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Jun 19, 2023

How to Avoid Common Social Media Mistakes - and What to do Instead

For small businesses, a presence on social media platforms can be a valuable (and free!) marketing tool. Whether it's Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Facebook or elsewhere, it’s critical to leverage the power of social media for the benefit of your brand. But with all eyes on your brand can be the potential for missteps and mistakes. So how can you make sure you’re doing it right? Here are 7 of the most common social media errors, and what to be doing instead. 

Not having a plan

Before diving in headfirst, set clear goals and objectives for what you want to accomplish on each social media platform you use. Your social media channels should reflect your company’s values and strengthen your brand, and remember, you don't have to be on all channels. Without a plan, it’s easy to get lost in the noise of all the other accounts out there competing for attention.

Not Posting Consistently

One of the biggest mistakes businesses new to social media make is not posting consistently. If you want loyal followers who will engage with your content, it’s important to build trust by maintaining a consistent presence on your chosen platform(s). A good rule of thumb is to post several times a week (but no more than a couple times a day), so that your followers know when they can expect new content from you.

Posting Irrelevant Content

A surefire way to lose followers and potential customers is by posting irrelevant content on your page. This could include anything from political statements to personal musings; content that has nothing to do with your brand or mission statement should be avoided at all costs – and there are ample examples of businesses who have learnt this lesson the hard way. Before posting anything on any platform, ask yourself if it’s relevant to your business and its mission. If not, don’t post it.

Failing To Engage With Your Audience

Social media isn’t just about pushing out content – it’s also about connecting! That means responding to comments in an appropriate manner (not just using canned responses), interacting with other users through likes and shares, and hosting polls or “ask me anything” sessions. Committed engagement will go a long way towards building relationships with your network – which is essential if you want them to become paying customers.

Using Too Many (or the Wrong) Hashtags

Hashtags are an important part of getting noticed on social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter, but using too many hashtags in one post can be off-putting for potential customers. Stick to using 3 to 5 relevant hashtags for each post. Similarly, if you’re using the wrong ones, you won’t be connecting with your target audience. Using ultra-popular hashtags isn't always the best strategy for reach and engagement as they are less likely to be seen. #trending. Do some sleuthing to find out which hashtags are trending, fall in the 10K-200K number of posts, and are relevant to your business.

Not Understanding Each Platform

No two social media platforms are the same. Every platform has its own set of rules and best practices, so it’s important to understand the nuances of each one before jumping in. On Instagram you’ll need to use eye-catching images and videos, while posting on LinkedIn will call for a more business or career-oriented pitch. Make sure you’re familiar with all the features and functions of each platform so that you can use them to your advantage.

Ignoring Analytics

Analytics are an invaluable tool for any business owner looking to make the most of their social media presence. This data can help inform your strategy by providing insights into which posts are performing well and which aren’t. It can also give you a sense of who your target audience is and what they’re interested in. Many platforms offer their own insight so you can do a review of your top performing content over the past year. 


The Small to Medium Enterprise Institute at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce (SME Institute).

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