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Top 10 Mistakes Businesses Make on Social Media

Posted 04 January, 2013

Top_10_Mistakes_Businesses_Make_on_Social_MediaoopsOk, who's willing to be honest and admit they get confused about social media sometimes? I know I do.

With so many changes & sites coming at you, it's no wonder many small biz owners feel like they're in a sinking ship when it comes to figuring it all out.

Add to that all the marketers pushing training products, live events & webinars and you've got a perfect recipe for confusion. It's no wonder so many businesses just give up on social media before they even get started.

Well, I'm here to help!

I want to go over the top 10 mistakes most businesses (and people) make when it comes to social media -- and also offer a solution to each of the problems.

Granted, there are way more mistakes than 10 -- but it's a good number to grasp and apply to your business.

1. Not committing to social media long term

Too many businesses get all amped up about their shiny new Facebook page, but then 2 months later have already forgotten to update it.

SOLUTION: Embrace social media as part of your business every day. Set aside 10-20 minutes every day to work on it. Don't try to accomplish everything at once, but take it one piece at a time. As the old saying goes: "How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time."

2. If you build it they will come

So you've got a great looking cover photo, a killer profile image, your About section is all filled out, you have a cool app installed to collect leads, etc. You're done now right?!


SOLUTION: Update your page regularly, change out your cover photo and profile image every few months and engage your users daily. Once your page goes dead it's very difficult to get it back up in the Edgerank. So you gotta commit to staying at it!

3. Too much automation

I often see Facebook pages that have blog posts automatically posting to their page. But what tends to happen is the app they're using posts 25 updates in about 10 minutes! This causes me and other fans to unlike the page or hide it!

Or they have Twitter posting to Facebook or Facebook posting to Twitter.

SOLUTION: Post to each site differently as the language, context and culture on each is different. There is nothing worse than seeing the @ symbol in a Facebook post referencing a Twitter username. It's a huge turn off to Facebook users and tells me you aren't really engaging on Facebook, just feeding it content.

Be careful of automatically posting blog posts via the different apps out there. Sometimes you may get too many posts all at once which will kill your Edgerank. And when I say don't automate I don't mean that you shouldn't schedule your posts with a tool such as Post Planner. Scheduling is different than automation. Scheduling means you are in control of your posts. Automation means the app is in control. So use automation wisely.

4. Post Overload!

I referenced this in #3 but wanted to touch on it more here. There is a kind of an unwritten code as to how often you should post on the various social platforms. So you need to be careful about violating it and turning off your fans and/or losing them for good!

SOLUTION: Spread out your posts and plan them accurately. The general rule of thumb is on Facebook a page getting good engagement should post 1-5 times per day. Spread your posts out through the day to see when the best time is for your page though.

Twitter and Google+ are completely different than Facebook however. People consume information there faster and are not sitting on it staring at the newsfeed like on Facebook. So my recommendation is 10-15 posts on Twitter per day and 5-10 on Google+. The great thing about Twitter is you can get away with re-posting the same tweet twice in a day since people may not have caught your early morning rant about the lack of coffee at Dunkin' Donuts!

5. Post Ghostown

This is the exact opposite of #4. Have you ever gone to a page and noticed that they haven't posted in 2 months? How does it make you feel? For me it lets me know this page owner isn't serious about their business, or is perhaps out of business!

SOLUTION: Have a content strategy and post at least once per day. Maybe your page is new or you are a small business owner strapped for time. That's fine. Sit down on Monday morning and pop open the Post Planner app and schedule a post to go out at least once per day for the whole week. Or maybe even the whole month! If you aren't posting, then no one is finding about your company on Facebook.

6. Pulling a Peggy!

You've all seen the commercial where the customer calls in and the operator pretends to be someone named Peggy and continually avoids answering his questions right?

SOLUTION: Don't do that! You have to respond to EVERY comment and post made to your page. It's ok if your response takes 24 hours sometimes, especially if you are a small business.

The key is to make the person feel their input is important. Even if you don't have the answer. Simply saying "Hey Dan thanks for that comment/question and etc. Let me find that out for you." is better than no response at all. If you kill your fans (potential customers) with kindness and empathy they will remain loyal (and it keeps them from bashing you on Twitter!)

7. No Lead Generation Strategy

Ok... I'm not going to get all "internet marketer" on you here. That's not my style. But you need to have a strategy in place that doesn't 100% depend on Facebook.

SOLUTION: Drive traffic to your blog/website and to your opt-in pages. As much as we love Facebook, what if tomorrow it's gone? If the only connection you had with your customers was your fan page, you'd be dead in the water and have to start over.

Send your fans to your blog or opt-in pages to get your newsletter and updates. This gives you a way to contact them outside of Facebook that could pay huge dividends long term.

8. Inconsistent Branding

There isn't much worse than to go to someone's Facebook page and see a certain color scheme or logo and then to Twitter and it's different... and then to their website and it's different again. Then you find their YouTube account and it looks different. Have you ever run into this?

SOLUTION: Ensure your branding is recognizable on all platforms and consistent throughout. You're going to have variations of backgrounds, etc. on the different platforms, as the specs are different on each. But your branding should be clear when someone bounces around to your different accounts.

There are many inexpensive resources out there to get consistent branding. If you're serious about your business don't just throw it together and hope no one notices... because they will.

9. It's not all about cute kittens!

In 2012 I saw a major phase going on where people and businesses did nothing put post funny images of animals, people or other memes.

SOLUTION: Knock it off!! Every once in a while it may be appropriate or ok to post something to make people laugh or share one of the "SomeEcards" that get floated around Facebook. But if that is your only strategy to garner engagement on your Facebook page you're going to fail.

People will only be commenting because it caught their attention, not because they love your content or want to buy from you. And if you're serious about your business (and if you've read to #9 I bet you are!) then you owe it to yourself and your followers to post relevant content that adds value to their day, not just make them giggle for 5 seconds..

10. Social Media Overload

Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, MySpace, FourSquare, CircleMe, Pinterest, YouTube!!! There are a ton of social sites today for business people to wrap their brains around. It can be overwhelming for some.

SOLUTION: Choose ONE, yes I said ONE, platform and master it. Don't feel like you need to be everywhere. The worst thing you can do is to open accounts everywhere and neglect them. Or better yet never get one of them up and fully running.

Maybe for your niche you're best suited only focusing on Pinterest. Or maybe in your small town like where I am Facebook is the only site you need to be on. Pick the one where you can get the most quality engagement and where you can invest some time.

If once you've mastered that one you want to branch out and add say Twitter, go for it. But don't feel like on day 1 you have to open an account every where. Because doing so usually means you get overwhelmed and they all end up failing.

Lessons Learned

I hope you can learn from these 10 common mistakes businesses make on social media.

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