted!

  11. Ann

    Thanks for all your tips and tools. I like how you compared it to boxing. I think it is a good technique for envisioning success. I know I could be better on social media. I just can’t seem to fit it all in! I have been making some progress with FB I think but you are right, Pinterest is best for referring. I should spend more time there. I keep meaning to read Melissa Taylor’s book! I am a little disheartened. Recently my Google traffic vanished and I can’t figure out why. Google is such a mystery.
    Ann recently posted…Bamboo iPhone Case ReviewMy Profile

    • Hi Ann,
      I think you are doing a superlative job juggline it all. You work full time, have 2 kids, and have a great blog. Not to mention the children’s book challenge you are doing! I think your time should be spend on developing your children’s book concepts because you are so talented and contacts matter in this world.

      As for your Google traffic … there was a major new release I vaguely heard. Just wait a few weeks and it will come back. In the meantime, just keep posting on your usual schedule. Use key words around board books, picture books, books for toddlers, books for babies, etc. since I think your first published book will be a board book.

      You are well on your way to something very successful and fulfilling. I can just feel it!
      Pragmatic Mom recently posted…50% Off Classic Board Games!My Profile

  12. THANK YOU! This is such a helpful post 😉 thanks for sharing via Mommy Monday!
    P.S Pinning this 😉

  13. Mia,


    I have some confusion. Should we be using Just Unfollow or not? I was confused by your comment.

    You should take this with a grain of salt, cause I am just coming up to my 1 year in February but i have learned some very important lessons.

    1. I remember reading posts about how people grew their blogs overnight with pinterest. I furiously followed their advice and… well. Haha! Not the instant success I had hoped.

    What I learned: Just because one thing works for one person doesn’t mean it will work for all. Anything worth having is worth working for.

    2. Blogging is hard work – no way around it. It is very very difficult – just like most things in life. Just because you can do it in your PJ’s doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy. You really need to be dedicated and invest in it if you want it (time and money) if you want it to grow. Yes, I also learned that nothing comes for free. You gotta put in the work – for more than a year apparently). Haha! Oh boy. Sometimes it’s difficult to see the fruits of labor, isn’t it?

    I loved your comment about fostering relationships. So important. Just because one has a huge social media doesn’t mean their blog is doing well. It’s the entire package. You gotta visit blogs, interact with people, show the love, appreciate the love that’s returned back to you. Appreciate every single opportunity that’s blessed upon you – and take advantage of those opportunities and turn them into something bigger and better.

    You gotta stick your neck out there and take some chances (I think – still evaluating this). You gotta or else you will stay in the same place. You can’t be afraid of failure or change.

    Sounds like life, doesn’t it?

    Thanks so much for this lovely post – and excellent conversation!

    BTW, comment love is the bomb! Best money I spent. Thanks for the app suggestions. Honestly, I have no idea what you are talking about so I have to look into them.
    Lisa Nelson recently posted…The ABC of Australian Animals – A Kids Yoga Story Review and GiveawayMy Profile

    • Hi Lisa,
      You bring up an excellent point! It is everything thing that you do that helps you grow your blog and each path to success (however it is defined) is unique. It is also a good point that not every social media platform works for everyone; sometimes it’s timing, othertimes it’s what you are naturally suited for.

      In terms of Pinterest, it is the number one referral social media platform for most bloggers that I know HOWEVER the window for getting tons of new followers closed about 5 or 6 months ago. The reason? There was a year to year and a half window where Pinterest was growing followers like nobody’s business and when you are new to a platform and looking for people to follow, you were willing to try out new pinners. However, as people found pinners they liked or discovered that Pinterest is not where they want to spend their time, getting new followers was no longer so easy.

      A year ago, I could pin 10 pins a day at one time, mostly repins and get 600 new followers that day. Now, if I pin 10 pins (all new pins) spread out during the day, I may get 1 or 2 new followers. It’s that dramatic a difference.

      Being an early adopter of social media platforms is a risky gamble. Will this platform take off? Is it worth my time? The smart money bloggers are spending their time NOW on Google +. This is here to stay and growing a large following is up for grabs. If you spend 15 minutes a day on a new platform, I’d pick this one for you Lisa.

      As for Just Unfollow, it’s specifically for growing Twitter followers though there is a version for Instagram. This allows you to unfollow people who don’t follow you back so you have room to follow new followers who might follow you back. Is it worth it? It depends if you want to grow a very specific demographic because Just Unfollow makes it a little easier to identify and follow without getting carpal tunnel from repetitive motion.

      But is Twitter worth building a bigger following on? It is typically a blogger’s smallest referral of traffic. I like Twitter because it helps me figure out what my audience is interested in. If you get retweets for a post right away, you know it might go viral. Not so many, it’s not a popular topic. From a marketing perspective, it’s like a free focus group (but that is just me). It’s also easy to meet people, especially perhaps a particular blogger, author etc that you might want access too. Note that Google + aficionados say the exact same thing.

      If you were to grow one platform, I’d suggest Google +. You have 4200 followers so you have a decent Twitter presence. I’d say it’s about your social media preferences.

      Hope this helps!
      Pragmatic Mom recently posted…50% Off Classic Board Games!My Profile

    • Lisa – FANTASTIC response and you are right… what works for one person won’t work for another. It also depends on what your goal is in blogging, too. 🙂

      Mia – thanks for the response, too. It is funny 4 years ago I was a whiz at FB and highly recommended it. On a whim I’ve been trying twitter and I’m shocked with the changes in FB in the last few years, most of the referrals come through twitter to S&K’s blog. It has shown me where to focus time, although, I don’t have the patience.

      I also wonder about the whole unfollow thing. I don’t know, I’m not a big fan of the whole, “If you don’t follow me, I won’t follow you” mentality.

      Just because I’m interested in following someone doesn’t mean they’d want to follow my account and vice versa and I’m okay with that. I also don’t want curse words coming through the stream and such – and will unfollow people who retweet stuff like that, who are cruel and unkind – I don’t like to read garbage when there is so much great stuff online. I ALSO, have a unique situation where I am dealing with a young daughter who I work and sees much of what is followed so if someone retweets garbage b/c they are automatically doing that – we unfollow.

      Google + I’m still slowly getting into but honestly, I almost keep forgetting it is there – how bad is that? Maybe I’ll spend more time on that in the future, per your recommendation, Mia.

      This is a great post and an interesting comment thread!
      Cool Mom recently posted…Word of the Week: Stanley is not FRAGRANT in the morning.My Profile

      • Thanks so much Lisa and Cool Mom,
        I generally follow back followers who are my potential audience which is to say that I follow back pretty broadly. This is not a strategy for everyone as your Twitter stream becomes overwhelming. I manage this by mostly responding to direct tweets (and even that can be overwhelming as I am about 6 days behind right now as I type).

        Some people prefer to follow a more limited number of tweeps and read most of their tweets. I guess it’s personal preference. In terms of more Twitter referral traffic, I would hazard to guess that following more and getting more follows would yield more referrals.

        To grow your Twitter following, what has worked for me it to follow other bloggers’ Twitter followers with a similar audience to see if they’d consider me. I would follow up to the the limit that Twitter sets, maybe 900 or a thousand tweeps at a time. After about 5 days, I would unfollow anyone who didn’t follow me back and do the same thing again. This is the unfollow/follow strategy that I worked for me to build my Twitter following. If you are very consistent with this, you will grow your followers pretty steadily.

        Note that the follow/unfollow does NOT work for all social media platforms. It doesn’t work very well for Pinterest. It works reasonably well for LinkedIn and Google +.

        Hope this helps!
        Pragmatic Mom recently posted…50% Off Classic Board Games!My Profile

  14. I just came across your blog via the Mommy Monday Blog Hop. This is a fantastic post and I will come to it later in the day as well to read even more closely. I am still fairly new to the mama blog world and there is so much to learn, read and so many wonderful people to meet. Thanks!

  15. You’ve got some great advice and tips here.

    As for PicMonkey, I discovered it not too long ago, and you’re right it’s fabulous!

    I co-hosted Fun Friday last week. Thank you for linking up!

  16. I’ve saved this post as it’s so so helpful. Thank you. And thank you. I’ve fallen in love with blogging since launching my blog in May but I’m still on a massive learning curve. Having sound advice from a site likes yours that I absolutely admire and respect is just what I needed.
    Kriss MacDonald recently posted…Kids Company Christmas Appeal – Give them some love!My Profile

    • Thanks so much Kriss!
      I feel the same way in that I’m on a massive learning curve too! I think the fun (and relentless) thing about blogging is that there is so much to learn and it keeps changing so quickly with new social media platforms and new Google algorhythms. I’m finally learning to just ignore the new Google search algorhythms and just blog, focusing on creating content that I’m proud of (especially when I scroll back through my blog for several months — it’s painful to look at posts from the very beginning!).

      Blogging is wonderful and I’m so glad you are enjoying it Kriss!
      Pragmatic Mom recently posted…Wonder is Wonderful for Teaching Kids CompassionMy Profile

  17. Hi, Mia!

    I included a link to this post in my latest personal blog post. I’ve referred to this post and the notes below it a few times and want to thank you again for sharing your lessons learned. Have a fantastic week ahead!
    Cool Mom recently posted…Inspire Me Monday: Menu Planning PrintablesMy Profile

  18. This post was really! Thanks for sharing this advice. It is a vast, wild, world out there on the internet. It is nice to have found some friends along the way. 😉
    Jenny recently posted…Put Me in the Zoo and Poker Chip PlayMy Profile

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