Social Media Mistakes Small Businesses Can Avoid

Published by Engagement Labs on August 6, 2014

If you own a small business and don’t live under a rock, you’ve heard a lot about the benefits of social media. As easy as it is to understand the potential impact of reaching customers with the click of a mouse, the actual execution is much more difficult. If you’ve decided to take the plunge, here’s how to avoid some rookie mistakes:

Define a purpose – Simply having a social media presence is not going to result in business success. No matter how small or large your efforts and investment, you should have a defined purpose. This could be connecting to new fans, becoming an identified authority in your field or simply sharing news with existing customers. Once defined, tell others in your organization and even document it on your pages.

Build Relationships – The potential reach of social media is extraordinary, however if your main topic of conversation is yourself or your promotions, your followers will likely tune out or unfollow/like. If you’re not having a conversation with your followers, you are likely being overly promotional. Don’t miss the opportunity to get real feedback from potential clients.

Create a Brand Page – Nothing says rookie quite like a brand page that is in fact a personal profile or group. The issue is that a personal profile does not allow new users to interact with your profile and limits the potential reach of your message. If you’ve made this mistake yourself, Facebook offers a step-by-step guide to remedy the situation.

Open up your Tweets – This mistake can be replicated on Twitter by having protected tweets, where users have to request to view your messages. It’s going to be difficult for new fans to discover your brand this way. Here’s how to change it.

Consistent Posting – One of the biggest challenges for small business owners using social media is trying to incorporate it into the daily workflow. We often see new brands that are really active for a time before going dark. You will see better results from spending just 20 minutes a week (every week) rather than long periods of dormancy and short bursts of activity.

Prioritize Resources – It’s tempting to have a tech savvy member of your staff take over your social media pages, regardless of their industry knowledge or seniority. As you wouldn’t have an unsupervised staff member sending out press releases on their first day, you should treat your social media channels with the same level of care. This doesn’t mean that you can’t distribute the tasks, just that each member of your team should be aware of what is acceptable behavior and understand when they should ask for assistance.

A good way to let your team know about what is expected of them in terms of acceptable online behaviour is by drafting a social media policy, see our blog post for some tips on creating one.

Social media can seem like a daunting task that requires a lot of time. In reality, with some planning, a small amount of time can deliver real results. Test the waters to see what works best for your business.