Top Eight Small Business Social Media Mistakes

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With the rise of social media showing no signs of slowing down, more and more small business owners are realising that a social media presence is no longer optional. A few years ago, it was a marketing novelty, now it’s a marketing cornerstone.

The only problem with the rise in social media marketing is that many small business owners are jumping in at the deep end without first learning how to swim. And for many, the result is decidedly more negative than positive.

Should you find yourself at the helm of a small business and you’d like to increase your reach with social media, here are eight things not to do.

Trying to be Everywhere

A recent Forbes study suggested that managing a single social media account takes up to thirty two hours per month. For the average small business owner signing up to five different sites is therefore neither feasible or wise. Think long and hard before you sign up for an account anywhere. And keep in mind that an inactive, poorly updated account is more likely to harm your businesses reputation than help it.

Hiring on the Cheap

Considering the time consuming nature of social media, pawning the task onto somebody else can be incredibly tempting. In fact, for many small business owners, it’s very much recommended, time being money and all that. When deciding who to outsource your social media management needs to however, take your time and choose wisely. It’s not a job for an unpaid intern. Social media mistakes are expensive, and interns have a long history of getting their personal and business accounts mixed up.

Excess Automation

Another time saving social media technique that can easily get you into trouble is automation. Using a site such as to space out your tweets makes sense. Using a robot to generate those tweets in the first place doesn’t. You wouldn’t use a robot to answer customer telephone enquiries. Don’t use a robot to handle social media enquiries. It’s guaranteed to get you into trouble eventually.

Saying Anything Political (Anything)

Small business and politics don’t belong together and never is this more the case than when it comes to social media updates. We live in a politically divided country. It’s very difficult to say anything political without offending fifty percent of the population. Social media is supposed to bring you closer to your customers. And unfortunately, political statements have a strange habit of achieving the very opposite.

Too Much Promotion

There’s nothing wrong with signing up to Facebook and Twitter solely for marketing purposes. If it was considered bad form, there wouldn’t be a popular corporation left in America. Unfortunately however, marketing updates alone don’t make for popular social media accounts. For every update that promotes one of your products or services, you should be sending at least three that don’t. Fail to do so and all those promotional tweets are likely to fall on deaf ears.

Cashing in on Trends

If you want to get a Facebook like, there’s nothing quite like a photo of a funny looking cat. Unfortunately however, unless you happen to be somehow involved in the cat industry, such photos are completely inappropriate. For a social media campaign to be effective, it obviously needs to be witnessed. But don’t underestimate just how important it is not to lose your credibility in the process.

Deleting Customer Grievances

Throw up any kind of social media account and you can expect to receive some kind of negative feedback. Hearing from the occasional unhappy customer very much comes with the territory. Contrary to popular belief, the correct response is not to click the delete button. Doing so sends entirely the wrong message. Unless you’re dealing with an obvious troll, always respond. Censorship is not a good look for any company.

Flying Blind

Finally, one of the biggest social media mistakes that small businesses make is failing to analyse the results of what they are actually doing. Some tweets work, others don’t. Some Facebook updates generate sales, others are ignored. If you don’t want to waste your time on social media, you need to analyse what you’re doing, how it’s being received and how much of it, if any, is generating sales. Fail to monitor your social media progress and your odds of actually making any drop drastically.

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Today’s feature writer, Shane Cooper, is an active blogger and a freelance web developer. He has worked with many leading companies and he excels in developing appointment management software. He likes to get in touch with the latest technology and is usually found glued to his laptop. You can follow him on twitter @Appointpress.

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