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  • Writer's pictureLindsey Burda

10 Social Media No-nos to Avoid if You Want Your Small Business to Thrive Online.

Updated: Sep 17, 2023

10 Social Media No-nos to Avoid if You Want Your Small Business to Thrive Online. Woman using cell phone for online search.

Social media can be an amazing marketing tool, I’m sure that’s not a surprise to you; Most businesses realize the benefits and power social media can have for their brand.

It can help boost awareness of your business, help you connect with your ideal audience, and can increase sales.

However, in some cases, social media can do more harm than good. On the bright side, this can easily be avoided. But, if you’re not using social media “correctly,” and I use that term loosely, but if you’re not using it correctly you could actually be doing more harm than good.

So, do social media right because statistics don’t lie.

Social media is a place to be, well, social. For consumers it is a place to connect with businesses, to get to know them, to get the inside look, to see how the business connect with your consumers. They want to feel you out to see if spending their hard-earned cash with you is worth it.

As consumers we are likely to research products, services, and businesses, especially service-based businesses, online before making that purchase decision.

According to GlobalWebIndex, 54% of social media users use social media to research products and 71% are more likely to purchase products and services based on social media referrals.

71% of consumers who have had a positive experience with a brand on social media are likely to recommend the brand to their friends and family. And did you know that 90% of people buy from brands they follow on social media

Those numbers sounds great, right? So, how could social media hurt your business?

Well, for one, simply having a presence on social media and posting here and there “just to post” is not going to cut it, and, as I said earlier, can cause more harm than good. So, what about social media is actually hurting businesses?

Here are 10 things to avoid (and what to do instead):

  1. Avoid inconsistent posting. If you post sporadically; once a week, then two weeks later, then 6 months from now, it can be really hard to stay top of mind with you followers. If a potential new client stumbles across your account and sees you haven’t posted in the last 6 months they may not bother reaching out. They'll assume you don’t monitor the account any more, or worse, may assume you are no longer in business. INSTEAD: Pick a schedule and post consistently. 2 days and week, 5 days a week? Doesn’t matter just stay consistent. However, don’t post more than once a day because people see this as spammy and may unfollow if you are sharing too much.

  2. Don't ignore comments and direct messages (DMs): I know, we are all busy. But if you ignore comments and DMs, it shows the public that you have poor customer service. That you won’t respond in a timely manner if they have questions, and that you won’t care that they needed your help. I once tried reaching out to an account like this and did not get a response until one month later! By then I had taken my business elsewhere. No hard feelings, but you can't expect your audience to wait, you'll just lose them. INSTEAD: Reply to all comments and all DMs, and try to do so within 24 hours.

  3. Don't abandon your social media accounts: This ties in a bit with number one but takes it a bit further. If you do not have time to manage an existing business social media account, either outsource the task or delete the account entirely. Having an abandoned social account is like having an open sign on your store front but no one is inside to assist your customers. They are going to turn around and walk right out the door because no one is home. They likely will assume that you are no longer in business and will turn to your competition for help. INSTEAD: Post consistently and engage with followers or outsource the task to someone who can manage it for you. If you can’t do either of these, it’s best to not have the account at all.

  4. Avoid posting irrelevant content: Posting random content on social media helps no one. It doesn’t help you and it doesn’t help your prospect. Please don’t post about national ice cream day (I mean, unless you actually sell ice cream). INSTEAD: Keep your content relative to what you actually offer. Give value in everything you post. A little value goes a long way and will keep people coming back for more. Have a plan to post content that benefits your business and your followers.

  5. Not having a strategy: Why are you posting on social media? What is the goal? If you are simply posting because it’s what you are supposed to do these days, then you should stop posting and remember this; Social media is no different from any other medium used to market and advertise your business. In fact, I would argue it’s one of the better ones! It is 100% free, it gives you a direct line of communication with the public, and can convert followers into paying clients. INSTEAD: Create a strategy that works for you. One that you can stick with.

  6. Avoid being a 24/7 commercial: Why do you think most online commercials have a “skip” button? Because we hate commercials. People want value, as consumers of media, we want something that will help us solve a particular need. INSTEAD: Your social media content should be offering tips and tricks, how to’s, educational content, and more that is relevant to your brand and offer. Posting exclusively about your offer once in a while is just fine, just don’t do it every day.

  7. Not Optimizing Your Bios: Your bios should give a clear message as to what you can do for your prospects. Short and sweet and to the point. Don't waste this precious space to repeat your name or title. For example, Sara Smith. Business Coach. One on One Coaching. This doesn’t show me the value. But… INSTEAD: Give a clear message on what you do, something like, “Helping you get new clients and referrals through social media."

  8. Cold Pitching: (I see this a lot on LinkedIn) No one likes it. Do you like it when people cold pitch to you on social media? Slide into your DMs with a sales pitch? No. You don’t. So, why would you think your pitch is any different. It’s not. INSTEAD: make genuine connections on social media, just like you would in real life. Make connections, make friends even. These connection can turn into leads or these connections may get you leads. Keep it warm and friendly. It goes a long way. This is how I’ve gotten 90% of my clients.

  9. Not keeping your personal life/posts separate: Sharing your personality and sharing your personal life are not the same thing. Followers follow you for the value you bring, the value that can help them, so you sharing the cute thing your puppy or kid did today isn’t going to help them. Showing what you made for dinner isn’t going to help them. INSTEAD: Show behind the scenes of how you run your business. Show how excited you get when you book a new client. Show how happy you are when you’re client has an amazing win for themselves! Show something that wasn’t working for you and how you fixed it. Show your emotions around all these things. This keep it focused on business while still being personal.

  10. Not being authentic: This is an extension of the point above to be real. You don’t need a filter on every photo or video. You don’t need to be sunshine end smiles 24/7. People can’t relate to that. You will seem out of reach. INSTEAD: Share the good and the bad. Share your story. Share the journey. Share obstacles you’ve had to overcome. Don’t over edit everything and please stop using filters. We want to see the real you!

Follow these 10 tips and remember, consumers look to your social media accounts because:

  • They want to get to know you and your brand better.

  • They want to see what you offer and they want value.

  • They want to see that you are responsive, consistent, and reliable.

It sounds like a lot of effort on the consumers' part, but actually consumers can make these judgments within just a few minutes of reviewing your online profiles. In mere minutes, they can decide if they will do business with you or not.

If you have a business account on social media but are not actively posting and engaging, you are sending the message that you just don't care to be available and that customer service isn't a priority and in with that you are certainly losing out on business!

Remember, Millennials and Get Z, who make up a huge percentage of consumers today, practically grew up with Google and social media, we have no plan B.

If we can’t find you or connect with you fast, we move on. Because we know we can find someone else who will be there to help.

How about you? Do you need help with your online presence? Reach out. I handle all things marketing for small to medium businesses :)

For more marketing tips see my blog on 10 Marketing Ideas for Small Businesses.


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