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5 Common Social Media Mistakes a Lot of Businesses Make – And How to Avoid Them

5 Common Social Media Mistakes a Lot of Businesses Make – And How to Avoid Them

Marketing today is different than in years past. You used to just send potential customers postcards or letters, or market your business on the television or radio but now you have to learn how to use social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter, which may allow you to reach a larger market, but it also increases the likelihood that you could make some profit affecting mistakes.

What mistakes are the most common and, perhaps more importantly, how do you avoid them?

Mistake #1: Selling Your Product or Service

What? Isn’t that why you’re on social media? Kind of but not really. The reason you don’t want to spend all of your time selling your products or service is simple. If you inundate your followers with too many sales pitches, you’re going to get unfriended, unfollowed, or whatever term that is used for “deleted” for the social media accounts that you have.

So, does that mean you can’t sell to them at all? Nope. You can let your followers know about any great deals that you’re offering or keep them up to date on fresh new releases, but do it sparingly. Promotion has its place in social media, but it is a very small place so keep that in mind when you’re posting.

Mistake #2: Not Engaging with Followers

The whole idea behind social media is to be social, so you’re going to want to respond to anyone that takes the time to interact with something that you’ve posted. If you don’t, your followers are going to feel ignored and that isn’t very good for your bottom line.

It only takes a couple of seconds to click on a “like” button or type out a short response but your customer base will appreciate it tremendously. It makes them feel as if you care about them as a person and that will keep them doing business with you. Also, make sure your notifications are set up to alert you when others have given you feedback or otherwise participated with your business so that no one slips through the cracks.

Mistake #3: Only Using the Social Media Account Sporadically

If you only post once a week or less, you’re not doing your business a whole lot of good. You will likely fall of your follower’s radar – giving them plenty of time to follow your competitor instead.

Therefore, you’re going to want to set up a schedule whereby you post at least every day because the more someone sees your name, the more likely it is that they will remember you when they are in need of your particular products or service. Services like HootSuite even allow you to schedule your posts ahead of time so you don’t have to get on each account every day.

Mistake #4: Keeping It All Business

Even though you are on social media for business reasons, that doesn’t mean that your posts should be all “shop talk.” In fact, they should be just the opposite so that your followers get to know who you are, which allows them to get to know, like, and trust you – the three keys to marketing success.

If something funny happened to you at work that day, share it. If there is a quote that you find inspirational, post it for others to see. Let your customer base get to know you personally and it will increase the odds that they’ll do business with you professionally.

Mistake #5: Talking About How Great You Are

Look, everyone likes to hear when someone does something great, but hearing how great you are day in and day out makes you look like a phony and a fake. So, feel free to share your feel-good stories, but if you can do it in a way that the customer looks like the hero or heroine then you’ll get more business in the long run.

For example, recently a young man came into my aunt’s bakery where I work at part time. To make a long story extremely short, we only take cash and he only had a debit card on him, so I paid for his sweets. He came back in two weeks later and repaid me the $2.50 he owed – plus he left me a $17.50 tip. I shared this story on the Facebook page not to say how good I was, but to say how wonderful he was for taking care of his debt when he didn’t need to and going above and beyond. That post was shared more than any other posts on that page!

Social media can work for you or against you. Don’t make these types of mistakes and it will definitely work for you!


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by Christina DeBusk // Freelance writer, author, and small business consultant committed to helping entrepreneurs achieve higher levels of success.

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.