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30 August 2022

7 Social Media Mistakes Businesses Should Avoid Making

Jairek Robbins

Many small business owners who open social media accounts for their businesses largely depend on their experience using personal accounts to run business accounts. While there are cases where you can leverage your experience as a personal user of social media, the rules are a little different if you want to run a successful social media campaign for your business. We explore some of the major social media bloopers that businesses should avoid at all costs.

Posting only Adverts

It is true that you started your business in order to make sales, and it is also true that you opened the social media accounts of your business to boost sales, among other objectives. However, it is a big mistake to only post promotional content on the social media accounts of your business.

This is because people primarily go to social media to, well, socialize, and your adverts can quickly become an irritant. To avoid being “unfollowed” or “unliked”, make use of the Pareto Principle (the 80/20 rule). Let 80% of the content you post be educational, and so on while only 20% is promoting your products.

For example, if you are in the fashion industry, most of your posts can explore new fashions, which styles suit which body types, and so on. A tiny minority (20%) of your content can then be promotional. When you do this, people will engage more as they discuss the topics you have shared about and brand loyalty will grow in this way. The sales can quickly follow as visitors deepen their relationship with your business.

Paying to Get Followers

In our largely superficial world, some people may pay a lot more attention to appearances than to substance. This has driven many businesses to take shortcuts and pay to have a large following on social media. This is bad, bad, and bad on several fronts.

First, those fake or bought followers will hardly engage with your brand, and visitors will quickly see that there is no discussion surrounding what you post and they will leave in droves.

Secondly, social media is intended to help your business grow its brand and hopefully convert visitors into customers. Bought followers won’t be beneficial in any of these ways, so it is money wasted.

Thirdly, social media platforms frequently conduct a purge of fake accounts. When this happens just after you have paid to get followers, the number of people following you can plummet suddenly and scare away those who were genuinely interested in your brand.

The solution? Grow your following organically. You can boost your content so that it reaches more people, and then those people will choose whether or not to follow or like your page.

Joining Wrong Conversations

As a business or brand, it is important for you to be very selective about the discussions or conversations that you join. For example, it is unwise to jump into partisan political discussions because such conversations can alienate a section of your followers. Worst case scenario is that you could end up trending as an example of what isn’t wanted in the world today!

It is therefore important for you to have in-house guidelines about which conversations can be joined and which ones are a no-no. Your brand is delicate; don’t damage it by rushing to jump into conversations which don’t align with the values of your business.

Posting Identical Content on Different Platforms

Another common but deadly mistake that businesses make is to post the exact same content on different social media platforms. Different platforms have preferred formats or types of content. For example, Twitter is built on short text messages while Facebook (when will Meta sink in as the new name of this platform?) can accommodate longer textual content beefed up by video and images. Good luck seeing any engagement if you upload lengthy textual content on Twitter, if it is even possible without leveraging a message thread!

Always customize content for the specific platform you are going to post it to, and vary this content from one platform to another so that if some followers cut across the different platforms they don’t get to see your content as spammy since they have encountered it elsewhere.

Responding in Kind to Negative Comments

This ranks high among the worst mistakes you can make on social media as a business. Remember, the first encounter that many people are going to have with your business is likely to be on social media. Imagine how much reputational damage you are likely to suffer if you lash out at someone who has said something negative about your business.

It is better to be courteous and professional in your posts and make attempts to make things right for the person complaining. When other visitors see how you went above and beyond to accommodate that person, your brand will earn extra points and win over even more people.

Social media provides an opportunity to win over people to your brand, so don’t allow emotional outbursts to derail you. Even if the complaining person has no basis for what they are ranting about!

Infrequent or Excessive Posting

Posting content too frequently on your business social media accounts is as bad as posting rarely. When you are too infrequent in posting, you lose the visitors that had decided to follow your pages/accounts. When the posts are too many, they get ignored and you don’t attain the primary objective of being on social media (to engage with and build a community around your brand).

How much content is too little or too much? Get creative and see how followers respond. For example, 5 tweets a day may be on the upper side since 1-2 can suffice to engage your Twitter followers. Similarly, posting thrice a day on Facebook may be too much because it can be hard to generate quality content when you are posting at that frequency. A post every day or two can suffice for Facebook, but let your engagement rates guide you on this one. On this one, value quality over quantity!

Jumping onto or Avoiding Current Events/News

This is a tricky one. Avoid current news and you could be labeled as detached from the things that affect the community or country. Jump onto every breaking news and you slip into “newsjacking” territory.

Toe a middle line on this and only comment about news or events in a way that doesn’t put your brand voice in bad light. Less is more in this case, so avoid going overboard since public sentiments around a news item can change rather quickly yet content posted online can last forever.

As you can see, the way you run the social media accounts/pages of your business has to follow a rational, methodical approach. It helps if you have a social media strategy and then check if everything you are doing adheres to or is in line with that strategy. When done right, social media can turn around the fortunes of your business!


To Your Success,

Jairek Robbins

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