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Social media is the best vehicle for propelling your small business quickly and gaining momentum you can build on. But it’s not just about creating an account on Twitter or Facebook. You need to invest time and resources to get your audience engaged and interested in what you have to say. In other words, you have to know what to do and what to avoid.

Here are six key social media mistakes that you need to avoid making, otherwise it’s a quick descent to the purgatory of social media irrelevance.

1. Underestimating the work involved

Creating an account on every social platform might not take too long… until you need to manage them. Before you get on a social network, ask yourself this question: Do you have the time and resources to manage all of your communities, to share content on a regular basis and to keep your community engaged and happy? Be realistic when evaluating your assets and your abilities to ensure that you can be successful on every social platform you choose to use. Read our post to learn more about the major social media platforms and which one your business should be on.

What is important to understand is that managing social media is not a nine to five kind of job. You need to be present and on your game 24/7. If you don’t have a dedicated social media manager and you’re choosing to manage social media yourself, you will need to take charge of content creation and monitoring of your social media feeds. This is no easy task so make sure you put in the work if you want to get real results.

2. Ignoring the community

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The failure to listen to or engage with your audience in a timely manner can be detrimental to your small business. If your fans or followers ask questions, post comments or share positive or negative feedback, you need to respond. While not all brands can provide 24/7 customer service support, it’s vital to respond to all questions and feedback in a timely manner. If you ignore them, don’t be surprised if they do the same with you.

3. Talking at your audience, not with them

Don’t barge into their timelines with boring content. Make an impression with great content, an intelligent response, a genuine question, etc. Add some of your brand’s personality into every piece of content that you share on social media.

Get this right and you’re on your way to selling without selling. Your key objective should be to get their attention and to stimulate engagement, and you will never be able to achieve this with boring content. Don’t know what type of content to share or where to find it? You might find the following resources useful:

4. Too many brand mentions, not enough value

If you’re constantly promoting your brand without actually engaging with your audience, you might as well give up. While self-promotion is fine when you’re launching a new product or trying to get the word out about a special offer, there needs to be a balance between interesting content and marketing.

Follow the 80/20 rule: 80% interesting content and engagement and 20% promotion. It’s the first one that will get your audience interested in what you have to say. If you only go with old-fashioned one-way advertising, it will only hurt your business.

5. Failing to plan

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Stop expecting for your content to go viral, and stop expecting for people to flock to your site by the thousands just because you’re on Twitter. For that to happen, you first need to create a buzz, let people know you’re there and build their trust through great content.

Whatever type of content you choose to share, whether it’s polls, videos or images, you need to create a social media calendar where you decide what to post, when and where. No matter what your objectives are – to get more leads, to sell or to increase brand awareness – make sure you plan your content with them in mind. If you don’t set any objectives, how can you possibly measure the results? Learn more about how to create a social media action plan that works.

6. Losing enthusiasm

One of the worst things you can do is to lose enthusiasm after a strong start. Many brands have high expectations at the beginning, hoping that they’ll get thousands of fans and followers in a few days or weeks or that their content will become viral overnight. And when they see that it doesn’t happen as quickly as they want it to, they lose focus or become lazy.

What brands don’t realise is that if your enthusiasm fades, the momentum will also tail off. So tweak your content to see what works best, spy on your competition to see what’s working for them and adapt to what your audience reacts best to.

Wrapping up

These are some of the most common mistakes that brands make on social media. Avoid making them and you’ll be able to create a vibrant and engaging social media presence. Just make sure to make the time to not only create social media accounts but also to engage with your community and to share content that they find interesting.

What other mistakes should brands avoid making on social media? Let us know via Twitter @123Reg

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