Out of five billion internet users in 2022 (representing 63% of the global population), 4.65 billion also use social media. A digital marketing strategy that doesn’t place a large focus on social media is a weak one.
While many business owners understand the importance of social media, many make critical mistakes that hurt their chances of success. Here are the top eight social media mistakes all businesses must avoid.
1. Using the Wrong Social Media Platforms
Not all social media platforms were created equal. It’s important to use the right social media platform if you want to reach your target audience and get the most leads and sales.
Which social media platform is that? It depends on your niche and target audience.
For example, let’s look at the age groups most active on different platforms:
Instagram & Facebook: The largest age group on these platforms is 25-34, making it perfect for people targeting millennials, newlyweds, and young professionals.
TikTok: The largest age group on TikTok is only 10-19. Unless you’re targeting teenagers, placing much of your efforts on TikTok might be a waste of time.
Twitter: On Twitter, the largest age group is 18-29. If your target audience is a bit too young for Facebook but too old for TikTok, Twitter is a good middle ground. It’s great if you’re targeting college students and recent graduates, for example.
Pinterest: On Pinterest, the largest age group is 50-64. If you’re targeting young people, it might be a waste of time.
There are other factors to consider, too. For example, Pinterest’s user base is heavily female. When you take into account the most active age group as well, you’ll see that it’s perfect for niches such as cooking and home design.
TikTok has a very casual user base, as does Snapchat. On the other hand, LinkedIn attracts a more professional crowd.
Nothing is saying you can’t have profiles on all the major platforms, including:
In fact, you should have a presence on all those platforms (TikTok, Pinterest, and Snapchat are less important except for specific niches).
However, you should pick 1-3 social platforms to focus most of your time and effort on to get the best ROI.
2. Targeting the Wrong Audience
Even if you’re posting on the right platform, it’s still possible to target the wrong audience. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram allow you to target specific audiences when running ads.
For example, when running ads on Facebook, you can target people based on location, demographics, interests, and more. You can also upload your email list to target people already on your list or to create lookalike audiences (people not on your list but who share similar demographics).
The more specific you get in your targeting, the better your results will be.
However, it’s not only when running paid ads that you can drill down and choose a target audience. On Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram, you can use hashtags to get the attention of the right people. I recommend using a tool like Hashtagify when deciding which hashtags to include.
Additionally, when you engage with others in an attempt to get them to follow you, make sure to engage with the right people. For example, randomly following users not in your niche and hoping they’ll follow you back isn’t a great strategy. Even if they do follow you back, they won’t be interested in your content, and you won’t get a lot of engagement.
3. Posting Nothing but Products and Services
This mistake is particularly common, especially among newcomers to social media. Some people see Twitter or Facebook as a way to advertise products and nothing more. However, Instagram isn’t meant to be your product catalog.
Social media is called “social” media for a reason. You’re supposed to engage with people and interact with them. When you only post products and services, you’re doing the exact opposite.
There is a place for posts that promote products. Without them, how can you get people to visit your landing pages, purchase products, and sign up for your membership?
At the same time, nobody is going to follow you if you are very pushy and fail to offer value. That’s what people want to see – content that is going to help them or interest them in one way or another.
4. Not Posting at All
Another mistake is not posting at all. Many businesses set up a Facebook page but don’t bother publishing new, fresh content every week. Your Facebook page isn’t meant to simply be a place for people to see your current opening hours, address, and phone number. You already have a website and local citations for that.
In addition to basic information, you should be publishing new content weekly. If you can publish new posts every day or every few days, even better! Going for just a few weeks without fresh content can make you lose followers and make it harder to gain new ones.
5. Not Engaging With Followers
This point is critical. Not only should you be publishing content, but you must also engage with followers at all times.
Some businesses use tools like Hootsuite and Buffer to schedule posts in advance. That’s a great idea, as it allows you to save time. Nevertheless, there’s one thing you can’t schedule in advance, and that is engagement with followers. Therefore, you must log on to your accounts every day and engage with people.
Here are some things you should be doing:
- Responding to comments on your posts
- Liking and reacting to comments that don’t require a response
- Responding to DMs and messages on Facebook Messenger
- Resharing user-generated content when it offers value to your followers
- Liking the content that people you follow share and even commenting on their posts
- Asking users questions and responding to their answers
- Following new people or liking their posts
Engaging with followers will help you build those strong relationships that will help your profiles grow.
6. Not Uploading Images and Videos
While text-based posts are useful, adding images and videos will help you increase your engagement rates dramatically.
According to Twitter, tweets with video get 10x more engagement than those without. That’s an insane increase! As for pictures, they get 150% more retweets (shares) than posts without any images, according to research by Buffer.
Not all posts need to have images or videos. For example, GIFs are another form of digital media that can help increase engagement. Even when it comes to images, there are many types of images you can upload:
- Pictures of happy customers at your establishment
- Images of your staff (behind-the-scenes peeks)
- Humorous memes
- Professional images
- Product photos
- Photos announcing
- discounts, sales, events, etc.
7. Not Boosting Posts or Buying Ads
You’ll get better and faster results if you boost your posts or buy ads. Some businesses rely solely on organic social media growth and then wonder why they are stuck at 57 Twitter followers and 184 Instagram followers.
Getting your social media profile off the ground is the hardest part. Once you manage to attract a sizable amount of followers and generate enough engagement, you’ll experience a snowball effect, with more followers sharing your content and bringing in even more followers.
However, at first, you should take advantage of boosted posts and paid ads to help grow your following. Different platforms have different advertising opportunities. Some allow you to boost your posts, so more people see them. Facebook allows you to run campaigns with specific goals, such as getting more page likes.
Sure, it will cost money. However, you get to set your budget. In the long run, it is well worth it. Otherwise, your competitors may be able to get one up on you and beat you in this social media race, making it hard for you to catch up later.
8. Not Being Authentic
Finally, be yourself! A lot of businesses feel the need to adopt a certain tone that isn’t really in line with who they are.
Users can tell when you’re not being authentic and when you’re just putting on a face. It will be harder for you to establish relationships with followers and grow your profile.
While it’s important to remain professional on social media, it’s also critical to remember to be social. Don’t be afraid to let loose a little and be playful or humorous at times.
There are some topics you should probably avoid, however. Politics and religion, for example, can be tricky subjects. Talking about them can alienate a sizable portion of your audience, so tread those waters carefully. You may be doing more harm than good; being authentic also doesn’t mean bringing your personal beliefs into your company image.
It takes time to get a feel for your audience on social media. Each platform is different, and your followers may have different tastes and beliefs on each one. Over time, though, you’ll be able to establish meaningful connections on social media and grow your customer base by avoiding the eight common mistakes I mentioned above.