Social media is still growing, and it shows no signs of slowing down. Facebook, the most used platform, has almost 2 billion monthly active users—and 75% of them spend at least 20 minutes on Facebook per day. Between 2012–15, Facebook usage increased by 7%, LinkedIn by 25%, Twitter by 44%, and both Instagram and Pinterest by 106%.
Promoting your business on social is an integral part of any digital marketing strategy, making it doubly important to avoid these 7 common social media mistakes.
Having a Single Plan across Different Social Platforms
Most businesses use more than one social media channel to promote themselves, which is great. The trick is not publishing exactly the same content on each one. The reason? Each social media platform has its own set of demographics and each is geared more towards one particular type of content over another.
So what’s my point?
Basically, you need to optimize the content you’re posting according to the platform you’re posting it on. I post many articles on Twitter that I don’t post elsewhere because the audiences and their interests are different—and when I do share content across platforms, the visual element usually remains the same while the accompanying copy gets a bit of a re-write.
One last note: Don’t feel like you have to be present on every social media platform. You don’t. You should think about who your buyers are, what type of content they’re interested in, which platforms they’re using, and go from there.
One of the worst things you can do is establish a social media presence and then ignore your followers. Engaging with your audience humanizes your company—people like to do business with people. They also like to feel heard and valued, so if you never take the time to interact with them, you may end up with a problem.
Add little calls to action to your posts to make it easier for your followers to respond. Posting about a new product? Ask what color or style they prefer. Doing a simple “Yay, it’s Friday!” post? Ask if anyone has any fun weekend plans.
You should always respond to negative reviews. Being seen to care about a poor experience and taking steps to fix it can reverse a lot of the damage done by a bad review in the first place. Responding to positive reviews is also helpful—it never hurts to make the customer feel appreciated, and writing a quick thank you may even encourage others to leave reviews, too.
Having Multiple Profiles on the Same Social Site
More than one profile per platform causes confusion for potential customers. This is mainly a problem on Facebook, so make sure to clean up any old pages that have, for one reason or another, been abandoned. If you were on Facebook before the days of business pages and had an actual profile account set up, go ahead and delete it.
That being said, if your business has more than one location, then having a Facebook page for each is a good idea. Currently, there’s no way to specify multiple locations on a Facebook business page—there’s only one address block and only one “Get Directions” option.
It wouldn’t surprise me in the least to see a multi-location feature implemented in the future, necessitating some further clean-up, but for now this is the best solution.
Another alternative is to set up one Facebook page for your corporate account and “Places” for your locations. If the content being shared will be the same, it’s simpler to have one page to manage and separate physical locations where customers can “check in.”
I can’t think of a reason, myself, to have more than one account on other platforms, unless you’re a large chain and need to promote each location separately of one another.
Getting Too Personal
If you’re thinking, “Wait a second, I thought humanizing my brand was a GOOD thing,”—well, it is. But only to a point.
You want to be human, but you want to stay on brand, too. Unless you, yourself, are part of your brand, anything you post on social media should be related in some way to your business, not you. I’m not saying you have to stay out of it entirely—I certainly don’t. But any personal touches I leave on a post are secondary to the message itself.
Posting Too Much
A quick Google search can give you the recommended posting frequency for each social media platform. That’s a good place to start, but a little experimentation on your end can help you hone in on what works best for your audience.
I would argue that posting less frequently is actually better than posting too much, and this article from Buffer provides an excellent explanation of why. As an experiment, they cut their Facebook posting frequency in half, focusing more on quality than quantity. The result? A 330% increase in reach and engagement.
Curating your content more thoughtfully results in higher value posts—and the better your post quality, the better your engagement is likely to be.
Being Too Sales-y
Nobody likes the hard sell. If every post you make has the basic message of, “Buy this,” your followers are going to get tired of you pretty fast. This is true whether you’re producing written content or visual.
For instance, I rarely do any hard selling through this blog because that’s not what it’s here for. It’s here to teach small businesses how to more effectively manage their digital marketing and point them in the right direction should they want extra help.
Product-oriented businesses like jewelry stores or fashion boutiques obviously post a lot about their products, and I’m not saying they shouldn’t. Showing off your product generates interest, especially if you’re photographing it well.
But there’s a difference between promotion and selling. I chose two accounts from my Instagram followers to show you--both are digital marketing agencies. Can you tell the difference between the one trying to sell and the one projecting their brand image? Which one do you find more appealing?
Using the Wrong Hashtags
Hashtags should be part of your social media strategy, and you should put some thought into choosing the right ones to use. Some will stay the same from post to post because they’re relevant to your business or location, and others will vary depending on the subject of your post.
Using hashtags increases your reach to people who may be interested in a particular subject. If you’re planning to use a new hashtag, it’s a good idea to check out the search results for it first, on whatever social platform you’re posting to.
Sometimes the results that come up are not at all what you were thinking of, and are actually not relevant to your post at all. I find this step can be particularly helpful on Twitter and Instagram and should be performed for each platform you post the content to. A good hashtag on Instagram may not be as effective on Twitter because--you guessed it!--different audiences.
Added bonus: You can check out possible hashtags on Instagram by putting in variations and seeing how many posts there are for it. I usually try to avoid using the more catch-all hashtags that have over a million posts in them because mine is more likely to get lost in the shuffle. But there’s often subsets of the same hashtag that are more specific and have a more targeted reach.
Catherine has a degree in English literature and a passion for all things marketing. As Digital Specialist, her focus is on web design, search engine optimization, social media, online presence management, and project coordination.