5 classic small business social media mistakes

By Nina Ritz

You know well by now that your small business requires a social media presence – that’s a given. Social media networks are now a key marketing tool used by corporations and solopreneurs alike. In fact, the smaller scale of your business can be used as an advantage to help you build a loyal online audience because you can cultivate a more authentic, personal (perhaps even community-driven) approach.

But it’s not enough to just “be on social.” You might be something of a social media butterfly on personal accounts, but using it as part of a marketing strategy for your business requires a specific mindset. This is where small business owners often go wrong right from the start, not using its full potential – or worse, presenting themselves in a way that just doesn’t sit well with the audience. Here we cover these classic mistakes to help you avoid them entirely so your social media presence gives you the results you want.

Using a personal account for your business

This is a huge no-no from the start. But surprisingly enough, the 2017 State of Small Business Report by Wasp Barcode Technologies, which surveyed over 1100 small businesses within the US, points to only 37% using designated business social media accounts. Why is this bad?

Firstly, blending your personal and business accounts looks unprofessional, just like doing so with your bank accounts would be. That said, if you try to maintain a professional look, you’ll need to really watch your activity – not just what you’re sharing, but also who you’re following, what you’re commenting on and “liking,” and so on. You end up with a weird blend that’s neither a business account nor a personal one, as it is nearly impossible to stay authentic on either end. So just separate them – it’s easy and free. Then you can focus on uniting your brand with your social media strategy, while your personal account will remain free of awkward calculation.

[amazon_link asins=’1118269748′ template=’ProductAd’ store=’succeeding0d-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’81732246-709e-11e8-ac05-03be040e2ce9′]Spreading out on too many platforms

A well-cultivated social media presence on any platform requires time, effort, attention to detail in order to stand out from the crowd, and continually engaging with your audience. Your time and internal resources are limited, so if you want to do it properly, take on one platform at a time. Think carefully about how you want to get your message across, prioritize, and pick out which platform suits you best; this will depend on factors such as the type of business you’re running and which platform is most used by your target audience.

Posting the exact same content on different platforms

This is a very common mistake. It is directly related to the previous point we’ve talked about, as it’s usually the result of spreading yourself too thin across social media. Here’s the thing: your audience is very likely to be using multiple social media platforms. If they always see the exact same message on each one, they’ll feel spammed and really have no reason to follow you on more than one.

Once you have accounts on more than one platform, you need to have a unique strategy for each one in order to use them comprehensively. For example, Instagram is a visual platform and it should be used as such, with a focus on the visual, whereas Twitter is great for announcing sales promotions. To get a better idea of the matter, do some research on the top social media marketing companies and observe how they orchestrate different social media accounts of their clients.

Not maintaining consistency

Consistency is crucial to reaching any goal, and the same applies to your social media marketing strategy. You need interesting, informative content posted regularly to reach your audience – and it’s important to strike a balance with quantity. You want to post often enough to get results for your business goals, but not too often to the point that people will start tuning you out.

So, how much is just right? It depends, but you can refer to apps such as Buffer for guidelines regarding how often and at which times it’s best to post on different networks.

[amazon_link asins=’0071762345′ template=’ProductAd’ store=’succeeding0d-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’8c22baa4-709e-11e8-ab2c-797bb4d621f2′]Not responding to comments

You’ll get inquiries and sometimes even complaints from customers for all to see. Don’t bow out – use the public nature of social media to show your dedication and professionalism. In fact, that’s the beauty of social media and the reason why it’s becoming an important channel for customer service. You will learn a lot from the inquiries and criticism you get and you will be able to present yourself in a positive light by responding to them accordingly… and swiftly, because that’s what will sweep your audience off their feet. Negative comments are a good opportunity to set things straight, show that you’re running an honest business, and, if appropriate, express a little good-natured, self-effacing humor while at it. Never delete them – not even the trolls.

[amazon_link asins=’B07D4MDC7Z’ template=’ProductAd’ store=’succeeding0d-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’9354c523-709e-11e8-abbc-7f3e3c854b77′]Lastly, relax – it’s social media, after all. Although it might seem intimidating because you’re using it to promote your business, social media is used by people like you and me – and we’re customers to other companies too. A relaxed tone with plenty of useful content will make people glad to have your posts pop out on their feeds. Stay updated, correct your mistakes as you go, and cultivate your authenticity. It requires diligence, but you can have a lot of fun with it too.


Nina Ritz is a digital nomad and a blogger. Her main interests are web design and marketing. In her free time, when she’s away from the computer, she likes to do yoga and ride a bike. You can find her on twitter

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