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6 Social Media Mistakes You Need to Avoid

The words “social media” in colorful block letters.

Social media has become a fact of modern life. We all have at least a couple of accounts on different networks, and most of us check them daily. As a business owner, you should take advantage of that. It’s a whole new way to get the word about your business out there and introduce more people to your brand. But using social media for marketing is different from using it for personal reasons. There are certain things you can do on your personal Facebook that wouldn’t fly for a business account on Instagram, for example. And accidentally doing something wrong on a public platform like social media can cost your business a lot. This is why you need to be aware of social media mistakes you need to avoid.

The biggest social media mistakes you need to avoid

These days, it’s not enough for a business to just have a website. You need to make sure your website loads fast, looks good and works well. And then you need to branch out because your website is no longer the most important thing about your online presence. Instead, people will learn about and engage with your brand on platforms where they spend most of their time online – social media. So it’s crucial to maintain a presence on social media where people can reach you. And if you want to present your business in the best possible light, you’ll have to avoid certain mistakes that are all too common for companies trying to use social media as a marketing tool.

Social media apps on a smartphone.
Social media is just as, if not more, important for your online presence as your website.

#1: Posting too little or too much

When you’re running a business account on social media, it’s all about balance. You want to be active regularly; otherwise, there’s no point in having those accounts at all. But you don’t want to constantly bombard your followers with content; people don’t like being spammed, especially not when someone is trying to sell them something. So focus on quality over quantity. Useful, interesting, engaging posts once or twice a day are better than a constant stream of mediocre content.

#2: Working without a strategy

You always need a strategy when marketing your business. And that’s what you’re doing when you’re using social media in the name of your business – you’re not just posting on social media, you’re marketing your brand. So before you start any real engagement, you need to come up with a plan. Think about:

  • what you’re trying to achieve by using social media
  • who your target audience is and what they like
  • which social media platforms are best suited to your business
  • how you’re going measure your success

This will help you develop a strategy, making your social media marketing more likely to yield results.

#3: Not adapting your content and tone to the platform

If you use social media yourself, you already know that different social media websites are intended for different things. Some platforms like LinkedIn are more geared toward building professional connections. Others like Twitter are better for quick casual interactions and smart, memorable slogans. The users know these unwritten rules – it’s one of the reasons why they choose the social media platforms they do. So if you want them to like you, you need to make content that fits your chosen platform. If you’re using Instagram or Pinterest for business, you’ll want to post a lot of visual content. If you’re using Twitter, you’ll want to be brief and to the point. On Facebook, you might choose a different tone for a different audience. Whichever social media you choose for marketing, you’ll need to adapt your posts to different platforms if you want your followers to like them.

Person holding a phone open to Facebook's home page and trying to avoid making social media mistakes.
The same content should take different forms on Facebook and Instagram to make the most of both.

#4: Not taking full advantage of the social media platforms you chose

There are a lot of different things you can do on social media to market your business. Hashtags are a big thing on Instagram and Twitter; Facebook and Instagram have the great stories feature for temporarily available videos; Twitter allows you to pin the most important post at the top of your profile, etc. Using these will show you’re proficient at using social media and give you more exposure, so make sure to take advantage of everything the different platforms have to offer.

#5: Not engaging your audience

The most important thing to do as a business on social media is to engage with your (potential) customers. This is what social media was created for, after all. Interesting and interactive posts will help with this – everyone likes to take a quick poll on Twitter or do a quiz on Instagram stories. But you should also respond to the comments you receive. That shows you value your customers and their feedback.

Person holding a phone open to Twitter's home page.
Not engaging with your followers is one of the worst social media mistakes you can make.

Don’t just respond to praise, either. It’s essential to keep your reputation intact, but that doesn’t mean you can ignore or delete negative comments. That just makes you seem like you have something to hide. Instead, you should respond to questions and criticism to show how well you can handle it. This will actually help your reputation and image.

#6: Being boring and unoriginal

Millions of people use social media every day for both personal and professional reasons, so you need to stand out from the crowd. To do this, you’ll need to post original content rather than just sharing what other people have already said. What you post needs to be interesting and preferably interactive. Ask questions, pose challenges, organize polls and quizzes – encourage interaction with your followers in new and exciting ways they’ll remember.

It is not enough to just avoid making social media mistakes

Not making social media mistakes is the bare minimum; you should always do more than that. Social media marketing is ultimately about two things: building your brand and engaging with your current and future customers. Decide the demographic you’re posting for, create quality content to share, and engage with your followers to show that you care. This will paint your business in a positive light and attract people to your brand.