In the past fifty years, the way that businesses advertise themselves has changed drastically, and a lot of it has to do with social media. While you might still see commercials on TV or hear ads on the radio, many companies have begun spreading the word through social media. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are visited by millions of people each day, and if used correctly, these sites can make all the difference. However, it can be incredibly easy to misuse these sites too — so, what are some major mistakes businesses make with social media?
1. Ignoring Social Media Completely
If you’re unsure of how social media works, it can be easy to say, “Well, I just won’t use it. I’ll stick with what I know.” Unfortunately, just because you’re ignoring social media doesn’t mean it disappears. And, while you’re not advertising on social media, your competitors are. It will be their name and ads is what will be seen by potential clients/customers — not yours.
2. Having an Undifferentiated Strategy
With so many social media sites out there, it might seem like a time-saver to just write the same things or share the same pictures on all your platforms. This is a big mistake. If people see the exact same photo/message on every single platform they visit, they might get tired and lose interest.
Besides that, every social media channel is different! They are developed for totally different purposes and people use them differently. A better idea is to use each platform for what they are intended to be used for: share images of people using your product on Instagram, post videos on Facebook and talk about new products and services on Twitter.
Doing this will give people a reason to follow you on every site instead of just one. (Plus, they’ll always feel like they’re seeing something new from you.)
If you’ve ever tried to follow a company on social media and found they have several separate pages or accounts, you know frustrating this can be — and why it might not be a good business practice. Regardless of what each account does or where it all links to, keep it simple and don’t create multiple accounts for one company.
Focus your resources on creating traffic and getting followers for one page. And, if you do decide to change accounts, don’t leave your inactive accounts online–the last thing you want is people following an account you don’t even post on.
This is also an important consideration if your business has multiple locations or is a franchised business. Best practice is NOT to have multiple social media accounts unless the business is highly location-specific in its products and service offering & if you have a different target market. Otherwise, it is always better to have 1 central account.
4. Not Filling the Profile Out Completely
Although it may seem tedious, make sure you always fill out the profile page completely. Sometimes, small businesses offer little or vague information about themselves, and it can cause a potential customer to click off. Be sure to include key components about what you offer, contact information and your vision.
5. No Personality & Talking Too Much About Yourself
A great way to keep people interested and visiting your website is to give your brand a personality. Don’t just talk about your business does — show real-life situations where your small business has made an impact. Post about your vision and goal behind your company, and try to relate to the people that want to buy from you.
Another related mistake is that businesses often get caught up talking about themselves. It’s good to have personality and show off your organization, but you must always relate it to your customer. Take a moment to think about why your customers will care about your post on social media and what will get their attention.
Social media is just that — it’s about being social! So that means having a conversation with people, not talking at them. And let’s be honest – no one enjoys listening to someone talk only about themselves. That’s a quick way to get people to stop following you.
6. Posting Content For the Sake of Posting Content
Some marketing experts will tell you that you should post all the time, but unless your content is spectacular every single time, people will just scroll by without giving it a thought. Instead, focus on creating quality, interesting content that people will want to see.
Creating good content can be challenging. That’s why you need a good content strategy and a plan to create that content (or have it created by other people) so that you always have good content to share online. If you need help creating content, feel free to reach out to us for content development services.
7. Irregular Posting
Although you shouldn’t be posting content to post content, you also don’t want to fall into the trap of irregular posting. If you don’t update your page on a regular basis, your followers may seek out fresh content on a competitor’s account. Not to mention, if you don’t post often, you also may not leave the best impression on anyone who visits your page.
We recommend that you come up with a schedule for posting and try to stick to it as much as you can. The great thing about social media is that there are many scheduling and management tools out there for nearly every platform. That means you can load your content in advance and set it to be published on a regular schedule. How often you choose to post will depend on your industry and how much content you have available, but the important thing is to be consistent and keep it fresh as much as you can.
8. Not Linking Your Posts Properly
Linking all your posts to the same place may seem like a good idea, but it can appear “spammy” to your followers. It’s okay to include links, but make sure what you’re linking to the correct place and the link is relevant to the post. Also, do NOT put a call to action to visit your website at the end of every social media post. It looks like you are trying way too hard and comes off spammy.
Lastly, double-check all of your links to make sure they work properly and show up correctly. For example, Facebook pulls in metadata from a linked webpage — typically displaying a featured image, title, and description nicely within the Facebook feed. However, if you don’t have this information set up properly on your website that it may not look good on Facebook. For example, maybe the featured image it is pulling is blurry or incorrect.
9. Ignoring Your Audience
Any good business — big or small — needs to be good at listening to what their fans and followers have to say. Respond to their questions and feedback (both positive and negative) is extremely important on social media. Interacting with your followers gives your brand a personal touch, and shows that you truly care about your customers and that you want to build a relationship with them. This relationship-building is what will ultimately lead to trust in your brand.
10. Stretching Yourself a Little Too Thin (Being Present on All Platforms)
Posting content regularly and responding to your followers takes a lot of time. And while it is important for a business to secure all the social media handles for their business across all platforms, it may not be possible for a business to fully support every social media channel.
For a small business social media account with limited resources, staying present on the web is an even bigger challenge. Rather than trying to be on several platforms at once, start slow: take on one platform at a time, and don’t feel bad if you aren’t able to keep up with accounts on more than one or two platforms. We recommend prioritizing social media channels where your customers are most active first and build it up strong with solid content and posting strategy. Then you can shift your focus to build other platforms.
11. Not Responding To Comments
Remember, communication with your audience is important. Responding to comments is not only a great way to foster a relationship with customers, but it also encourages other followers to comment and interact with your posts since they know you’ll respond. So yes, it may be a lot of work…but you should make it a goal to respond to every single comment on your platforms!
12. Not Showing the Human Interaction Behind Your Company
Showing your products or services is great, but don’t forget to show the faces behind your business: post about your employees, the lives you’ve impacted and your experiences. Doing this will help people relate to you. And again, that is what social media is all about — building those relationships so you don’t just look like another brand offering a product. In this way, social media is fantastic at giving you the ability to set yourself apart from your competition and build that relationship, which can lead to trust and loyalty in the long-run.
13. Not Selling Enough or Selling Too Much
Let’s be honest, most people are on social media to kill time or just be entertained. We use social media not just to chat with others, but as a way to escape. The last thing that people want to see is an in-your-face advertisement or an annoying sales pitch. If you use your page or account to constantly try and sell your product, they’re bound to get annoyed and unfollow you.
Instead, use your page as a way to interact with customers and build your brand. While you’re interacting with the community and raising awareness, you still won’t talk about your product and what it does–just make sure your page is balanced between personality and advertising. Make people feel like you want to help them first and build that trust, then you will have the opportunity to sell to them later.
Don’t Make These Mistakes on Social Media
Tackling social media can be daunting, but social media is not a “fad” and it’s only going to become more important. Those who learn to use social media in the proper ways will be able to build some of the strongest brands out there and will be leaps and bounds ahead of their competitors who do not.
* Want To Learn More About How to Use Social Media? Check out our eCourse and become a social media pro!
** Would you prefer to let someone else take the social media burden off your shoulders? No worries, we can help you out with our social media management services!