Small Business Social Media: Mistakes to Avoid and Tips for Success

Social media has changed the way we communicate. Whether or not a business should have a presence on social platforms is no longer the question. Rather, brands have to decide how they can best use social media to promote their products or services.

As an entrepreneur or small business owner, you have a finite amount of time as you juggle the numerous hats you must wear. You may feel that you have neither the time to spend your day navigating social media platforms nor the resources to hire a social media specialist to do it for you. However, time and resources strategically invested in social media marketing will increase your brand awareness, grow traffic, and positively impact customer satisfaction.

That being said, the simple act of using social media doesn’t make it an effective marketing tool. Success requires intentionally executed strategies, and a commitment of human and financial resources to your social media campaigns Poorly planned and executed efforts will merely drain your resources and generate a negative return on your investment.

In this particular piece, we’ll take a look at some social media mistakes to avoid as well as some tips for social media success. If you are interested in other social media focused topics, see some of our other articles:

Social Media Engagement Tips from Baby Boomers to Gen Z

Social Media – Getting Started is the Toughest Step

Hashtags. Let’s Talk #s




1. Spreading Yourself Too Thin

A sound social media strategy is more than creating a brand profile and posting from time to time. To help stand out from your competitors, you have to post content that informs, educates, or taps into your followers’ emotions. You also have to engage with platform users on a regular basis. If you set up a brand profile on every available social media platform and attempt to maintain an active presence on all of them, you’ll quickly find yourself doing nothing but social media 24/7. It is best to start with one platform, develop your brand profile, be intentional with your content, and curate a following. THEN add another social media platform, do the same thing, and so on.

2. Having a Homogeneous Strategy

Yes, it saves time to take one piece of content and push it out on all of your social media accounts. But each social media platform is tailored to a different audience and you will find more success if you have a unique strategy for each platform. Users should have a clear reason to follow your brand on each platform. You will most likely find more interest in your blog posts on LinkedIn than you will on Twitter. In the same light, a product video that is a smash hit on Instagram probably won’t have the same draw on LinkedIn.

3. Ignoring Comments

When a social media user takes the time to reach out to your brand with a comment, a quick and thoughtful response is the best response. Social media requires engagement, interaction, two-way communications. A lack of brand response to followers’ comments projects an image of brand-centered sales instead of a desire to engage with loyal customers.

4. Selling Too Much or Not Selling Enough

Social media platforms are not the place for a hard sell of your products or services. The more effective approach is to build solid relationships with your social media community first, and then work into the idea of a business relationship.

In the same light, if your social media strategy doesn’t involve some level of sales strategy, you might as well stick to your personal social accounts. Yes, you are looking to build brand awareness and credibility, but at the same time, that should lead to sales. A gradual build up of lead and revenue generation activities will help your social media accounts do their part towards converting followers into customers.

5. Failing to Measure Performance

Without an established means of evaluating your social media campaigns, you will have no idea how well, or poorly, they are working. This leaves you without the ability to improve your campaigns and can waste any investment you’ve made. Social media platforms all provide insights and analytics as to the performance of your social posts. There are also other resources such as Hootsuite and Planoly that can provide an even more comprehensive understanding of how your campaigns are doing in regards to engagement, lead building, and more.



1. Schedule in Advance

One of the most effective ways to save time is to schedule your social media content. This means you create your content early and understand how it all interacts and flows. Create a calendar that helps you track your social media posts. It puts all of your content in one place and allows your team to easily collaborate on social efforts and to make any updates or changes as needed. Scheduling tools such as Hootsuite and Planoly are an additional timesaver as they let you set up weeks of posts at a time. If you choose to go this route, be advised to keep an eye on the posts as they are pushed out to ensure everything goes as planned. You’ll also want to stay aware of how the reception of any of your previously scheduled content might inadvertently be influenced by current events.

2. Customize Content

What you post is as important as how often you post. That is why a comprehensive strategy that targets a specific social media audience is one of the keys to social success. Understand your target demographic, which social platforms they use, when they use them, the type of content they are most likely to interact with, and so on. Then create content that takes as many of those variables into consideration as possible. Your copy and images need to speak directly to your audience in a manner that reflects their language and interests.

3. Stand Out in a Crowd

Truly, the first goal of your content is to entice a user to stop scrolling through the hundreds if not thousands of posts in his feed. Generic product information or flat out sales promotions will most likely result in a lackluster response and minimal engagement. Instead, focus on original content that is centered around your target audience.

Posts with images tend to have higher engagement levels than posts with text only. And posts with videos tend to have higher engagement levels than posts with images. Instead of posting a description of a service or picture of a product, show a video of a consumer interacting with your brand and talking about how they have benefited from the customer-business relationship. Bring value to your audience in an interactive manner that educates, entertains, touches emotions, or challenges people to think.

4. Use Metrics that Inform Action

Track and measure the effectiveness of your social media activity to understand whether or not your efforts worked. While vanity metrics (such as the number of likes on a post) might make you feel good, or bad, metrics that are actionable are more valuable. It doesn’t take much thought or intentionality to hit a “like” button. Measurements focused on engagement such as shares, retweets, interaction with content, etc. are more indicative of success as they require conscious, intentional action on the part of the viewer. In the same way, the number of new followers is more informative than the number of likes as those people are asking for more of your content in their feed.

It’s important to set goals and benchmarks for each metric you choose to utilize so you can make better sense of progress and growth. It also provides more accountability for you and your team. The good news is that a plethora of social media marketing software is available to help you take your analytics to the next level. Check out OptInMonster’s article: 32 Social Media Marketing Tools that Will Give You an Unfair Advantage.

5. Engage with Customers

An engaged and satisfied customer is one of your best online allies. Their positive feedback and willingness to share their experiences with your brand provides the social proof that will convince others to convert from followers to customers. The key is to let your brand’s personality come through in your social media interactions to help humanize your business and build solid relationships. Find ways to encourage personal connections. Sometimes it might be through non-brand related topics. Perhaps it will be through “Did You Know” posts about you and your team members or “Giving Back” posts that highlight any community or charity work your brand takes part in.



Social media is an excellent way to connect with existing and potential customers and yet those efforts can be overwhelming whether you are a team of one or have a robust staff. The way to make it more manageable is to be strategic and intentional in your planning, content creation, and execution.


1. Spread Yourself Too Thin

2. Have a Homogeneous Strategy

3. Ignore Comments

4. Sell Too Much or Not Enough

5. Fail to Measure Performance


1. Schedule in Advance

2. Customize Content

3. Stand Out in a Crowd

4. Use Metrics that Inform Action

5. Engage with Customers


The experts at Strategy Driven Marketing have worked with brands of all sizes and across all industries. We can help you make the most of your social media efforts through a tailored marketing plan, content creation, social media management, and more. Whatever your social media needs are, SDM is ready for the challenge. Contact us today to get started!

Cover photo by from Pexels