As a small business owner, you’ll no doubt know just how valuable social media can be.

One of the biggest benefits of using sites like Twitter and Facebook is the ability to connect with your audience and increase brand awareness – and, if you’re lucky, sell more products and services.

But if you’re not an experienced social media marketer, then you may be making mistakes that are stopping you from finding success online. Below, we’ve rounded up a few to think about.


Making every post promotional

“Social media can help you make more money”.

Although that claim is certainly true, the primary focus of your social networking activity should be on brand awareness rather than direct selling.

If every tweet and status update is selling a product or service, then your followers are likely to be turned off and may end up unfollowing you.

It’s important that you strike the right balance and mix your promotional content with other material, like industry news, useful tips and advice, behind-the-scenes looks at your office and business, and non-business related content.

Indeed, you may find that tweeting along with the latest episode of The X Factor will help you interact with your followers and increase brand awareness, so don’t hesitate to step away from your brand and have some fun with your followers.

Aim for one promotional tweet in every ten, and you’ll soon find that people will be more willing to share and click-through when you don’t plug your content every time they open their news feeds.


Bulk-following other users

On social networking sites like Twitter and Instagram, it can be tempting to bulk follow other users to inflate your follower count. This is known as churn, and can actually cause more harm than good.

Not only is churn against Twitter and Instagram’s terms and conditions, but it can mean that you follow thousands of users who aren’t relevant to your brand.

Instead, focus on growing your follower count organically by running competitions, working with influencers, using paid advertising and posting high-quality, shareable content that people want to like and retweet.


Publishing too much content

Nobody likes a show-off. If you’re posting new content on social media every fifteen minutes, then you’re likely to put customers off – and encourage them to unfollow you or remove their like from your page.

It’s important that you find the right balance when it comes to posting new content on social media, so feel free to experiment with different content strategies.

For lifestyle businesses, three to five posts per day should be enough, while law firms may get away with a single post a day.

And, on top of that, you should be prepared to cover live events and post content, whether that’s a conference, a TV show or the launch of a new product or service.


Not publishing enough content

On the flipside, it’s important that you keep your channels updated on a regular basis.

Both Twitter and Facebook have complex algorithms that mean your posts won’t always be seen: in fact, research suggests that for every post you publish on Facebook, just 2% of your audience is likely to see it pop up in their news feeds.

Therefore, it’s essential that you add a new post at least once a day to maximise brand awareness and get people to interact with you.


Connecting your Twitter account to your Facebook accounts

Both Twitter and Facebook allow you to connect your account to one another, automatically posting new status updates or tweets on the other network. If you’re super busy and don’t have the time or desire to keep two social networking channels updated, then instead consider using a social media scheduling tool such as Buffer or Hootsuite.

Automatically posting can lead to your messages being cut off mid-sentence with links to the original post on another network, and it doesn’t look professional if you want to build relationships with potential customers.

People are much more likely to follow you if they can see fresh, original content that was created specifically for that social network, so don’t be lazy: start scheduling your content.


Using too many hashtags in your posts

We get it – if you add 30 hashtags to your post on Instagram, you’ll get more likes and followers.

However, using too many hashtags can detract from the marketing message you’re trying to put out there, or worse still attract spammers and bots to like your content and artificially inflate your social media statistics.

If you want to boost your ego and get as many accounts to like your posts as possible, then hashtags are the way to go – but there’s no point if you really want to use social media to find more potential customers and increase brand awareness amongst *real* people.

Aim for a couple of hashtags on each post, and include an informative description, too.


Taking too long to get back to your followers

If you really want to keep customers on side and offer the best possible level of service, then it’s essential that you regularly check your mentions and respond to customer comments as soon as you can.

The best way to do this is to turn on notifications for mentions and messages, and always have your social media channels open in a browser tab.

84% of consumers expect a response on social media within 24 hours, so if you’re taking upwards of a week to get back to someone, or worse still don’t respond at all, you could severely damage your brand reputation.


Wrapping up

There are no rights or wrongs when it comes to social media – but avoiding these common mistakes should help make your business appear more professional and switched-on.

If you’re struggling to build traction online, then don’t hesitate to get in touch with the team at 99social today.

We offer affordable social media management from as little as £99, helping to take the pressure out of managing a social presence and helping you get on with more important tasks.

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