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Biggest mistakes small businesses make on social media

Written by: Tifani Tamayo

Read 3 min

Chances are that if you’re a small business you’re already investing in social media in some way. 

The Manifest surveyed 529 small business owners in the U.S. in 2019 and found that about 70% percent of small businesses are investing in social media marketing.

Whether you’re already doing SMM (or want to start), let’s make sure you’re not making any big mistakes. 

Here are 5 of the top social media mistakes small businesses make.

Mistake #1: Spreading Yourself Too Thin, Being Everywhere

It’s important to know your place and where your audience is. 

Are you a B2C or a B2B business? Are you both?

What are the ages and genders of your audience? What are their interests?

The big three, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, are great for B2C, but the audiences aren’t the same; for example, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter don’t have the same demographics. And yes, Twitter can be effective for B2B but maybe not like LinkedIn, which has great tools to search for specific leads.

Are there smaller, niche social media networks where your unique business can do even better?

Be where your audience is. You don’t need to have a presence everywhere.

Mistake #2: Selling Too Much and Simply Pushing Content Out

Everything you post on social media must be planned out. Why?

Because the key for your small business is to: create value, create value, create value. 

Many industry insiders suggest the 60/30/10 rule of social media: 60% of your posts share valuable content from others (ex: news stories), 30% is your own valuable content (ex: your blog), and 10% is info about your product or service.

Don’t use social media simply to pitch and sell your products and services.

Social media is social and your communication is part of a larger conversation. 
Think less is more. Be creative and strategic and don’t post “just to post”.

Mistake #3: Not Using Tools

Speaking of which, there are many online tools that can help you execute your social media strategy

Tools like:

  • Buzzsumo can help you with keywords
  • Canva can help you make infographics for more visual content
  • SEMrush can keep you organized with a content calendar
  • Hootsuite can help you manage messages across social networks

Don’t be afraid to use tools to assist you in your journey through social media.

Don’t be intimidated or overwhelmed. Most are very easy to use. 

And the best thing is they’re usually offered with free trials or at reasonable prices for small businesses. 

Take advantage of social media tools to create better posts and listen to your customers! There are plenty out there to choose from.

Mistake #4: Obsessing Over Follower Count and Likes

We all aspire to have viral social media content, large follower counts and hundreds of likes whenever we post.

We can add video, use the right hashtags and tag micro-influencers hoping for a viral post. 

But the question is, why exactly do you want to go viral? Out of vanity or real value to you?

Virality or having a large following is hard to achieve and shouldn’t be your focus at all. 

You get more value from a small, engaged community than a large one. 

Be regular and consistent for your audience, no matter the size. Having the right followers is what matters!

Mistake #5: Not Being Patient Enough

Social media marketing is constantly evolving.

There are so many factors and trends outside of your control. Social media networks often change their practices, causing some businesses to quit social media and not look for alternatives.

Also… sometimes it’s hard to see the fruits of your labor. Many small businesses (and big businesses too!) have trouble calculating social media ROI, so they give up.

Don’t be discouraged by change or not seeing results in the short-term. 

Social media marketing is all about the long-term.  

Have patience. Keep at it. The rewards will come with time.

In conclusion

Customers are online and looking for your small business. One third of customers search for local businesses EVERY single day.

Though there is no secret formula, you can set yourself up for social media success by avoiding the mistakes above.

Find where your customers are. See what social media network best benefits your small business and adjust your social media strategy (or create one if you’ve yet to). 

Plan focused and valuable content. Use tools along the way. Stick to it and be patient.

With a plan and with time, your small business will see results!

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