Social media is easy right? I’m betting you’re shaking your head like “O hecks no”.

There are countless mistakes we all make in social media every day, no one is perfect, but if we do not try to do things correctly, we cannot expect the results. So, to help you on the road, here is a list of the Top 15 mistakes that are most often made by small businesses and entrepreneurs in social media.

Posting in Facebook groups and expecting sales

This is a BIG no-no. Why? Because everyone in your community and Advertising groups are there for exactly the same reason as you – to punt their products. Think about it, out of the 22 000 members in that special advertising group you always post in, how many posts do you see in your timeline? I bet you not more than 1 or 2, right? And how many people post in those groups every day? At least 40 to 100+ every day.

It adds to the noise on Facebook, and pretty soon people have gone blind to your offerings, products, services or brands.

Also, don’t pay people to post on behalf of your business in groups. It looks tacky, and cheapens your brand that you have built.

Fake or no real followers

So you start a page, and invite everyone from your brother to your second, twice removed half cousin… and your English teacher. Are they proud of you? Sure.

Are they your customer, or potential customer? Probably not.

It is better to have 150 real fans of your brand or your business on your social media, than to have 10 000, and none of them has the slightest interest in what you or your business does.

Not having goals

Like in life, goals are important. Set SMART goals, that are achievable, and plan towards them. Mostly when we get flustered, it is because we either don’t have a goals, or have forgotten about our goals.

Not having a marketing strategy

A marketing strategy is so important, I cannot stress this enough – a marketing strategy is NOT a sales strategy. Your sales strategy fits into your marketing strategy.

A marketing strategy, simply put, is “a plan of action designed to promote and sell a product or service.”

There is a whole world of Google out there, and a lot of advice that can be gained by asking peers in the Female Entrepreneur Collective Support Group. Just search on Google for “marketing strategies for *insert business category here*”, and it’ll already give you a good idea of where to start.

You don’t need a marketing team or to pay someone to start somewhere.

Not having a social media strategy

A social media strategy is not the same as a marketing strategy. Social media is just one of the channels you can use for marketing. Others include your website, email marketing, paid marketing, blogging, SEO, SEM, radio advertising, influencer marketing, events, out of home advertising, TV commercials and many more. These should be defined in your marketing strategy so that get a clear view of which channels will be used for what.

Big note: Not all the channels have to be used for everything. Be selective.

Don’t let the word strategy frighten you off – strategy is just another word for plan.

A social media strategy includes everything from which platforms to use, who your audience are, what content to create for them, measuring content, analysing stats, and implementing the changes to support your marketing strategy. If you have the Who, What, Where, When and How covered, you’re pretty much there.

Here is a great article on Hootsuite that can get you started in the right direction.

Doing the hard sell thing all the time

Social media is not about selling all the time. If you are going to push products and services, and that is all that you are going to do, you are missing the social part of social networking, and doing your brand more harm than good.

Content created for your brand should be engaging – and no, I am not talking about doggy and kitty posts all the time, or even quotes. Think about what you would want to see, as a customer, if you were your business’s ideal customer.

Example: If you had to talk to your friends only about your products, services, specials and businesses each and every time that you met, and not share details of how you are doing in order to connect with them, how long are they going to stick around? Not long.

Also, with Facebook’s news feed algorithm also hindering organic reach of page posts into news feeds, you are going to have to get sassy, clever and tactical with your content to ensure your real fans and potential customers want to follow your page, and want to see your posts.

Not understanding the difference between organic and paid content

You post it, they read it, right?

WRONG.

“…a Page with 10,000 fans could expect just 650 of them to actually see that Page’s posts in their News Feeds. For a Page with 1 million fans, about 20,000 would end up seeing posts (based on the 2% figure).” – Hubspot

That is how few people, organically see your content. You need to work paid marketing, even if it is R100 a month, into your social media and marketing strategy. If you have analysed and understood who your customer is, really well, it becomes very easy to micro target customers on Facebook, Instagram and Google via paid ads.

Having a Facebook profile that represents your brand or business instead of a page

I come across this every day. The reality is, if you have a secondary profile, Facebook has the right to close and delete your profile without any warning to you.

Facebook;s terms clearly state: “Create only one account (your own) and use your timeline for personal purposes.”

Don’t play with your brand like that, putting in work to gain 3500 friends for your brand on a personal profile, just to have it shut down by Facebook, is a lot of work lost.

Read more about the terms here, specifically point 3.1.

20% text rule

Did you know that if you have more than 20% text in your images, or on your video or slideshow’s thumbnail image, your ad will be served to less people? That means that that your ad might not be shown to the right people that want to buy your business, effectively costing you more.

You can use Facebook’s Text Overlay tool to check the text to image ration.

Not having a lead generation strategy

Now this is what we all want. Leads. Potential customers… sales!!

So, what is a lead generation strategy?

Lead generation describes the marketing process of stimulating and capturing interest in a product or service for the purpose of developing sales pipeline.Lead generation often uses digital channels, and has been undergoing substantial changes in recent years from the rise of new online and social techniques.” – Marketo

There is a wealth of info to get your started on the right track on Google. Here is just one article on what lead generation is, and how you can do it.

Inconsistent branding

Make life easier for yourself. Get your logo done, and know which fonts and colours you always need to use. That way you can setup social media posts, letterheads, PowerPoint presentations etc. that really represent your business, and that your customer will get to know, and recognise.

That also means that all your owned channels (your website, your social media, your blog) all should have the same name. It is better for search engines, and makes it easier for your customers to find you.

Running competitions all the time and expecting sales or loyalty from it

Do you know that most companies in South Africa have a databasis of people who just enter competitions? Why? Well, these aren’t real fans. They come and squat on your page, just to enter and win stuff, and never do anything to promote your business other than to share the competition with other serial entrants, nor do they buy your products.

If you are one of those, shame on you.

Not engaging with your followers or fans

If someone comments on your business’s post, comment back. And, don’t be nasty. Be tactful and mindful. You do not need to like every tag someone leaves on your page, but if some stranger felt it important enough to leave you a comment, albeit a compliment or a question, see them as important enough to respond.

Deleting fan comments and posts

No. Just no. Stop doing that right now. Face people. A lot worse things can happen.

Remember what happened to Amy’s Baking Company on Kitchen Nightmares (read the overview here)? Yeah. Just don’t do it.

Not measuring your activities and goals reached

If you don’t measure, how can you improve. Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and twitter all provide  measurement tools to their business customers. They also have training or help guides, so there is no excuse to not find out if your marketing and social efforts have reached their goals, and to adjust them if need be.

Being too proud to change course

If what you are doing is not working, it is not a personal failure. Measure, reassess, change the tactic, and re-implement. You will be doing this a lot. There is no one recipe to social media and marketing success for every business, although the principles stay the same: balance your earned, owned and paid media, to achieve your goals.
Not knowing who your customer is

Create it, and forget it

Lastly, don’t create a social media account and just leave it there. You mos often do not need to post every day – your marketing strategy will guide you on how to do this. But, never just create it and just leave it.

If you haven’t posted in the last month, at least post something – there is nothing worse for a customer who is doing research about a new product, service or service provider to find a stagnant page in their journey. They switch off, and your business is immediately removed from their choices.

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