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Cracking the social media code can be tricky for a small business owner used to a very different kind of advertising. If you’re just getting started with a social media strategy, knowing these five pitfalls and five best practices can help you step off on the right foot.

Mistake #1 – Diving Right In

Jumping into anything without a plan is dangerous. Diving into the social media waters without a strategy can be disastrous for your company. Even the big guys get it wrong sometimes – just look at what happened when McDonald’s tried to launch a #McDStories campaign on Twitter. The fast food giant encouraged people to share their McDonald’s memories – and regretted it very quickly when their paid-for promotion attracted posts like “I lost 50 lbs when I stopped working at and eating McDonalds #McDStories.”

Getting It Right

Create a comprehensive plan for attacking social media. Evaluate each platform and figure out the best ways to use it for your company – or if you should use it at all. Establish a social media policy that includes which employees will have control of and accountability for the accounts. The more you know about each platform, the easier it will be for you to recognize opportunities and avoid pitfalls on each.

Mistake #2 – Posting Too Often

One of the quickest ways to get unLiked on a social sharing platform is to post too often. Even if you’re sharing valuable information, people will start seeing your posts as spam.

Getting It Right

This can be tricky because the “right” number of posts depends so much on the kinds of posts you’re sharing. One way to avoid the “Oh, no, them again??” phenomenon is to vary the kind of posts you make. Liberally pepper your own promotional posts with shares from other companies and inspirational posts that fit your company brand.

Mistake #3 – Treating Social Media Like an Ad Network

Social sharing networks are ideal for establishing relationships and engaging with your customers. Too often, small business owners use them the same way they would an advertising platform. If you’re just using Twitter to advertise your business and Facebook to post your latest promotion, you risk becoming just so much background noise – or worse.

Getting It Right

Use your social media posts to engage your customers and potential customers in conversations. By all means, tweet that discount on carpet cleaning to your followers, but monitor Twitter (there are lots of apps that can help you with that) so you can respond when someone asks a question about getting a stain out of their white carpet. That kind of engagement will earn you followers and good will, and that will translate into more business for you in the long run.

Mistake #4 – Trying to Wrestle an Octopus

Engaging on multiple social platforms can be like trying to wrestle an octopus – way too many arms to keep them all under control, especially if you’re working on each one individually. Switching between Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and Google+ to post and check analytics can rapidly become a full-time job.

Getting It Right

There are two solutions to the octopus problem. The first is to choose one or two platforms and concentrate your efforts there. The second is to take advantage of technology. Software like Hootsuite can help you manage multiple accounts and platforms, allowing you to access all of your analytics from one dashboard and making it easier to cross-post and engage different audiences with the same content.

Mistake #5 – Doing It All Yourself

Many business owners think they can save money by managing their social media presence on their own or in-house with a part-time employee. There’s so much to understand and learn when it comes to social media marketing that it’s easy to make big mistakes when you’re trying to manage it along with your regular job.

Getting It Right

If you don’t have the budget – or the work – to justify hiring a full-time social media specialist, your best strategy is to contract with a company that specializes in social media marketing. They’ll get your social media strategy right and ensure that you get the best exposure for your message.

This post was written by

Chris Robertson – who has written posts on Website Promotion Strategy.
I have been doing SEO for 15yrs now! Chris Robertson

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