5 Social Media Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make

By Stefanie Neyland, Small Business Content Developer at Bizlaunch.com


You’re officially on the social media bandwagon: everyone has told you that your brand “needs” to be on Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, et cetera, so you’ve set up profiles on each. But now what? You have no clue what you need to do to successfully use social media to get more customers.

The truth is that when it comes to social media for business, there is no exact science—just trial and error. That means that for all businesses—be they large or small— the occasional gaffe, mishap or oversight is pretty unavoidable. Here’s a list of some common social media blunders small businesses are known to make so you can avoid making them.


1. Snubbing social media altogether

Often business owners think they can’t afford to spend time on social media—after all, they have families to feed and a business to run. But the fact of the matter is this: your business can’t afford not to be on social media. For better or worse, whether it increases sales and drives customers to your website or not, you need to have a presence and be active across a range of social channels. It’s a way for your audience to find real-time updates from your brand via search engines (as your profiles will appear there, too), but more importantly, if you’re not there you won’t look ‘with it’, and your competitors will be reaping the benefits of social media and pilfering your potential customers.


2. Not having a strategy

It’s not enough to simply “be on social media.” Without direction, your efforts will be fruitless. Many businesses set up social media accounts simply because they don’t want to be left behind, but then, with no direction, they soon abandon their accounts. That’s why it’s so important to decide on a social media strategy before you dive in. Your strategy might be:


  • To reach your target market where they’re likely to hang out

  • To provide an additional channel or two to extend your reach to new customers

  • To participate in ongoing conversations with consumers

  • To build your brand

  • To get feedback on your products and brand

Once you’ve decided what your aim is, you can start building your social media empire.


3. Having unrealistic goals (or not setting any)

Think carefully about why you’re on social media. Maybe, in all honesty, it’s just because other companies are there and you think you need to be there too, though you’re not sure why. That’s fine—but you need to shift gears and consider what your goals are. Maybe your goals include one or more of the following:


  • To increase traffic to your website or blog

  • To increase brand awareness

  • To increase sales

  • To grow your network


Before you settle on your goal, let me explain a little about social media: it won’t bring overnight success. If you’re looking to increase sales by 50% in a few days—or even a few months—you will most likely fail. It’s more of a snowball effect: you start slow, add followers who then attract more followers, and it grows from there.


4. Not having an editorial calendar

Having an editorial calendar helps keep you organized and on top of your social marketing. In the past, editorial calendars were for, well, editors. Now, they can be used by small businesses to keep a steady flow of great blog posts, as well as updating a brand’s social media profiles. To begin your social media editorial calendar, layout the topics you want to cover for each month from January through December. Then, allow yourself to take 30 minutes out of your day to push content across your chosen channels in the morning, afternoon and evening. With today's technology, you also can also enlist time-saving tools such as Hootsuite. Remember: If you post only product and sales messages, you'll eventually lose your followers since there is no other added value for them. Try and mix up product/service info with industry updates and lifestyle pieces to keep followers engaged.


5. Being in the wrong place

Instead of spreading yourself too thin, focus on the social networks on which your audience spends their time. If you target business professionals, LinkedIn probably makes more sense than Pinterest. Conversely, if you’re targeting bride-to-be’s, Pinterest makes more sense than LinkedIn. The most valuable social networks to your brand will depend entirely on your audience, so be sure to do your homework on your target demographic.


By Andrew Patricio

October 30, 2013