Five Ways Companies Get Social Media Wrong

  1. Social Media is not the place for the hard sell

It is incredibly common for small businesses to merge Sales with Marketing and spend all their time on Social Media trying to push people to buy, buy, buy. Unfortunately, this hard-sell strategy doesn’t work.  Most social media users don’t scroll through their timelines wondering what they can buy that day – users are looking for entertainment and information.  Provide value and your potential customers will keep coming back to you.

Social media is about building relationships and growing trust. So when your followers are wondering where they want to shop, or who they want to have a business relationship with, your company name crops up first.

  1. Social media isn’t all about self-promotion

People will follow your company because they want to know what your business is doing and when your next event or what your next special offer is, but remember that party where you got stuck with the guy who wouldn’t stop telling you about his speedboat, and never asked any questions?

You may feel like that update that doesn’t have a link to your site or product is a wasted update, but imagine the valuable feedback you could receive from your followers by asking a couple of questions a day about your brand image, latest product, or most recent conference. Thank the responders by name, and you might just have a customer for life!

  1. You don’t have to be on all of the platforms

At we keep on top of all the social media platforms in order to best advise our clients, and from our research we can tell you this: some platforms are more appropriate than others for certain businesses. Rather than spread your limited budget over ten social media accounts, pick two or three which already appeal to your target demographic and focus your efforts there.

  1. Don’t try and keep up with the big brands

Just like in tip #3 – as a small to medium-sized business, you have limited resources for marketing or promotions. Huge brands can afford to host big-ticket giveaways to promote their new products or services, but giving away a heap of iPads might be outside of your budget.

Instead, think creatively and work out something relevant to your business – find something that your target market will appreciate and which showcases your company’s particular skills.

  1. Social media isn’t “free” or “additional”

Social media is not something that you can just tack onto regular marketing campaigns, or entrust completely to the new intern. Many companies that treat social media in this way are the first to complain that social media is useless. Social media should be fully incorporated with marketing strategies from the beginning, with an employee whose job description requires that they spend a certain amount of time actioning these strategies. With dedicated time, and money going towards social media strategies, the improvement in ROI should be immediately noticeable.

If you don’t have the manpower to administer your own social media marketing you may consider partnering with a company that specializes in social media strategy – like the team at  With a little time and patience, your business can attack the  social media vertical with success.

Have you noticed any of these pitfalls in your own social media strategy? Do you have any other social media mistakes to add to this list?


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