10 Social Media Mistakes Small Businesses Make (and Why They Don’t Work)
Social media. You use it all the time for fun.
But why is it so complicated when you decide to use it for business?
Are there social media mistakes that will ruin all your marketing efforts?
Which one is the best one to use? Facebook is the big one, but “everyone” says their fans never see their posts.
And you gotta “pay to play.” Is it true?
Then there’s Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Linkedin and Youtube (and a few more). Do I need them all? Do I have time for all of them? And can I really make money from social media?
If your attempts at social media marketing have mostly failed, these 10 most common mistakes (and why they’re bad for your business) will get you heading in the right direction… quickly.
Mistake #1: You Turned Over Social Media to an Intern
You might get lucky and find a natural marketing genius in that part time intern (or low-level employee with very little marketing experience or training).
But don’t bet the company’s future on it.
Social media marketing requires skills in graphic design, photo editing, video editing, copywriting, and market research (and those are just the most important ones).
To avoid social media mistakes, hire someone with the proper training and experience (even part time if you can’t swing a full time hire right now). Preferably someone who also knows how to read Google Analytics data and do market testing
Mistake #2: Social Media Isn’t Just about Your Website or Blog
Facebook and Linkedin (for example) don’t want accounts full of website links, sending their visitors away from their platforms.
Your fans want to do business with people. Real people.
People they like, know and trust. And they’ve only got 5 minutes right now while they’re waiting in line to check out at the grocery store.
Articles are great. But your social media strategy needs more than just links to articles (even to other people’s websites).
Mistake #3: You Have No Schedule
The main purpose of your marketing is to be the first company people think of in your industry. So how can you do it when your people are bombarded with information and advertising every day?
If you want people to think of you at the right time, communicate with them regularly.
And if you want your people to know and trust you to do the best job, let them get to know you. Having a schedule and staying on that schedule can help your future customers get to know you (while you’re honing your message).
Post regularly and give yourself more practice to improve your message to your perfect audience with different ideas and content types (because no one knows which ones will be a big hit).
Mistake #4: You Don’t Know the Rules
Are you publishing content on a social media platform that doesn’t see many of your fans?
You may be breaking some of that platform’s unwritten rules. For example, Facebook wants its visitors to stay on Facebook.
And they really don’t want you to send people to their competitors. It’s not written anywhere. But they don’t want it. Your business page stats are not likely to improve with this tactic.
Some of these rules change all the time (so, even more reason to hire someone who knows social media).
Mistake #5: Your a Bad Friend
Social media. It’s social. Networking. Making friends. But it’s more than just fun.
Are you using social media to meet other businesses that sell to the same people as you? Of course you are. But are you sharing their content with your fans?
Are you looking for other accounts that have active and engaged audiences and sharing their content with your people?
Content curation is a tactic, but are you getting the most out of it?
Sharing content from social media accounts that don’t speak to your ideal customers makes no sense (for your audience or your business).
It’s one of the most deadly social media mistakes you can make.
Mistake #6: Using the Wrong Social Media Network
Just because certain businesses use a certain social media network doesn’t mean it’s right for you. Who are your people`and where do they hang out?
And more importantly, where do they go when they need the thing that your business does or makes?
Facebook is great for most B2C (business to consumer) products and services.
But it’s not so great for some of the more dry and technical B2B (business to business) industries. Even though these customers are probably using Facebook for fun.
They aren’t using it to find products and services for their business needs.
Mistake #7: Posting and Running
So, you created the graphics, wrote the copy for each post and loaded it all into a scheduler. And you’re done, right?
Well, not really. If you did a great job and your posts get people’s attention, they’ll read them. They might like them, leave a comment or share them (depending on how each platform is set up).
And when they do, you’re missing a huge opportunity to engage with your potential customers.
You can learn more about them. And give them a human connection with your company (remember that know and trust thing).
And most algorithms are looking for these types of interactions. The more interactions, the more people will see your posts.
Mistake #8: You Don’t Know Your Audience
The biggest social media (and any other type of marketing) mistake is not knowing your audience.
Or not having one.
When you try to please too many people, your marketing will fall flat.
They won’t feel a connection with you because you won’t be speaking directly to them and their specific needs (and desires).
This is where most social media fails happen.
Your people won’t finish reading or watching your content and they won’t feel compelled to engage with it at all.
Mistake #9: Numbers Are More Important Than Quality
Do you want a big number of fans?
You can easily buy them. It’s not hard to do if that’s all that matters. But if you want to find future customers, avoid any tactics that raise your fan numbers but not your engagement.
You want people who will read and watch your posts.
And hopefully they will engage with you (and get on your email list and do business with you in the near future).
Mistake #10: You’re Holding Back
Are you sharing your customers’ own words with your social media audiences?
When anyone has something nice to say about your business, are you sharing it? In some cases, images and videos can work even better.
How customers are using your products and testimonials are two great examples.
Even asking your readers simple questions like “Where are they from?” could be valuable information (and it gets people engaged with your social media business account).
Asking questions that people love to answer (that make sense for your industry) are great ways to increase how many people see your posts.
And it can be great for market research.
A Speedy Lesson on All the Social Media Platforms
People have dedicated entire books and courses to learning how to use just one social media platform.
We typically recommend you start with social media platforms that your ideal customers are using:
To learn more about each platform, the potential audience and whether it might be a fit for your business, check out this great summary with info-graphics.
Your best bet is to start small and test for feedback. If you’ve been posting and aren’t getting any response, ask yourself whether your ideal customers are actually using this platform.
Is It Weird Not to Have Any Social Media Presence?
Hey, some people do not like having social media.
If you have a rock solid way to find and attract the right people, you might not need it right now. But, ask yourself if your competitors are using it.
Who in your industry is using it?
Is it time for your business to add it to your marketing strategy? You can hire someone else to do social media for you. Especially if you do not care for it.
What is a Common Issue with Social Media Marketing Plans?
One of the most common problems in social media marketing plans is targeting a very large audience. Basically, trying to talk to everyone (which doesn’t work well at all).
Not having a real strategy for turning random people into fans and then customers is another common issue.
When you publish something on social media, it should have a purpose.
Cute animal photos are great, but do you want followers that only like random animal photos and videos?
The same goes for any subject that doesn’t relate to your business in some way.
Another very common issue is no human connection. The posts don’t feature real humans with feelings that connect with the audience.
Lots of schedulers, automation and posts that don’t connect with anyone.
Avoid Future Social Media Fails
So, you’ve made a few mistakes (who hasn’t!)…
Maybe you’ve made some really big ones.
Fortunately, in social media land, mistakes are usually ignored. Your hard work just disappears into the webo-sphere.
So set aside your fears, find your ideal customers, and focus on getting to know your people.
Before you know it, you’ll build a loyal following of raving fans!
© Shawn Casemore 2020. All Rights Reserved