7 Social Media Mistakes Every Small Business Should Avoid

There's no question that social media marketing is a major tactic used by all kinds of small businesses. But, while many businesses see the value in social media marketing, not all of them are using social media effectively. 

eMarketer reports that just over half (53 percent of small businesses) said they use social media as their main source for online marketing. Another eMarketer survey found that 40 percent of small to medium-sized businesses use social media ads to generate brand awareness and revenue.


While there's lots of room for creativity in strategic campaign planning, there are also some common mistakes small businesses need to avoid when using social media for their business. Here are 7 Social Media mistakes every small business should avoid.

1. Trying To Use Every Social Media Network

There are so many social media networks out there: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and Pinterest, just to name a few.  While you should consider several social sites, you shouldn’t use them all.


Spreading yourself too thin is an easy mistake to make, but it’s one that can negatively impact your business when you can’t use them all well. I usually advise my clients to start with 1-2 social networks and try to master those.  Once you feel like you have an active community and social media strategy, build on that by exploring another network where you ideal clients are online.


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2. Failing To Identify a Target Audience

Not all social media users are exactly the same. It's true that 59% of Facebook users are between the ages of 25 and 54, and that 71 percent of Pinterest users are female.  But, those are very general statistics that you shouldn’t base your entire campaign on.


Do your homework and know what kinds of networks attract the demographics you're trying to reach. Then, refine your campaign so that all of your posts are designed to attract and engage your niche market, or your ideal customer, so you’ll see a higher ROI.

Remember, when you try to speak to everyone, you are speaking to no one.

3. Posting Without A Clear Strategy

It’s far too easy to waste a lot of time posting entertaining things on social media that don’t help you reach your goals. Outline your social strategy and the type of content will help you reflect that.


If you aren’t sure what your messaging should look like, ask yourself these questions from the perspective of your ideal client:

  • “What's in it for me?” (Provide information that will help in their business or personal life).
  • "Can you help me with...?" (Solve a common problem).
  • "How does this compare to...? (Review a product or service).


4. Posting Too Much Or Not Enough

Unfortunately, there isn’t a magic number that will tell you exactly how often you should post to each of your social media accounts. There's  a lot of research about how often you should post to various social networks, which can give you some good starting points.  I even heard another interesting point of view from Michael Stelzner on a Buffer podcast and he said:

"High-quality content can be seen at any time, the old mentality of scheduling when people are there, can be thrown out the window."

Ultimately it’s up to you to find what works for your brand and audience, which will take some experimenting. Do this strategically by making a plan, posting high-quality content and then tracking your results.

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5. Using Social Media As A One-Way Tool

The beauty of social media is that it allows for two-way conversations. If you use it as a one-way tool for pushing out messages, you are missing out on a lot of benefits. Some of these include connecting with your audience on a deeper level, reputation management opportunities, and the chance to learn how you can better serve your market’s needs, just to name a few.

Expert marketer Jeff Zabin explained:

“Generating actionable insights from social listening means being able to create structure around unstructured data.”

In other words, the more you listen to your market, competition, and industry leaders on social media, the more ways you'll find to use social media more effectively.

6. Ignoring Other Businesses and Accounts

You aren’t the only player in your industry using social media. Your competitors, sponsors, other community members, related businesses, and influential people all have their own accounts and followings.

Don’t use social media in a bubble. Engage with other accounts by sharing their posts, commenting on their content, and even teaming up to tap into bigger audiences.

7. Skipping Analytics and Measurements

If you don’t know what kinds of results you're generating from social media, how do you know if you're being successful? Skipping analytics and failing to measure your progress is a huge mistake.

It’s vital that you keep a close eye on things like “followers, likes, clicks, sales, conversions, website visits, and other measurements so you can adapt your social media marketing campaign and get even better results.

More than half, 60 percent, of marketers say that “measuring ROI” is one of their top three challenges when it comes to social media marketing.  Measuring your social media ROI doesn’t have to be hard.

Start by identifying what your goals are and then what you need to measure to find out if you are successful. Leverage built-in tools on social media sites and set a regular schedule for reviewing the data.

Don’t fall victim to these common social media marketing mistakes. When you avoid these, your social media marketing will be much stronger and more likely to bring the results you’re looking for.

Do you have any other Social Media marketing mistakes? Let me know in the comments below.

7 Social Media Mistakes Every Small Business Should Avoid

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  1. Sheila Schweiger-Rhodes on March 30, 2017 at 5:11 pm

    These are great tips especially asking myself the three questions. It is definitely something I need to do. Thanks for sharing your insights and wisdom!

    • yourmarketinglady on March 31, 2017 at 9:37 am

      Hey Sheila, I’m glad it helps. Thanks for stopping by to check out my post.

  2. Sheri on March 30, 2017 at 5:28 pm

    Yup I love these tips all great advice and information. I am trying to implement some of these but I at times get overwhelmed with all the different information and advice. Trying to make my focus more specific.

    • yourmarketinglady on March 31, 2017 at 9:39 am

      You are so right Sheri. The information on social media can be overwhelming and things change so quickly.

  3. Patricia @ Grab a Plate on March 30, 2017 at 11:55 pm

    Love these tips! Not only for myself and my own business, but I’ve been doing some SM contract work for a small business. This was really helpful — thanks!!

  4. Fatima Torres on March 31, 2017 at 10:54 am

    Your audience and a clear strategy are number one, in my eyes. Then you can tackle whichever social channel you think would drive the most results for your audience.

    • Tonya - Your Marketing Lady on April 2, 2017 at 1:41 pm

      Fatima, I totally agree. If you don’t have a strategy and know your audience, you’ll have trouble getting results.

  5. L.C. @ A Life of Authenticity on March 31, 2017 at 3:06 pm

    Such great tips! I will definitely incorporate them in my growing business.

  6. CourtneyLynne on March 31, 2017 at 9:41 pm

    These are some really great tips!!!! It’s always smart to take things like social media one thing at a time. Take the time to grow each instead of all at once

    • Tonya - Your Marketing Lady on April 2, 2017 at 1:43 pm

      That’s really a good way to start, you won’t get overwhelmed and you’ll be able to set a clear path of action and get a good feeling of what works for your business on that platform.

  7. Maya on March 31, 2017 at 10:42 pm

    These are great tips! Wish I knew some of them earlier!

  8. Crystal Green on March 31, 2017 at 11:12 pm

    It is so hard to find that happy medium on all social media accounts. I have just followed my instincts with social media. So far, it hasn’t overly failed me. However, I’m not gaining new followers at a fast pace. The fans I have though are usually pretty active though.

    • Tonya - Your Marketing Lady on April 2, 2017 at 1:46 pm

      Crystal, I wouldn’t be so concerned with having a ton of followers. The key is to have an active community and it sounds like you have one. Once you have that, more followers will come.

  9. Marie Barber on April 1, 2017 at 2:57 am

    I love these tips thank you! It’s so difficult to know how many times to post some say alot some say once or twice is enough. With Facebook ever-changing and making it more difficult it can be frustrating.

  10. Chelsey on April 1, 2017 at 6:29 pm

    These are great tips. I work for seo and social media also. Great job.

  11. David Elliott on April 1, 2017 at 10:27 pm

    Thanks for all the great tips. And I love the graphic that you put together here. Will definitely have to remember all those things about social media. I don’t think about return on investment enough I am sure.

    • Tonya - Your Marketing Lady on April 2, 2017 at 1:48 pm

      You are so welcome David. Yeah, the topic of ROI from social media is a huge one.

  12. Nicci Fletcher on April 2, 2017 at 11:20 am

    Great tips. Being clear about your target audience is so important. I sometimes get the feeling that people believe their potential customers are “anyone with a pulse” and perhaps even a few without! 😉

  13. Erin Creeks on April 2, 2017 at 4:16 pm

    I love this! I just hosted a bloggers and brands workshop and a lot of what we talked about were the mistakes people make on social media. These are so spot on.

  14. Natasha on April 3, 2017 at 8:21 am

    These are all Awesome tips! I must admit that I am still working through some of these mistakes. It took me a while even to focus on few social media platforms so that I could be more effective.

  15. Marisa on April 3, 2017 at 11:12 am

    These are such great tips! I’m definitely sharing with my friends that have small businesses!

  16. Jasmine Hunt on April 6, 2017 at 9:44 am

    This is an awesome guide and totally agree!! I definitely need to look at my analytics more!!!

    Jasmine 🙂

    • Tonya - Your Marketing Lady on April 6, 2017 at 10:10 am

      Thank you Jasmine! Yes, the analytics have a story to tell and it’s important that everyone knows how they’re doing.

  17. Rhonda Swan on April 12, 2017 at 5:45 pm

    Great info here. Lots of unstoppable value! Cheers!

  18. Grant Merriel on April 17, 2017 at 10:19 pm

    Love these tips! Totally agree with #6. You should also engage and share other people’s work too. Social media is not always about yourself.

    • Tonya - Your Marketing Lady on April 18, 2017 at 4:13 pm

      Thanks Grant, I’m glad you enjoyed the tips. You are so right, Social media is not always about yourself.