5 Common Social Media Mistakes

 Photo by  Dan Dimmock  on  Unsplash

Photo by Dan Dimmock on Unsplash

BY MONIQUE THOMAS

Social media is the place to be for businesses. Why? There are over 2 billion active users on social media, which means there are thousands of potential customers at your fingertips.

Young and old alike are using it. Millennials (the first generation to grow up alongside social media) are estimated to have the most spending power of any generation by 2018, while older generations are hopping aboard the social media train. You’d be silly not to test it out.

Be careful though: if used poorly, it could hurt your brand. We’ve gathered five common mistakes and how you can avoid them. (Disclaimer: it was difficult narrowing this list down to five. Stay tuned for a round two in the near future).

Not Strategizing  

Strategize. Strategize some more. Repeat.

A strategy is the foundation on which your social media account will be built. Not doing so will lead to failure. Before you start taking photos and thinking of witty captions, you need to:

(1) Define your goals and target audience. Identify the communities that’d be interested in your product. Why should they follow your account?

(2) Choose the right platforms (we’ll get into this later).

(3) Research your competition. What could they do better? What could you learn from them? Take notes (but don’t be a copycat).

(4) Create a personality and/or colour scheme for your business.  

(5) Select the right management and analytical tools. From Planoly to Buffer, there are hundreds of apps to help you with planning and scheduling posts.

Begging for Followers

Have you seen the Mad TV sketch “Can I Have Your Number?” ? If you haven’t, please watch it and come back.

Ready? Do not be Darrell.

Begging for followers is the epitome of desperation and quite frankly, annoying. Telling someone to “follow you back” after following them won’t do you any favours. Even worse are those who follow and then unfollow just to boost their own follower-count.

Social media is about forging relationships. If done organically, you’ll find your niche market with the right followers who will engage with your content, refer you to friends, and buy your product or services. Be patient.

Not Engaging With Your Audience

It’s important to talk with people rather than to them. No one wants to hang out with someone who only talks about themselves.

Show potential customers that you are more than your product or service. Discuss issues or subjects that are of interest to you (only choose one or two), and let them appreciate everything you have to offer.

It’s also important to engage with the comments on your posts. Whether it’s a complaint, compliment, or question - respond. It can be a quick “Thank you”, some fun emojis, or a like. It’s nice to be acknowledged!

Choosing Quantity Over Quality

The second step of strategizing is choosing the correct platform for your business. Depending on your industry and target audience, you might not need to be on more than two.

It’s better for your business to execute one thing well than five things poorly. Devote your time to understanding social media platforms, how they work, and whether they make sense for you.

If your content depends on visuals, you might consider Instagram and Pinterest. If you’re targeting younger audiences, you might look into Snapchat. More than 60 million businesses use Facebook. Couldn’t hurt to start there.

Disregarding Analytics

How do athletes improve? They analyze past games for weaknesses and strengths, they adjust, practice, and do better next time. What’s a strategy without analytics? Garbage. Because you aren’t learning anything.

Using different tools like Facebook Analytics, Hootsuite, or Sprout Social, you can track and measure your performance metrics to see what works. You’ll be able to determine the most popular times and days for posting content and identify other important details.

Unsure which is best for you? Strategy is key - remember?! Use the free trials, play around with them and see which suits you best. You can always adjust and switch. No one’s going to hunt you down (we hope).

What social media faux pas do you notice?