One of the most powerful tools at the disposal of any small business owner is their social media presence. Using most social media websites is very simple, but making the most out of the opportunities that social media provides is more complicated. Many small business owners make several damaging social media mistakes when managing their profiles. Here are just a few:
1. Having No Social Media Strategy
Not having an active social media account in today’s world is considered strange, even for businesses. However, it’s not enough to merely have a social media account and post on it. You also have to create a strategy for how you’ll use your social media accounts.
Do you want to use your account mostly for promotional purposes? What platforms do you want to focus on? Can it be used for customer service questions? Will you need a social media manager to handle your accounts? How often do you plan on posting? Good planning is the backbone to success on social media, and going in without a strategy will make your goals much harder to attain.
2. Too Many, Too Few, or Completely Wrong Hashtags
Using too many hashtags can turn any post into an eyesore, and it may make people think your post is spam. In the opposite extreme, not enough hashtags might hinder the exposure of your posts. In general, it’s a good idea to limit your hashtags to about two or three per post.
Knowing the right hashtags to use is a trickier matter. The best hashtags will depend on the subject matter of your posts and which tags in relation to those subjects are currently the most popular. However, it’s never a good idea to abuse hashtags by using a completely unrelated hashtag purely because it’s trending. Unrelated hashtags give off the vibe that your post is spam and won’t help your traffic.
3. Posting Photos Without Permission
Using images with your social media posts is a great way to grab attention. There is a nearly endless supply of images on the Internet, but they aren’t all free to use. One of the biggest social media mistakes most small business owners make is posting images they don’t own. Most photographers and graphic artists will allow for the private use of their images. The same isn’t usually said for professional purposes.
If you are using images to help promote your business on social media, you’re technically profiting off of the work of another person and associating their image with your brand, which they may not want. Whenever you locate an image on the Internet and want to use it in a post, contact the creator of the image. You may have to pay a small fee for licensing rights, but it’s better than unethically using someone’s image and possibly facing legal repercussions.
4. Failing to Engage with Followers
The social media accounts of businesses often come off as robotic and unfriendly because the people running the pages don’t engage with their audience. Your followers should be able to acknowledge that there is a real person behind the page who is willing to speak with them, even if it’s just a friendly greeting. When you get comments, respond to as many as you can. Help people out with their problems, thank them for their kind comments and respectfully respond to people who have negative comments.
5. Not Studying Campaign Metrics
How do you know if a social media campaign is truly being beneficial to your business if you don’t keep an eye on your metrics? There are many types of data that are vital to maximizing the efficiency of your social media pages such as view counts, which accounts get the most traffic, engagement stats, brand mentions, and the number of followers.
6. Using Influencers Who Don’t Mark Posts as Sponsored
For a fee, social media influencers will make posts about your products and services. Considering the massive audience that prominent influencers have, these posts can provide your social media pages and business a massive boost in traffic and sales. However, many businesses don’t ensure that the posts are clearly marked as sponsored. Leaving sponsored posts unmarked isn’t only unethical since it misleads people, but it may even be illegal in some circumstances.
While it’s very easy to make these social media mistakes, fixing them isn’t difficult. With a few alterations to your posting habits and keeping a close eye on all of the data on each account, the social media pages of your small business will become much more successful.
Valerie Cox is a contributing writer for TopSEOs.com. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, biking local trails, and volunteering in her community.