5 Small Business Social Media Mistakes

business social media mistakes

Small businesses can use social media to boost sales and gain attention from potential customers. Unfortunately, a lot of small businesses make mistakes when trying to harness the power of social media. Some of those are rookie mistakes that are easy to avoid, if you just are conscious of them and work to handle them differently.

Below are 5 of the biggest small business social media mistakes to avoid.

1. Trying to Do Too Much

Using social media well takes a lot of time. That’s a resource that small businesses rarely have. It’s usually best to focus on doing one or two things well instead of using every social media platform available to you.

Instead of doing a bad job on five social media platforms, focus on one that you already know how to use. If you have time later, you can always decide to branch out.

2. Wasting Resources on Ineffective Social Media Campaigns

business social media mistakes

To use social media properly, you need to know what works and what doesn’t. That means you have to measure the success of your strategies.

If you find that your Twitter posts don’t inspire customers, then stop wasting time on them.

If you see that your website gets a lot of attention after you post a video on Facebook, then you should spend more time and money doing that, instead.

3. Missed Branding Opportunities

business social media mistakes

Your company needs a coherent branding term that takes advantage of social media. When you set up profiles, make sure you fill out every piece of information. Most social media sites will give you the chance to include your logo, images, website links and business description.

Taking advantage of these branding opportunities will help customers identify your business. Filling out your company’s profile can also help people find you online. If you skip any aspect of this, then you’ll lose at least one sale. That’s one too many.

4. Speaking Without Listening

business social media mistakes

Social media isn’t about you constantly sending messages to your customers. It’s about starting a conversation.

That means you have to pay attention to what people post on your profile. You should thank people for their kind words and address comments from disgruntled customers. It doesn’t look good for bad comments to sit on your page. If you address those comments with positive, affirmative messages, you can educate your target audience and placate unhappy customers.

This is also a great opportunity for you to learn more about what your customers want. If you don’t pay attention to them, you’ll never learn from their suggestions.

5. Leaving Social Media Profiles Unattended or Inactive

business social media mistakes

Social media is a commitment that requires a little time every day. If you don’t have time to submit a post or send a tweet, then you shouldn’t even bother getting involved.

Yes, people expect businesses to have profiles on Facebook, Twitter and other platforms, but it’s better to disappoint them than to ignore them. When customers see an inactive profile, they could assume that you’ve gone out of business. When they find out that you don’t have a profile, they think, “Why doesn’t so-and-so have a Facebook profile?” It might bewilder them momentarily, but it doesn’t keep them away permanently.

What other small business social media mistakes have you seen?

Images via Shutterstock: Struggling, Trapped, Fail, Talking, Napping


Timothy Carter Industry veteran Timothy Carter is the Chief Revenue Officer for SEO.co. Tim leads all revenue for the company and oversees all customer-facing teams including sales, marketing & customer success.

46 Reactions
  1. #5 is a good point to comment on. I’ve seen magazines hit their social media accounts hard the first week a new issue is published. After the profiles go dark for a month. Better to post things every day and spread out the content.

    • I agree. I used to work for a magazine as an editor, and we ultimately settled on a strategy that involved tweeting news and commentary multiple times per day and posting on Facebook two or three times per day. It worked, and it contributed to the creation of more content on a daily basis.

  2. One other mistake I might add, that is connected to #4 is the content/audience mismatch. Before you select a piece of content to share, you should always ask yourself how relevant it is to your target audience. Nothing REALLY gets the conversation going like a great piece of relevant, targeted and timely content.

    • Really gives food for thought! I absolutely agree with the last point in the comments. It is very important to know your audience and to be able to answer its needs.

  3. These are all excellent points, particularly the second point. The problem with point 2 is knowing whether the social media is productive.

    It’s easy to know it’s a waste if you are garnering any followers but beyond that it gets tough to measure. If the principal purpose of the social media campaign is to develop long term branding or to build a network, then you might spend a tremendous amount of time and effort without any way of knowing whether there will be a long term payoff.

  4. These are all good points, especially the fifth point. I agree that if you don’t have time to submit a post or send a tweet, then you shouldn’t even bother getting started.

    The idea is to keep up with the momentum of social media input and respond to them. This is to build branding and network, so hopefully there will be some long term payoff.

  5. Haha! I know a lot of businesses who are guilty of this. I’ve seen some brands sending messages without even replying to their customers or clients. This is a really interesting article because of the pictures. It just makes me laugh that most of the things listed here are done by most businesses on social media.

  6. I’ve really been trying to work smarter, not harder.

  7. It can be that there is also the lack of analysis and insight from the data you collect. I admit it’s easy to share your stuff on social media networks since it only takes one click, but are you even aware how many people are visiting? What kinds of people are commenting? What posts get the most attention?

    • Toby Beresford - Leaderboarded

      I think this is a really good point Ava – if you’re not going to look at the results why bother doing anything at all?!
      I’ve just released a new product for small business owners called – “Follower of the Week” it lets you see who are your most engaged followers on Twitter (and either keep that secret, nyah ha ha evil laugh) or share it with all your followers – it’s an easy way to recognise your best supporters and create a fun easy to manage weekly competition around your brand.
      Would appreciate feedback as it’s a new product launched today.

  8. A common thread I picked up on throughout the article was consistency. Once you have a strategy in place you need to stick to it in order to reap what you’ve sowed. Think of it like farming. You plant, fertilize, weed, and then harvest after a lot of time & work.

    • Robert:

      I like your farming analogy. You have experienced from that, right?

      Do you think that you should use the word campaign together with social media?

    • I like the concept as well. It is more like setting up a business. You start small and then it grows over time.

  9. Months ago, I came across a VERY popular brand on Facebook that didn’t appear to respond to anything posted on their page, whether it was a question or a comment. All they seemed to post was updates. That was all.

    Maybe they’ve since changed their approach. I hope so.

  10. Social media campaigns, as with anything else, should be left up to the professionals. When you are doing it for your business, it becomes very different than when you are just exchanging quotes and showing off vacation pictures. There is a more urgent sense that needs to be taken and your prospective customers don’t know you like your friends do so it is better to make it more business like and less personal.

  11. Great post, Timothy. It bears mentioning that # 3 also carries significant value for SEO. Not only does failure to complete all the profile information result in missed branding opportunities, it also can take a significant toll on your google organic search ranking.

  12. My biggest mistake was #1: I was trying to get on to as many social platforms as possible, only to find myself get burnt out by the demand for attention of each platform. Not good.

    I end up neglect most of social media platforms I joined and focus on a select few which impacted my sites the most. 80/20 rule rocks!

    • I’m only on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Facebook’s the one I use the most. It’s taking me a while to warm to Twitter. And LinkedIn I only use now and again. If I were to join them all, it would be a full time job.

  13. Tim, Great article!! Very necessary as engaging with customers and growing your business in the social media realm has become a necessity these days. However, like so many trends, it is often done incorrectly and inefficiently. As the Founder and President of a small business navigating the social media world was not easy considering the amount of tasks managed on a daily basis. It became clear that hiring a part time social media manager was the wisest course of action. Not only can she focus her efforts on making sure we have a consistent and reliable social media presence, but she can also help avoid many of the mistakes you mentioned. First and foremost #1 and #2. Because our social media marketing is her focus, she can best track results in numbers and dollars which allows us to invest our time in the right areas, regardless of what’s “hot” at the moment. It is imperative that a company learn what is and is not the right platform to engage.
    Thanks again for a great article.

    Ken Schmitt, Founder/President
    TurningPoint Executive Search & The Sales Leadership Alliance

  14. Back in August we decided to make a commitment to our long-the collected social media campaign and we’ve been conscientiously posting eEvery day to one or more of our social media sites, especially Google+ as it (supposedly) plays a small role in improving our website’s rankings in Google.

    Although we haven’t seen any noticeable increase in sales in the past month, we have noticed that our website has gotten more traffic above and beyond the normal post-Labor Day boost we’ve been seeing for the past several years.

  15. Fantastic post! Another point to add is that many small biz ignore “engagement”, and constantly treat social media as a place to make a sales-pitch. On social media, it’s very little direct sales, but more about engagement and seeing what your existing/potential customers want. First identify fit, examine needs/wants, and only then suggest a trial of your product/service if there’s a match.

  16. Why can’t I find the article?

  17. Totally agree with number 5. You would not open a shop and leave it abandoned and expect it to impress customers to why would you expect an abandoned social media account to impress?

  18. Fantastic post. I think we’ve all been guilty of #5 at some point. It’s important to keep plugging away.

  19. Hey Timothy,

    An informative article. This article has well-explained the mistakes that most of the businesses make in social media marketing. And I am completely agree with you, most of the businesses jump into social media marketing without any proper planning and end up doing most of these mistakes.

    Many businesses fail to interact with their clients and followers by doing all such mistakes. You should know your target audiences. You need to know the preferences of your target audiences. I’m glad that you have covered this topic in such a detailed manner.

    Thanks for sharing it with us.