5 Common Mistakes on Social Media

Going into 2017, it’s now clearer than ever that we’re in an age of social media, and the business world is no exception—a company without a social media presence is lost in a sea of those shouting about themselves and, with as many businesses as there are springing up each year, that’s not a great position to be in.

However, there is a position that may even be worse: having social media, but using it badly.

Of course, everyone makes mistakes, especially as they’re learning something new, so here we’d like to help you out by pointing out five of the most common mistakes you might make on social media.

5. Having unclear goals, or an unclear target audience.

Who is your product or business for? Why do you need to use social media to reach them? If your ideal customer or client is a known entity, then you can work out how to target them more effectively.

For example, you may not take to Instagram if your target demographic is aged 45+, as it’s mainly used by 16-34 year olds. In the same vein, there’s little point in targeting people aged 16-24 through LinkedIn because that’s not where they’re spending their time.

Having unclear goals works in much the same way; different social networks are better at promoting different products or services, so you also need to know what you’re going to get out of a particular social network. Spend some time on a few, see what works. But be careful, too, to not spread yourself too thin—pick the networks that work best for you and see about expanding when they’re starting to pay off.

4. Ignoring your company’s presence.

Once you get into marketing in this way, it’s a good idea to periodically check for mentions of your company on any social network you’re using (and even those you’re not). Schedule in time to run this search at least once a week; you may not, and in fact, probably will not, be tagged in every post that mentions you, especially if those posts are not positive.

Then use the power of the internet to address any problems that arise (or to spread any compliments, too). The magical thing is that, if you keep on top of this, you can usually fix most problems within a short span of time. Use that to your advantage.

3. Promoting, not engaging.

Who’s got a Twitter account? Instagram? Facebook? If you have any of those, it’s likely you follow or have liked pages that are related to other peoples’ businesses. And what’s the most annoying thing?

It’s when they clearly don’t care about the people who are following them.

See, that’s the thing. If you spend all your time on social networks telling people about your company, your product, then it’s like screaming ‘Me, me, me,’ into the void. Unless what you’re offering is exceptional and unlike anything anyone has ever seen, they’re probably not going to listen.

The key word here is: social. Be social. Engage with your followers—and with other business owners and communities, because then they may well mention you to their followers and friends. Plus, you’ll probably make a few new friendships out of the deal, which is always worth a go.

2. Writing insensitive or inappropriate posts.

Chances are, you’ve seen this happen once or twice. And, of course, chances are that you know better—but still, it’s worth mentioning.

Be careful what you post. If you feel at all uneasy about it, don’t post it. Simple! If you’re not sure, ask someone. It might be something that would only offend a few people in your target demographic, maybe, but negative news always spreads faster than positive, and with how quickly that can happen on social media, it really isn’t worth the risk.

1. Retaliating.

This one may be a little more obscure. Again, however, it’s simple: don’t retaliate. Even if you’ve got someone trolling you, even if someone is yelling obscenities—report them, block them and move on. You can always make a firm statement about the core beliefs of your company, but it is best to not get involved in a fight.

You can create a personal account and engage in this behaviour to your heart’s content, but retaliating can be death knoll for some businesses, outing their owners and employees as unprofessional and putting people off working with them. (And if you do create a personal account with the express purpose of doing this, remember that people will connect the dots. You can decide for yourself if the risk is worth it.)

There are different situations where you might take different approaches, of course, but it is up to you to decide how to navigate those, which will become easier as you become more used to social media.

Remember—all of these mistakes can be avoided if you think hard about your ideal customer, ensuring that you are targeting them in a way that is entertaining and engaging. And if you do make some small mistakes at the beginning, don’t fret too much. You can always fix it!

Founders Media