10 Common Social Media Mistakes to Avoid

Almost every business you can think of right now has a social media account. From Lush to Wendy's and thousands of businesses in between owning a social media account for your business is essential to reaching your target audience. It allows you to engage with your existing customers, learn more about them and provide unlimited opportunities for your business to be shared. As great as that sounds, social media could just as easily be the cause of a business to lose hundreds of followers, customers, and possibly even their business, all because of one wrong post. So here's a list of things to avoid, to make your social media journey a little less scary and a lot more successful.

1.    Going Ghost
Social media was made for communication on a massive scale. It's your job to take advantage of that. The number of people you could reach is practically endless and your target audience wants to hear from you. Creating a brand is not just about producing and selling your product or service it's about sharing it with your target audience to stay connected and gain their loyalty. You're not going to do that by creating a social media account and not using it. Make sure when you create your social media account that you update it on a regular basis in order to keep your audience engaged. 

2.    Going in Without a Plan
Before you could bring your business to life you had to have a business plan. Most likely that plan included finance and marketing and all the other things you knew your business would need. As a major part of marketing today, social media should definitely be on that list and that means you need a strategy. This allows you to set goals for yourself and complete the objectives necessary to reach them. Know what works, know what doesn't and play to the strengths you'll discover when you do. 

3.    Ignoring Negative Comments
We all know negative comments are bound to happen on the internet. We're practically trained to ignore them because no one wants to believe someone would say something negative about them or their brand. But in order to build your connection with your audience, it's important to read and respond to negative comments in a timely and professional way. In order to figure out what the root of the problem may be, you have to communicate. This is especially for reviews and any negative comment about your brand in order to avoid losing existing customers as well as potential customers who could be reading those comments.

4.    Getting Too Political
This is one that, while it sounds obvious, gets more businesses in trouble than you think. It's so easy for a single post on social media to be construed as a massive political statement. No matter what your personal political views are it's important to keep your business on neutral ground in order to avoid offending a number of your target audience, possibly losing new and existing customers. No, I'm not telling you to go temporarily blind to current events or be pretend not to hear the news. But mixing politics with your message is just taking a big risk that you may not be able to recover from. 

5.    Always Trying to Go Viral
As much as going viral seems like something you would like to do, don't try to make it happen. Your goals for social media should align with reaching your audience in an effective way. You don't want fifteen seconds of fame. You want twenty-four hours of it. Longevity is key when it comes to communication between you and your audience and if you go viral, cool, but if you don't it doesn't matter as long as you're maintaining your relationship with your customers. 

6.    Being All Business
Social media is a great business tool because it allows you to make connections and build relationships through a multitude of platforms. If you're spamming their newsfeed with ads every time you post, your audience will view you as less personable and could lose interest. That would be the opposite of what you created your social media account for. It's okay to show your human side. If you're responding to a comment, address the writer by their name. Relate to your customers by showing them you understand how they feel and bring a more human side to your brand. They don't want another faceless brand.

7.    Never Posting Original Content
Sure everyone likes a productive retweet or inspirational repost every once in a while. But if your social media account is covered with content that someone else came up with, you run the risk of looking unoriginal and lacking a strong voice. Set yourself apart from the crowd and get some original content out there. You want people to come back to your site and bring awareness to your brand. You can't do that if you don't put your words on your social media. 

8.    Only Using it for Crisis Situations
Social media gives you the opportunity to respond to comments and reviews almost as soon as they're posted. With that in mind, it's very easy to get overwhelmed trying to respond to those comments in a timely manner and maintain consistent, engaging posts. The thing is, only making your presence known during times of crisis doesn't bode well for your reputation. In order to build positive brand awareness, you need to be present during the good times and the bad. 

9.    Not Knowing Your Audience
This is a big one. In order to have a good social media strategy, you need to know which social media platforms your target audience is on and how much they interact with it. If you spend your time chasing the newest form of social media, you could end up spending valuable time and manpower in an area that you would get a much stronger response from elsewhere. Know who you're trying to reach and focus your efforts where there's a higher chance of interaction.

10.    Expecting it to Work Overnight
Sure, social media is an immediate type of communication, but effective communication is not something that just happens. It takes strategy and time to determine what works best for your business and what you should do to keep improving. Strong relationships don't spring up overnight. They're built on interaction, conversation, and trust. You won't achieve any of that without putting the time in and sticking with it. 

Avoiding these social media mistakes will help give you more of an opportunity to give your business a positive presence on social media. Utilizing that presence in today's market is a move you need to make in order to stay relevant and keep your brand awareness high. It may seem like an overwhelming task but you don't have to do it on your own. Leading Lady PR specializes in communication and helping you reach your target audience in today's market. Social media can be something like a monster sometimes but can help you tame the beast.