10 common social media mistakes – and how to avoid them

Social media is a brilliant opportunity to promote your business and services and raise your brand profile for free. But if you’re not social media savvy, you risk making silly mistakes that could waste the effort and time you invest in your posts, updates and tweets.

In fact, time and time again businesses and freelancers miss opportunities to win new customers and make new contacts because of silly mistakes that could be so easily avoided.

10 common social media mistakes – and how to avoid them

As a working mum, your time is even more precious. So, to help make sure your social media presence – and the time you devote to it – is working as hard as it can for you, we look at the 10 most common mistakes, and tell you how you can easily avoid them.

1) Not completing your profile properly

If you don’t use every opportunity to promote your brand and sell your product or service on your social media profile, you’re missing several tricks. So whatever fields a social media platform offers in their profile, fill it in. If possible, make sure you link to your website and any other social media sites that you’re on.

2) Not being consistent with your brand

It doesn’t matter how tiny your business is. It’s vital that you understand your brand and keep all online elements consistent, and social media is no exception.

So if you have a logo, visual or company colours, make sure you use it across the board. Think about your profile photo and any background visuals and ensure they all work together. Fuzzy or pixelated images are a big no-no and really detract from your brand message.

Luckily sites like Canva make it easy to create professional-looking profile images for your social media accounts. You can design a custom size, or choose pre-sized formats for social media posts and profile images and banners for each site, such as Twitter banners, and Facebook and Instagram covers and posts.

3) Not making the most of each network

While we appreciate that time is often tight, you may be missing opportunities if you only limit yourself to one social media network. Each network can help your business in very different ways.

Twitter is great for networking and getting links to your site, for example. Whereas Facebook and Pinterest are brilliant for showing your products, and linking through to your online shop.

Also try to think beyond the obvious, and look at ways you can maximise networks such as LinkedIn and Google+. By being more creative and using each network to its own unique strengths, you can reach a much wider audience. (You can read seven simple rules to create a perfect LinkedIn profile here.)

4) Not posting often or consistently

It’s difficult to build up an army of engaged social media fans if you’re not regular and consistent in your activities. Just like real life, it takes time and effort to build up relationships with people online, and to keep them interested you need to post often.

So if they’re used to seeing new content from you weekly, make sure you don’t suddenly go cold for a couple of weeks. If you’re planning a holiday or know you may not have time to post new content in the future, prepare your posts or articles in advance and schedule them to publish while you’re away or busy. So you can be confident your followers are still keen when you get back.

5) Not being interesting

As much as it’s important to share links to your content or products on social media networks, it shouldn’t be the only thing you do!

If your online personality is set firmly on broadcast, and what you’re broadcasting is just self-serving links to your own content, you’re not going to win many fans or much engagement. So try to be more interesting and varied. Think about what your audience enjoy and benefit from, and share that.

Look around for links to online news stories, or useful expert content. Share videos, photos, infographics… anything that adds colour and interest to your shared content and ensures people aren’t put off by a too-obvious sales approach.

6) Not engaging with other users

It’s not enough just to post interesting content – you have to connect with other people in order to build relationships (which can then be converted into potential sales or good contacts to help you increase your sales).

To engage with other people, you need to comment, like, share, retweet and reply to their posts and online content. You’ll find that the more you engage with people on a personal level, the more relationships you can build, and the more enthusiastic people will be about clicking on your links, buying your products or services, and sharing your content to help you reach a much wider audience. 

7) Not selling your links

When you post links to your blog content or website, make sure that they’re attractive enough to make people want to click through. Simply saying, ‘See my site’ or ‘I’ve written about my work’ isn’t going to excite anyone enough to act!

Instead, think of a benefit you can sell, such as, ’10 brilliant Christmas gift ideas for your friends’ or ‘Three ways to save money on your marketing costs’. Questions are often great ways to engage people too, for example, ‘Stuck for winter coat ideas?’ or, ‘How do you convert Facebook likes to sales?’

8) Not posting at the right time

You can share the best content, with the most interesting post, to the largest number of engaged followers, but if none of them are online when your post appears you might as well have not bothered!

Most social media networks move quickly, and on a platform like Twitter, your tweet can be buried in seconds. So it’s important to understand when your target audience are likely to be online, and schedule your posts for that time. But how do you work that out?

It’s part common sense (for example, if you wanted to reach young mums, tea/bath time is probably not the best choice), and part trial and error – observing when your posts get more likes, shares, views and clicks (Facebook insights data can also help you to understand what types of post are more popular and when).

9) Not encouraging people to share

If you’re not adding social sharing buttons to your online content then you could be missing out on lots of potential shares. Adding the buttons makes it easy for people to share content they like or find useful or interesting on their favourite social media network – enabling your content to reach a much wider audience.

10) Not using hashtags

Using hashtags enables more people to find your content. It makes it easier for them to spot the keywords that may pique their interest, and if they’re searching for a particular topic, it can help your post to get found. It’s also a good idea to research popular hashtags for your audience, products or services and use them, or look at what’s currently trending and include those hashtags.

Start being social media savvy – and increase your results

So there you have it – 10 of the most common mistakes people and businesses make on social media, and simple ideas on how you can avoid them. By ensuring that your social media efforts are engaging, timely and well-planned, you can look forward to growing your online network – and hopefully converting it into sales and leads.

Are you social media savvy? Join our networks and groups on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and Pinterest.