I know that doing your Social Media feels like a minefield sometimes as there are so many rules, everything keeps changing and sometimes you wonder why you’re even doing it because you don’t see the return. The following 10 points will show you what you might be doing that you should stop doing and what not to do so you can avoid making these mistakes.

You are not creating a buzz – Don’t you love being the first to know about something and the buzz you get when you tell your friends/work colleagues something which they are surprised / happy / shocked about? Yeah – well so do your potential customers. So DON’T BE BORING. No-one likes a ‘me, me, me, buy my shit’ social media account. But they DO love learning new and interesting stuff they didn’t know before, or having a laugh, or having a WOW – experience that they can pass on to their mates. So, get the word out about your products and services in a way that promotes online conversation and increases engagement.

You sound like a brochure instead of a conversation with a friend. People don’t want to read stuff on social media that sounds like a brochure or a technical manual (expanding on the first point). Be yourself, and talk like you would talk to me if I was sitting here next to you. Trust comes through honesty and sincerity.

Branding – It is extremely important for a small business to create a recognisable identity for your product or service. Most small businesses or solopreneurs don’t get this. Your Brand is not just your logo – it is what you want to be known as and for. So don’t be vanilla – which is a great ice cream flavour but NOT good for branding. Let people know what you stand for – however controversial. You cannot be liked by all the people all the time on social media.

On off posting.  Most business owners are very busy creatures. If you don’t have time to spend an hour or two a day on social media (and you shouldn’t have) – then make sure you have a solution to that. Get someone else in the business to take responsibility or outsource it. Nothing says – “we have possibly gone out of business” or “we are not really a serious/modern business” like not having posted on social media for a few weeks.

It’s not SALES it’s SOCIAL – People hate to be sold to but they love to buy. Most people like spending money on things THEY have chosen to speand money on. They DON’T go on social media to be sold to. They go to be SOCIAL. It’s online networking. So get to know people and show them you are the authority in your field. With Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter (among many, many others) you can hold personal conversations with each of your customers. Tell them about new products, sales and coupons, suggestions and tips – the topics are endless! Just don’t be selling all the time.

Small business thinking it is not for them.  Wrong! In the past, it was very difficult to compete with the advertising and marketing budgets of large companies. With the right type of viral social media, you could potentially get an immense amount of traffic which keeps coming for a long time. And you can test FB and Twitter ads for a couple of pounds a day. If you don’t know how to do that – outsource it and use the power of social media advertising.

Online reputation management – Social Media is a good way to keep an eye on what other people are saying about your name, company, or brand online – and if any problems or complaints arise, they can be dealt with. Most companies aren’t doing that – but it is easy to set up and really important for you to know about. It is vital to jump on any negative noise sooner rather than later. And if there is no noise – well that is telling you something and you need to listen!

Thinking Your Big Following Are Seeing Your Posts– We have a client with 12,000 followers on Facebook. Of which between 120 and 480 at most see any one of her posts. Organic is no longer enough with FB changes of algorithm. However, the good news is social media marketing shouldn’t cost a small business nearly as much as traditional advertising. If you do it yourself it shouldn’t cost more than your daily cup of coffee. It will however cost you time. This is why it is a good idea to hire someone to help with the social media marketing.

Not finding out exactly what your customers want – Social media is amazing in so many ways, as you can see from the last 8 points. But, maybe one of the most amazing things about it is that you don’t have to wonder what your customers want. You want to know what they want? Just ask them! This is something many businesses forget to do. They talk about what THEY find interesting and exciting (which is fine) but if that is not what your CUSTOMERs also find interesting then it is going to fall on deaf ears. So have a look at what they are talking about/commenting on and then provide the answers.

Google is great but Social Media Works Better for Small Businesses.  A lot of small businesses waste money on Google. Google CAN be a very effective way of finding new business but you have to have a BUDGET for it. If you do not then you can waste what, for you, might be a lot of money – but for Google – is pigeon feed. But if you’re not high enough in the search engines for potential customers to find you, don’t worry they can still find you through social media. Even if you’re not on the front page of Google, it doesn’t mean you can’t receive traffic.

So, there you have it. All small businesses should take advantage of the benefits social media can provide you with, it’s a no-brainer!