I know how to kill a social media campaign. Believe me. And because of that, I've learned that avoiding just a few little mistakes can turn a social media presence into a magical tool for lead generation. Avoid these same mistakes and it could do the same for you. Mistake #1: Being the "Real You" Let's begin with the most contentious truism — social media is not meant to be a glass house for you to move into and enjoy the spiritual freedom of utter transparency. Strange that it needs to be said, but we see advice to be "authentic" all the time, especially with regard to our online profiles. Let's not be naive. People do not want to see the real you. They want the truth, of course, but social media is not meant to provide deep human connection. The video below gives an honest, yet skillfully edited explanation of exactly this. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c6Bkr_udado&feature=share Being honest does not mean baring your guts. Be truthful, be wise, and give your audience what they really want. Mistake #2: Being "Professional" It's a mistake to be too transparent, but being too professional is the other extreme and perhaps even more hurtful to your attempts to connect with your audience. When we browse through Twitter or Google+, we're not looking for dry, and we're not looking for formal. When we follow a company, what we're asking is to hear them talk as if they're a human being. A carefully controlled level of informality in a big company can take away their grey, faceless veneer, and allow us to at least feel like we can chat to them and be heard. Click here to see some big companies doing it right. Mistake #3: Thinking Attention Equals Money If you can't get attention, it doesn't matter how good your sales funnel is. BUT a lot of social media advice ignores what to do with that attention once you have it. If you can't convert attention into sales, it doesn't matter how much attention you get. You can shout as loudly as you like, you'll still go broke. There's another way. Put social media in its place, as a great tool for the first step, as a tireless lead-generating machine, and be sure you're spending enough time doing something useful with all that attention. Mistake #4: Trusting External Platforms with Your Future You have no control over the platform. It could disappear tomorrow. It doesn't have to be a big disastrous catastrophe that make other people's platforms a pain, either. It can be the little things that cause hassle. Nathan Barry made $12,000 on the first day of launching his book on app development, and he did it on his own site. No Amazon Kindle store, no Apple iBooks, not even any Kobo. His reason? He found that when someone bought an app of his off the App Store, all he knew about them was that they lived in America. He could't even follow up and say thanks. He didn't want that for his book. A lead created through another person's platform is still the "property" of that platform, until you convince that person to step over the line of separation and buy into your brand by signing up to your email list or becoming a customer. Mistake #5: Not Tracking Your Metrics Luke Chitwood, writer and blogger at The Next Web, defined the following as your most important social media metrics: • Reach (audience growth rate) • Engagement (click-throughs, retweets, shares) • Acquisition (return visitor frequency rate) • Conversion (on-page activity of visitors) • Customer Acquisition Cost (how much each conversion cost you) If you're serious about making an impact through social media, these 5 metrics should be written on your bedroom wall. This is a serious game that could make or break your business. It's likely that to get a good return, you'll have put in a good investment, and how will you be able to test different approaches if you're not recording every aspect of the results? So many people miss this because it seems like metric tracking is baked right into the platforms themselves. It's easy to see how many followers, friends, or plussers you have at any given time, but that's only skin deep. With proper tracking of these metrics and testing of different approaches, you can know if your efforts are producing sales, or only likes. Mistake #6: Planting 10 Fingers in 10 Different Pies Time and time again I was given advice that I simply didn't want to hear: Just pick one social media platform and master it. Just one?? I didn't care that it was successful online business owners who were telling me this, I felt a an almost irresistible urge to get myself and my brand on all of them. Who wants to leave opportunity on the table, right? It's the same fear that is brought up by the discussion of picking a niche. The truth is, a laser beam is more likely to penetrate a wall than even the most powerful flood light. If you want to break through, be the laser beam. Mistake #7: Forgetting a Pinch of Salt Social media is full of people who talk a lot about social media. It's similar to blogging in that respect. It can become an echo-chamber. Social media is one critical part of a larger process of online success. It shouldn't take up all of your time, and it doesn't need to. Just remember this mantra: Post things that will make your audience members look good to their friends if they share it.