6 Social Media Mistakes & How to Fix Them

Social media and the small business — it’s such a love-hate relationship.

There are times when you can’t live with each other, but then there are others when you can’t live without each other either.

What’s a business owner to do?

If you’re a small business owner, I’m sure you’ve felt frustrated, overwhelmed and even insanely angry with how social media can be.

Trust me — you aren’t alone.

The good news is that you can go from feeling trapped and behind the eight-ball to being in control and coolly confident about your online communities if you know what NOT to do.

That’s right. Everyone is telling you what you MUST be doing on social media but today, I’m going to tell you that there are six social media no-nos or sins. Avoid these and sauce up your presence, giving it that extra edge without it sapping your energy, time, money or grey cells. And if you’re making these mistakes, I’ll tell you how to fix them.

Sound good? Let’s get started.

1. Jump On a Network Without a Plan

Not having a plan or strategy in place is one of the biggest mistakes a business can make with social media. Businesses that learn about a network and quickly sign up, posting left, right and center are going to have problems.

There’s no thought behind the content and as a result, you end up wasting time, getting no engagement and feeling frustrated.

Fix It: Have a social media strategy in place. Know what your goals are for each network, and have an actionable plan to achieve those goals.

2. Self-Promote All. The. Time.

Have you seen those business Facebook pages where every single post has a link to the business’ own site? Yes, I know. I have too.

This is a surefire way to come across as desperate and clueless. Social media is called social for a reason. You need to build relationships with your community.

Imagine this: You go to a party, and the host hands you a business card and turns you away.

How do you feel? Weirded out? Icky even?

That is how your community feels when they come over to your page or feed only to read, “Buy this … buy that…”

Fix It: Your strategy should map out the types of content you’ll be sharing. Use your knowledge of your audience to create a content calendar that’s engaging as well as result-oriented.

3. Do What Everyone Else is Doing

Want to waste time on social media? Just copy everyone else.

Your voice will get lost in the crowd — no one is going to pause to hear you share a message they’ve heard a thousand times before.

This is a massive sin many small businesses commit because social media can be like that. You see your competitor running Facebook ads and you jump on there. Someone else is holding a contest so you want to do one too.

Fix It: Slow down and go back to the basics. Why do people want to know you? What sets you apart from the rest? Use that to make conversation. Let your voice and your values shine.

4.Find All Content Ideas Online

Smartphones and tablets have made it so easy for us to be connected constantly that we’ve forgotten to look up and around us.

If you spend most of your work time scrolling through feeds to find interesting things to share, you’re wasting your time. Period.

Fix It: Find your content ideas from the real world. An article you actually read. A place you visited. Invite your community into your world as a small business and not only will it save you time, it’ll build your relationship with them as well.

5. Consider Buying Followers for Fast Growth

Oh my! This is a BIG one. It’s not usually talked about but I have got to say it. If you’ve ever looked at a big account and thought, Wow, it’s going to take me ages to get there. Let me just buy a few thousand followers. Let me stop you right now.

Never, ever, ever buy followers or fans to grow your presence overnight.

Not only is it hugely unethical, it can also get your accounts shut down and cause you to lose credibility in front of your customers and clients.

Plus, the accounts you buy are generally fake. So you’ll have a big follower base with zero engagement. Not ideal, right?

Fix It: You should have an idea (hopefully!) of who your customer is. Engage with them in whatever way works best for the network you’re on. Create and share interesting content. Be patient and know your followers will come if you remain consistent.

6. Have a Profile That Isn’t Updated

This is another biggie. If you have a profile that doesn’t have a professional, clear photo or logo on it and a well-crafted description, you need to fix it — stat.

This is what most new followers see first thing when they come to your social media profile. You need to pull them in with your description of what you talk about and who you are.

Fit It: You know it. Go ahead and update those profiles and make them sparkle with personality. Create an editorial calendar, and use social media scheduling tools to help you keep your posts recent and relevant.

So, which one of these six social media sins is your small business guilty of?

(Photo by geralt / CC BY)

About the Author: Prerna Malik is the gourmet copywriter and community manager for time-starved entrepreneurs at Content Bistro. She loves crafting great content, building engaged online communities, reading good books and drinking gallons of coffee. Find out what she’s writing or reading currently by following her on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.


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