Marketing is essential for any business. This can take many forms. But increasingly, businesses are turning to social media for their marketing. Essentially, it’s because social media is where your audience is. It’s the space they inhabit and the quickest and most direct way to engage them. However, as with any marketing activity, social media marketing has its potential pitfalls. It costs time, money, and personnel to effectively market your business on social media. Often, these costs can be overlooked initially. And then you’re committed. So, with that in mind, and before it’s too late, we’ve compiled a list of the biggest social media mistakes we see.

We’re not pointing fingers. Just giving you a heads up.

1. Mistaking The Intern for a Social Media Pro

One of the biggest social media mistakes is to assume someone young can do it. Of course, they will have their own personal social media profiles. It’s likely that they’re on every platform under the sun. And, they will also be able to some pretty funky stuff with stories, badges, stickers, memes, and filters. But is that what you want for your business?

When it comes to social media marketing for business, these personal profile tricks don’t necessarily work. Not in the long-term. And not without a proper strategy.

The first thing to remember about social media marketing is that it is marketing. Pure and simple. In other words, you wouldn’t put the intern in charge of designing print ads or scripting TV commercials for your business. So, why would you do it for social media?

Furthermore, using social media as a marketing channel requires a profound understanding of each platform’s algorithms, insights and analytics, advertising panels, and business tools.

Not the same as updating your Instagram stories with added stickers and GIFs and hoping to go viral.

2. Relying on DIY Social Media Marketing

Doing it yourself is the best way to get to know the social media mistakes to avoid. Learning about each platform. Testing things out for yourself. There’s no better way to get to grips with the nuances of social media marketing and recognise the pitfalls.

But, if you’ve got a business to run, do you have the time to spend on all this?

Anything worth doing is worth doing well. If you’re not ready and able to give a project 100% then you limit your chances of success. You can’t expect a small investment to yield a favourable return over a short period of time. Ask any fund manager.

So, if you can’t commit the time because you’re needed elsewhere. Or because there just aren’t enough hours in the day, your social media marketing is going to fall a bit flat.

Maybe that’s why they say, time is money?

3. Assuming Your Team Have the Time

Speaking of time and money. Can you afford to pay your team or someone on your staff to manage your social media marketing for you?

This is one of the biggest social media mistakes to avoid. It’s a combination of the Intern and the DIY approach.

In this scenario, we have a business using the member of staff most au fait with social media to run the company’s social media marketing. Again, this takes time, knowledge, and experience. The staff member may require training too. If they’re expected to do this on top of their daily tasks for the business, both are going to suffer.

Ultimately, can you justify the time and cost of having a member of staff trying to run your social media marketing?

4. Not Considering the Cost of Scaling Your Social Media Marketing

Time and money are a recurring theme when exploring the biggest social media mistakes. Ultimately, because everyone is on social media in a personal capacity, to some degree, and because it’s free, social media marketing is, incorrectly, viewed as a cheap and easy form of marketing.

It isn’t.

Sure you could pop an ad in the classifieds section of the free local paper. But are you targeting the right audience? Will you generate enough interest from that free listing to drive sales? Social media marketing is just like any other form of marketing. It requires time, expertise, and a budget for it to be effective.

If you aspire to significant increases in traffic, leads, conversions and sales, then expect it to cost an equal amount of time and money. Likewise, if you’re planning to scale your social media marketing using an in-house team, the costs will quickly spiral.

As far as common mistakes in social media marketing go, the cost of scaling is rarely considered or anticipated. More personnel, more office space, more equipment, more training, it all quickly adds up. When, ultimately, all you’re really looking for is a return on investment.

5. The Biggest Social Media Mistake

It’s often the simplest things, the smallest things, that have the biggest impact. That’s why this mistake tops the pile. Every time. It’s the one we see the most, and the one we’re quickest to fix.

Topping the biggest social media mistakes charts is…

Not having a plan.

As simple and obvious as it may sound, diving into social media marketing without a plan is ill-advised. You leave yourself open to mistakes, missed opportunities, and social media mayhem.

Truth is, a bad plan is better than no plan.

Going off-the-cuff with the odd post, responses to mentions or comments on others’ posts is fine. But, effective social media marketing needs to be planned. The KPIs and audiences need to be defined, and everything needs to be prepared in advance. Before any marketing strategy is executed, you need to make sure that all channels are in sync and aligned with the strategy’s goals. Otherwise, it’s a recipe for disaster.

BONUS: Mistaking Quick Wins for Long-Term Success

Although it’s not technically one of the biggest social media mistakes, this is certainly a common misconception.

Because of social media’s transient nature, people often look for quick easy wins. Although these can give you quite a buzz, initially, they rarely equate to long-term success.

Social media marketing, like any other form of marketing, is a long game. It’s a constantly evolving process. It develops over time in response to changes in audience behaviours, platform updates and features, and your business goals.

At Social INK, we’ve provided social media marketing services to small businesses, startups, and SMEs since 2008. That’s over a decade of experience. Given that Facebook only became available to the wider public in 2006, it’s pretty safe to say that we’ve been involved since the beginning.

Download Our Free Guide

Consequently, in and amongst our catalogue of success stories, we’ve come across a fair few mistakes people make time and again on social media. That’s why we put together this free guide to the 7 most common mistakes every business makes with their social media marketing.

Take it from us. You’ll want to avoid all of these social media marketing mistakes. Or at least be mindful of them before you get started.

Download your free copy of our guide: 7 Social Media Marketing Mistakes Your Business Is Making (And You’re Probably None the Wiser).

Don’t know where to start or what to do next? Book a free consultation and we’ll talk you through what is and isn’t working for YOUR business. We’ll get specific to your situation and give you some actionable advice you can use to start seeing results.

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Gareth Alvarez
Gareth Alvarez

Gareth, Social INK’s Head of Content (sometimes playfully referred to as ‘spellcheck’), just adores words. He’s written copy for ads, websites, and blogged extensively. Content marketing is his bag. He loves getting creative with his writing.