7 Social Media Mistakes Small Businesses Make (And How To Avoid Making Them Too)

By Jessica Gonzalez

7 Social Media Mistakes Small Businesses Make (And How To Avoid Making Them Too)New Possibilities Group

In your search for social media tips for small business, you are likely to find plenty of ideas of what to do right. But what should you avoid at all costs?

Social media is forever, and no matter how quickly you delete something, there’s a chance that someone’s probably already seen it. That's why getting it right the first time is important.

Want to avoid a huge viral faux pas? Don't follow in the footsteps of the business owners who thought these were good social media ideas.

1. Making accidental personal posts on a business account.

Even the CFO of Twitter got this one wrong on his own website. Make sure that you’re ONLY posting news and statements that are relevant to your business audience, and definitely be careful not to post anything inappropriate or unprofessional (we’re looking at you, selfie addicts).

Avoiding this is pretty easy. Double check the username you are using, and make sure you’re not tweeting when you intend to send a private message.

2. Responding poorly to negative reviews.

The way you handle negative feedback says a lot about the way you handle your professional life. The key is not to respond negatively, but it’s also a bad move to delete the feedback and act like it never happened.

Instead, show that you are deliberate and conscientious with customer service. Ask how you can resolve the problem rather than jumping down the reviewer's throat. Chances are, if one person has a problem, somebody else does too.

3. Not paying attention to the meaning of hashtags.

Twitter, Facebook, and other forms of social media may use hashtags and keywords to compile thoughts on the same subject. For instance, hashtags like #blacklivesmatter recently drew attention to questions of racism and police brutality in the United States. In 2014, the hashtag #WhyIStayed highlighted the reasons why women stayed in domestic abuse situations.

You know what wasn’t cool? When DiGiorno Pizza took advantage of the situation to tweet something insensitive, leading many to have bad feelings about the brand. At all costs, avoid jumping on a hashtag just because it’s trending.

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4. Paying people to follow you.

Not only is it typically against a social media site's terms to purchase followers, it also does not work. You need followers who interact with you, and inflating your numbers does not lead to real dialogue about your company.

Besides, what will actual potential customers think when they look at your profile and see a bunch of followers with obviously fake names and profile pictures? While it takes a long time to build a loyal following of real fans, it is well worth it from a reputation standpoint.

5. Talking only about your brand and products.

Why are your followers interested in you? It's not simply because they want to read about a product they might already own. It's because they want to hear your insights and keep up with your latest news. Make sure you are delivering on that expectation.

Many businesses and influencers have also done very well not only as content creators, but as content curators. It’s called the “cocktail party rule”—the idea that you should spend as much time talking about other people as you do about yourself. Not only does it help you avoid looking like a narcissist, but it positions you as a thought leader in your niche.

Additionally, you should be engaging with those who ask questions. Retweeting and responding shows that your business has heart and an interest in what customers have to say.

6. Airing your dirty laundry.

How would it make you to feel about a business to see its page slamming another company or person? How about a long diatribe attacking a customer on a personal level? While some followers may enjoy that "firm" stance (or the drama that comes with it), most will feel that you are acting unprofessionally.

It is a much better idea to show support for those things you care about rather than to slam those things you don't like.

7. Posting too often and too repetitively.

Saturating your Twitter or Facebook feed with way too many posts is a sure way to annoy your followers. Make sure you are not posting information that is useless, or repeating the same information over and over again.

To avoid sounding like a broken record, offer tips and link to news stories related to your service or product. Do you own a small pet store? Tweet about keeping your pets cool and healthy in the summer heat. Do you own a small publishing company? Write about new trends in books over the last year, then ask for your followers’ opinions.

Social media may seem frivolous on the surface to a lot of business owners, but there’s a lot of damage that can be done when it’s not done right. Avoid these mistakes that others have made in the past, and you should be able to avoid an unpleasant, unprofessional ring of fire.

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