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"Top 5 Social Media Marketing Mistakes Your Small Business is Making Don't make these criti

Don't make these critical mistakes when building your social media strategy.

Social media can be a beast to tackle. You need to find a strategy that works, constantly source content, engage with your audience, respond to comments, and then tie in a soft, sweet sell somewhere in-between. Even international brands with entire teams dedicated to social media struggle, so don’t feel bad if your small business is, too. Here are some of the common mistakes small businesses make with their social media marketing, and what might be hindering your success.

1. Trying to be too social.

Have you ever come across a brand’s Twitter page only to discover they haven’t tweeted since 2009? My first thought is something must be wrong, and the brand immediately loses value in my mind. Don’t chip away at your customer’s image of you by spreading your social presence too thin. There are a lot of social media networks out there, but that doesn’t mean your small business has a place on all of them. It’s much more effective for you to focus on the platforms that are most relevant to your audience and have the best conversions. That might be Twitter and Facebook, or Pinterest and Instagram – it all depends on your industry and where your target demographic is hanging out. It’s a much better strategy to have a thriving presence on two networks than a lackluster presence on four. Your audience will eventually get bored with you, and your pages could actually hinder business rather than help it.

2. Not engaging with your audience.

Social media is not an auditorium where you stand on the stage and get to shout out information as you please to a silent audience. It’s two friends grabbing coffee. It’s your family sitting around the table at Sunday dinner. It’s a place to exchange ideas, ask questions, learn more and share. If you’re not making the effort to be as interested in your audience as you want them to be interested in your business, you will never be able to build successful online relationships with your customers. This is especially true since more than 67 percent of consumers will go on social media for customer service – and they expect responses fast. More than 50 percent of Facebook users want to hear back within one day, and on Twitter than timeframe drops to two hours. Leaving your audience hanging on social media could lose you business.

3. Ignoring reviews.

Let me piggyback on that last mistake and also add that you should be engaging with your enemies too. Don’t ignore negative online reviews. Look at them as an opportunity to turn the situation into a positive one, and show a disgruntled customer that you care. Many “faceless” businesses have a reputation of being cold and self-serving. Social media allows you to disrupt this image and show your human side. Not only could your interactions rectify the issue at hand, but remember that your response will also be seen by current and potential customers on your page. How you handle the situation could shed a positive light on you, while ignoring bad reviews might paint you guilty as charged.

4. Overselling.

The end goal with using social media should always be to convert your audience, but that shouldn’t be blatantly obvious. If anything, users escape on social media in an attempt to distance themselves from the traditional streams of advertising that follow them. They choose social media for the rawness, the interactions and the content. Don’t be one of the small businesses that forget that and go for a hard sell. Sell through content, which could be blog posts that direct traffic to your site or videos that provide a valuable lesson or tutorial. Seventy-six percent of B2C marketers are using content marketing with the goal of sales and customer retention. Avoid overselling and save your pitches for when you can offer your audience access to special sales, promos or discounts.

5. Underestimating the work.

If you’re trying to run your business and manage your social media accounts, you’re doing too much. You will never be able to allocate the time required for success, except at the expense of your business’ growth. Hire an in-house professional to carry out your social media marketing or outsource to a management reputable digital marketing agency. You want your social media to flourish, but you never want to neglect your responsibilities as a business owner.

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