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Your Business Made Social Media Mistakes? You're In Good Company

I recently read an article on Business Insider’s website titled, “16 Social-Media Mistakes You May Be Making.” As a social media manager, I pretty much live 24/7/365 in the social media world, so I initially looked at this article from a selfish perspective. In other words, I wanted to make sure I wasn’t making any of these mistakes. However, after reading the article, I changed my point-of-view. The 16 “mistakes” listed in the BI article are real “complaints” by real people. A consultant posted the following question on LinkedIn:

What are the biggest mistakes that you find small business leaders make when using social media?

97 people (which I personally think is too small of a sample for deriving any truly valid statistics) responded to the question, and the author of the article lists the most common answers. Either way, the list provides helpful information for businesses that are new to using social media in their marketing.

Instead of focusing on the “mistakes” which are listed in this article as negatives, I see them as potential learning experiences. What good are complaints unless they are acknowledged and dealt with appropriately, right? It seems with so many people complaining about the same things they see businesses doing with social media so often, then many of these mistakes must be quite common — maybe even a rite-of-passage a business should go through.

Now, I’m not condoning bad behavior on social media, especially by businesses. On the other hand, I do support the notion of learning from mistakes. In this case, when businesses can learn by proxy, then they (and their social media followers) benefit.

Are you wondering which social media mistakes made this list? These are a few that I agree should be on every business’ “must-never-do” list:

1) Too much talking and not enough listening

No one wants to hear you only talk about yourself all the time. Listening allows you to learn what your audience really wants and needs and whether or not your business can meet their expectations. Your clients and potential clients would much rather do business with brands that listen and engage with them, whether online or off.

2) Too much self-promotion

This goes hand-in-hand with the first “mistake.” It’s probably true that you have taken your business online as a way to increase your brand’s awareness, to reach more people, and to generate more leads. Finding the right balance is key to online success, however. When you’re only talking about yourself and/or only blasting out your own content, you’re likely to lose a lot of followers and/or draw negative attention to your business.

3) Jumping on the social media bandwagon just because everyone else is

Social media works for a lot of businesses, but it’s not for every business. If you’re considering social media for your business, it’s essential to create and adhere to a plan you can live with. So many businesses start out with great momentum on social media, but fail to maintain their initial enthusiasm. Using social media as a business isn’t something you can do aimlessly or haphazardly. Rather, it requires commitment and dedication, not to mention a healthy dose of creativity.

Over to you

Has your business made any of these common social media mistakes? Not to worry, many others make them, too. As long as you learn from your mistakes and start taking action, you should be able to move on, and be a little wiser from your experience.


Image courtesy of Ambro /