5 Social Media Mistakes Small Businesses Make

If you plead guilty, tweak your strategy immediately.
Social media graphic
Become a social media expert by avoiding these five common mistakes. (Photo: brainpencil/Shutterstock)

Effectively using social media has great potential for a small business looking to increase its customer base, sales and website traffic. But without committing to a smart strategy, a social media campaign could end up draining your funds and time.

According to two social media experts, here are five of the biggest mistakes small business owners make.

Mistake #1: You are trying to be everywhere

There are many social media platforms available – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc. But that doesn’t mean you have to join them all. It’s more effective to know your audience and incorporate a social strategy based on the products or services you are selling.

“For example, if you are selling a widget that is complex, a media platform best suited for you might be YouTube where you can set up how-­to videos,” Randall Craig, author of “Online PR and Social Media,” said.

A good way to help decide what platforms to use: Watch what your competition is doing.

Mistake #2: Your accounts aren’t worth following

Your social media streams are not just about you – they’re about the existing and potential customers you are trying to reach. Engage with followers by sharing additional unique content other than constantly pushing your own product or service. However, make sure that what you are sharing is in line with your audience.

“It’s important that you use social media to talk about your products or services. But if you do only that, then it gets boring,” said Marsha Shandur, a networking expert. “Post other things that your potential clients might find interesting — relevant articles, or behind-­the-­scenes info.”

Mistake #3: Your social posts are all about business

Remember that social media is just that: social. That means interacting and engaging with people on a personal level.

“People love hearing about the human behind the product,” Shandur said. “Tell us personal thoughts or information. Tell stories. This is especially powerful on Facebook or Instagram. Just make it more interesting than what you had for breakfast. Help your clients feel engaged with you. Ask questions. Ask for opinions. Ask for advice.”

Mistake #4: You are forgetting your website

Don’t forget that your website is the main hub of your business. Use social media as a tool to promote the goods and services on your website.

“The ultimate goal of social media is to drive customers to the website,” Craig said. “Your website should be built to convert social traffic into sales. If it’s not, then it is waste.”

Mistake #5: You are not measuring your success

How do you know if your social strategy is increasing your bottom line?

“One of my favorite phrases is: ‘If you don’t measure, you can’t manage,’” Craig said. “Nor can you optimize your efforts with investment. Monitoring is forgotten almost more than anything else.”

A good way to measure your success is to investigate and use metric tools designed specifically for social platforms. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. all have or provide tools to help you measure key metrics such as reach, followers and engagement on a daily basis.

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