Common Social Media Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
If you’re a small business owner, you likely already know about the importance of social media. Regardless if you sell cupcakes or extermination services, your customers are going to expect to find your business on social. And using social media is technically free, so realizing success through social should be easy, right?
If only. More often than not, I’ve noticed that many small businesses that are active on social media aren’t using it wisely. They’re not receiving great engagement or generating leads, and they’re not exactly sure why it’s not working for them.
Thankfully, the reason why is pretty easy to answer. You’re likely making the same mistakes that many other small businesses are with their social media presence.
So, what can you do differently? Identify your biggest social media mistakes and do something different! Below, we discuss the most common social blunders and how to fix them.
Inconsistency Across Accounts
When your customers choose to follow you on social media, they’re looking for certain content to expect from your brand. If you visit the social accounts of major brands and companies, you’ll see that they employ a specific framework to determine the type of content to post. For example, the consumer products brand Dove posts content that celebrates and empowers women of all ages and body types.
You will also need to consider how your content is formatted. Your strategy should vary by channel. Instagram is generally easy as all content on that platform is visual. To create consistency, it’s recommended to do more than just post random images. Try using community hashtags such as #FollowFriday or post a video every Tuesday, for example.
When it comes to Facebook, more content formats are available. Along with images, you can also share recorded or live videos, graphics, and written content. A good tip to ensure consistency is to post similar types of content on the same day throughout the week. For example, you could share infographics on Mondays, blog posts on Tuesdays, videos on Wednesdays, etc.
When considering consistency, you also need to manage how often you post as well. I would recommend setting up a dedicated social media calendar and planning out your content and posts in advance. By doing so, you can ensure your posts will be published even if you wind up stuck in a meeting or find yourself otherwise too busy to create content for the day.
Neglecting Your Followers
Are you consistently responding to comments on your posted content from your followers? If the answer is no or if you only find yourself responding to complaints or issues, you need to rethink your strategy.
Your followers want to be noticed. When they elect to follow a brand’s social account, they enjoy knowing that the brand and its representatives read their replies and care enough to engage back with them.
Help build loyalty to your brand by replying to direct messages and comments shared by your followers. You can also look to share content that they’ve posted if you deem it appropriate to do so. And just because a customer complains doesn’t mean you can’t turn it into a positive experience. If you’re able to respond and resolve complaints on social, your followers will likely share their positive experiences with friends and family.
Not Taking Advantage of Available Tools
Each social media platform offers a variety of tools and resources to help you better engage with your audience. For example, Facebook Insights can present you with detailed data to help determine Facebook-specific information, including:
- What time of day is best to post content?
- Which types of content generate the most engagement?
- Who makes up your audience?
- The locations of your followers
Another tool you can utilize is Facebook’s Creator Studio, which will allow you to schedule posts across both Facebook and Instagram. If you haven’t yet checked out the social media tools at your disposal, take the time to browse the platforms and see what’s available to you.
Not Using the Right Social Media Sites
It’s certainly understandable if you do not have the resources to actively engage and post on every social media platform. But don’t fret, because in most cases, that’s not necessary. Instead, you should be focusing your efforts on researching which social platforms your audience uses the most.
If your brand’s target audience skews older, you might look to invest most of your social marketing on Facebook. If you’re targeting Gen Z, you should seriously consider launching your brand on TikTok. Websites such as Statista have the available data to help you find the right platforms.
Once you realize which platforms your audience uses most, you can confidently disable any social accounts that aren’t effective in order to focus on the ones that are.
Skirting Platform Rules
It’s a mistake that happens more than you may know. Every social media website has its own published content rules. A simple example is Twitter’s 280-character limit for tweets. This is, of course, a simple rule to follow since Twitter will limit the number of characters of a single tweet, however, mistakes are still made.
Social media rules may be quite strict or they may be part of standard site practices. For example, there are strict rules around using a personal Facebook page for a business. If Facebook perceives that an account is violating its terms, it can take action and ban the account. If you’re going to be promoting your small business on Facebook, you will need to create a business account.
When it comes to standard practices, using links on Instagram is a good example. Instagram only allows live links to your business’ website on your Instagram profile. They do not permit links in image captions. While this isn’t an ideal policy, you should be sure that you are optimizing your posts for Instagram already.
If you were to type a link into an image caption, your followers wouldn’t be able to click it. Unless you’re using a shortened URL, it shouldn’t be in a caption. Standard practices also apply to other items such as how many hashtags are permitted. Following Instagram’s rules will help get your content in front of your audience and encourage engagement.
Not Allocating Marketing Spend to Social
Lastly, if you consider social media to be a free marketing tactic while also resenting the millions of followers that some brands have, then you need to take a hard look at what it really takes to be successful on social.
Years ago, Facebook altered its algorithm to show more content from people rather than businesses in organic newsfeeds, which is where you typically see posts from family and friends.
By setting aside a social media promotion budget and choosing to run ads, you’ll ensure that you can reach your followers with your best content and generate engagement. Your budget doesn’t have to be huge. Start small and see how it goes.
I suggest starting out with an investment between $50 – $100 to promote a post or two or to run a specific promotion on your page. It may take some practice and a few iterations to perfect your audience targeting. When running ads, always be sure to track spend per click or per like.
Social media marketing requires effort. You cannot just “set it and forget it.” By following these recommendations and taking care to avoid the common missteps we discussed here, you’ll see your social engagement and following soar to new heights.