7 Surprising Mistakes You’re Making with Social Media

By Maria Peagler

Sep 03

7 Surprising Things You're Doing Wrong with Social MediaEver wished you could have a professional analyze your social media efforts and provide suggested improvements?  That’s what today’s article is all about.  After years of training small business owners how to use social media, I’m sharing the biggest mistakes I see — and how you can avoid them.

1.  Appealing to an Unprofitable Target Audience

The audience you want may not be the one that pays the bills.

Let me say that again:  the audience you WANT may not be the one that is PROFITABLE.  In helping small business owners develop a strategy, our first step is defining their audience.  I’ve noticed an interesting trend:  entrepreneurs often want an audience based on ego, ideas of success, or by watching what other successful people are doing.

But that probably isn’t the most profitable audience for you.  After all, your ego doesn’t balance the books, an idea isn’t backed by solid numbers, and successful people often are unprofitable.

The lesson?  Run your numbers.  Find out who your most profitable audience is.

Here’s an example:  a coaching client wanted to appeal to a target audience of women ages 25-35.  However, when we looked at her Facebook Insights, we saw that her most loyal group of fans were older women 55+ (who also happen to have far more disposable income than young women).  This entrepreneur was basing her social media strategy on what her ego wanted, rather than what her business needed to stay profitable.

2.  Executing Social Media without a Strategy

Pilots never fly without filing a flight plan.  You consult your smartphone’s map app before heading out on a trip.  So why are you still doing social media without developing a strategy?

When people join SMOC, they’re often frustrated that their previous social media efforts haven’t paid off.  They’re overwhelmed, confused, and often skeptical that social can actually work for their business.

Social works for any business:  what they’re missing is a unique strategy customized for their business, their fans, and their entrepreneurial style.  Imagine you’re being fitted for a custom-tailored suit:  the tailor takes endless measurements and expertly crafts a garment that fits like a glove.

That’s what a strategy can do for you.  Stop wasting time on social networks that don’t fit your business.  Make time to craft a tailored plan for your social media, and you’ll be amazed at how little time you spend making social profitable.

3.  Assuming You Should Be Marketing on Facebook

I have yet to see a single business owner that doesn’t believe they should be on Facebook.  After all, 1 billion consumers makes for a highly desirable audience, doesn’t it?

But it may not be right for you.

Here’s an example:  a member recently reached out to me in the Forum, asking how to get more Facebook fans.  She said her financial services business has a business page, but most of their clients aren’t on Facebook.


” . . . most of their clients aren’t on Facebook . . . ”

That sentence tells me that Facebook will never provide ROI for her financial business.  If your audience isn’t there, how can you get fans?  Who’s going to pay attention to your posts, photos, and videos you painstakingly create & share?

MEMBERS:  Here’s a bonus tip for you:  which social network should you be on even if your customers aren’t?  Read the surprising answer below (you must be logged in to see the Members-Only Tip):

4.  Not Using Video

Yep.  This is a drum I continue to beat, but few business owners are confident enough to get in front of the camera. Video is THE biggest missed opportunity for small business.


Because everyone watches YouTube.  Period.

Which makes it the second largest search engine in the world, behind Google.

So if you’re not on YouTube, you are missing out on getting traffic to your website & getting discovered by potential clients.

Your video doesn’t have to be expensive, slick, or professionally produced.

It just has to be YOU.

5.  Posting Inconsistently

What days do you post to social networks?  Which ones?

Do you know which days are best for your target audience? And are you targeting a profitable target audience (see #1)?

Facebook just made it dead simple to find out when the best days & times are to reach your audience with their new Insights.

Have you reviewed yours lately?  What did it tell you?

Make a plan now based on those Insights.  Or whatever is best for your schedule.  Just make sure you are consistent, especially in Facebook.  Because being seen & shared is crucial to getting into your fans’ News Feeds.

6.  Not Measuring ROI for each Social Network

Speaking of Insights, have you been reviewing yours?

Most small business owners don’t.  They’re not easy to figure out (until you watch my videos and webinars), there’s too much data to wade through, and it can seem impossible to figure out what metrics to measure.

Facebook, YouTube, and Pinterest all provide analytics telling you who your audience is and how they’re using your presence there.  Take a few minutes each week to check these:  notice trends and patterns, what content people really like, who your audience is, and start doing more of what’s working for you.

7.  Ignoring No-Brainers to Get Increased Sales

Every entrepreneur can make a few simple tweaks to their social media and website to make getting leads and sales easier.  Steps like using Facebook’s custom tabs, inserting your website URL as the first line of a YouTube video description, and using keywords on your Pinterest boards.  These are small steps that add up to a collective win:  greater visibility, more traffic, and leads for your business.

How do you figure out what those tweaks are?  Educate yourself.  Take a few minutes each day to learn a little more about the social networks you should be using and how to be effective on them.

Are you making any of these mistakes yourself?   That’s actually a good thing.  Making mistakes is one of the steps we all take on the road to success.


About the Author

Founder of Socialmediaonlineclasses.com, Benjamin Franklin award-winner for independent publishing, award winning author of eight books, wife, mom, quilter and watercolor artist.

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[…] There are also plenty of small businesses that use social media completely wrong. The biggest mistake businesses make on social media is the lack of understanding they have for the right audience, according to Social Media Online Classes. […]

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