social media mistakes
Some social media mistakes are so common that nearly every digital marketer and business owner has made them at some point. What are these mistakes? Check out our list and find out how you can stop yourself from making these serious social media faux pas.

1. Pretending all social media platforms are the same

To the novice social media marketer, all social media platforms may look the same. Most users have profiles and post status updates, thoughts, complaints, photos of their food and links to their favourite sites. And videos. Always cat videos.

But it would be unwise to treat all social media platforms the same because they aren’t. Each channel targets different demographics and some of them also function very differently. YouTube, for example, is for posting videos, and Instagram is the best site for posting pictures.

2. Not having a company-wide social media policy

There’s a pretty solid chance that nearly every one of your employees is on some type of social media platform. Whether they’re posting on Facebook or blogging, they’re talking, and they might be talking about your company.

Nothing is ever truly private on the Internet, even on a private social media account. Some things that your employees post or share may end up coming back to bite you, especially if they’re talking about product or service plans. If your employees are bad-mouthing your company, it also makes you look bad, even if your employees were actually at fault. The court of public opinion on the Internet doesn’t care much for fact.

Establish a company social media policy and ensure that everyone reads through it and signs it. Outline what is appropriate to post and what is not appropriate, and when you’re discussing a new product or service launch, make sure your employees know that discussing it on social media will be considered a breach of contract.

3. Ignoring messages and complaints

All social media sites have a way to send and receive personal or direct messages, and they allow other users and brands to tag one another. Users can also write on your business page’s Facebook page or tweet at you on Twitter. While the majority of your feedback will probably be positive or neutral, you may face some problems with complaints from users who are upset with your company.

The worst thing you could possibly do is ignore them. It comes off as cowardly to your followers and it makes you look guilty by default.

For every complaint you receive, you have the opportunity to turn the complaint into a positive experience and show your customers that you do care. Address the problem directly and make it clear that you are sorry and want to rectify the situation. Never engage in an argument or try to win it. If a customer gets out of hand and begins using foul or rude language, simply tell the user that you will message them privately to discuss the issue further, but you will not continue this discussion in the comments section. This shows you have control of the situation, and though you care, you’re not willing to sink down to a verbal argument.

4. Not taking advantage of social media marketing tools

Most of the big social media platforms—Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Pinterest—have their own marketing tools that businesses can use to reach out to new prospects and retarget lost visitors. To some marketers though, ignorance is bliss, and they’d rather not mess with social media advertising and concentrate on Google Adwords.

With Facebook advertising, for example, you can post advertisement banners along the sides of the newsfeed and promote your website, an offer or even an upcoming webinar or trade show. You can search for users with Facebook Audience by their geographical location, age, gender or even hobby, which will allow you to put your hand directly into the hands of those who need them the most.

5. Focusing on the quantity of likes and follows rather than the quality

Take a look at the number of Facebook or Twitter followers you have. How many of them are actually customers of yours? There are a million reasons why a person might like your page, but just because they liked your page doesn’t mean they want to buy from you.

At the end of the day, social media is about building customer relationships so that they will want to buy from you, but if you message is going out to people who never wanted to be your customer in the first place, then you’re wasting your time and efforts.

Remember, a “like” doesn’t equal a sale. Focus on building brand loyalty and awareness with the real customers who are connecting with you on social media, and you’ll be more likely to convert followers into buyers.

6. Overdoing your posts

With all the cool things you can do on social media, there are those who get just a little too wrapped up in it. If you’re guilty of a few of these overdoing-it crimes, check yourself before you wreck yourself.

Posting too frequently: There is definitely some merit to the saying, “Too much of a good thing.” Even if your followers like your posts and engage with them, posting too frequently may result in a few unfollows. Post no more than two or three times a day, if necessary, and try to space out your posts.

Liking too frequently: As a business, you shouldn’t really be liking your followers tweets or posts unless they specifically mention you or your product or service.

Posting too much through automation: Automation tools are great for helping you post at times when you can’t be at a computer, such as in the middle of the night, but most social media sites will mention when posts are made. Your followers will know when it’s a robot talking to them. Sprinkle in real-time posts with your automated posts to assure your readers that you’re authentic and a real person.

If you know you’ve made one or two of these social media mistakes before, then you’re in good company. Now that you know what not to do, you can focus more on what you should be doing: starting conversations with your followers.