5 Social Media Mistakes Small Businesses Make

Social Media Mistakes Small Businesses

Social media can be great for small businesses. After all, it doesn’t cost any money to set up accounts on the various platforms, and the returns can be huge. Because of this, many small businesses jump onto social media, making many mistakes that are simple to avoid. Here are 5 common mistakes that small businesses make.


1. Spread Themselves Too Thin

A business owner recently mentioned to me that they had finished signing up to all the social media sites.  My first reaction was “Why?”

There is no point joining a whole heap of social networks if only half will work well for your business. Different platforms suit different brands, and as a small business owner you are probably better off focusing on a few platforms well.

In order to decide which social media networks you should target first, find where your clients are. You could ask existing customers what platforms they use. You can also see where your competitors are.

Remember, you can always add more platforms later.

Action Step
  • Choose 1-3 social media platforms and focus on doing them well.


2. Not Having a Goal

Have a reason for being on the platforms you choose. Make a quantifiable reason, not because all the cool kids are doing it.

Here are some common goals for small businesses on social media:

  • Build brand awareness
  • Increase sales
  • Keep communities updated
  • Enhance customer support
  • Collect & analyse feedback
  • Create advocates
  • Educate

While they all sound like compelling reasons, focus on one or two at a time.

Next, make your goals measurable so that you will be able to know if you have reached them.

A good way to define goals is by making them SMART goals. That is –


For example – Increase sales(S) by 5%(M) in 3 months(T, A) with a Facebook campaign(R).

With an end in mind, you can now plan the steps to reach your goal, such as creating a timeline of posts to entice your customer. You could include some facebook-only sales codes to track your sales.

Action Step
  • Create your SMART goals and a plan to reach your goal


3. Sell Sell Sell

If you only use social media to sell stuff, your customers will quickly unfollow you. Social media should be about your audience, not about you. They need a compelling reason to follow you. Be engaging, offer something useful to them, and don’t forget the social aspect of social media.

There is no harm in promoting a sale or new product, but make it tactful, and don’t make it the only thing you do.

Action Step
  • Restructure a social media strategy plan to focus on the customer and not the hard sell.


4. Inconsistency

This can be a side effect of the first mistake – spreading your presence too thin – or because of poor planning.

Social media is work. It is not something that you can just set up and leave alone. Your audience will expect regular updates and a quick response to communications.

It is easy in the excitement of something new to have a flurry of updates at the start, then slowly get neglected as time passes.

If you are going to use social media, commit to it, have a plan, and make it part of your daily work routine.

Action Step
  • Create a plan that you can commit to.


5. Focusing on Vanity Metrics

Many small businesses stress such an importance on vanity metrics; that their campaigns focus on getting more facebook likes and twitter followers.

These kinds of metrics make you feel good, and an upwards trend usually means you are doing something right, but they don’t offer a clear message of what you need to do next.

What you should be focusing on is Actionable Metrics. Focus on metrics that help you get stuff done and lead to better business outcomes, such as engagement per customer, completion of tasks, conversion rate, or cost of acquiring a customer.

This way you know what you are doing is positively benefiting the business, and not just a waste of time. After all, maybe you had a 200% increase in thumbs up, but no increase in sales. Has the effort of getting those thumbs up been worth it for your business? It is not possible to know if all you have been tracking are the thumbs.

Vanity metrics are fun to watch, and can be motivating, but make sure that you track the metrics that count – actionable ones.

Measure what is important

Action Step
  • Define what metrics are important for your company to know, and track them.


With a little bit of knowledge and forward thinking, these social media mistakes are easy to avoid. Plus, your business will have a solid social media strategy that will benefit your customers and your business.

What is the biggest social media mistake you see yourself or others making?

Answer in the comments below! Share your social media blunders or things you see other companies doing wrong so we can learn from their mistakes.



No Comments


Definitely guilty of the vanity metrics here. I am addicted to them, and probably check them a couple of times a day!



Felicia, there is definitely something addicting about them, and they can be a great motivator. But I recommend taking a look at some actionable metrics which can help you improve your craft.

Carlie Hamilton.



Hi Carlie,

Great post.

I could find most of the mistakes that I made with my social media marketing of my blog.

I often get distracted with multiple social media platforms and end up being inconsistent to most.

Your Action Steps are quite realistic, I will check them out for my current blog and I hope I don’t end messing everything up as I did it last time.



Thanks for visiting Soubhik.

I have confidence you wont mess things up! You just have to be mindful of what you are doing.

My pet peeve is no.2! Have a reason for being on the platform!

Let me know how the action steps go, I’d love to know your progress!



Yeah, I make most of these mistakes all the time. I am going to try your action steps, thanks!



Hi Charlotte,

Let me know your successes and if you have any problems, I would love to know

Carlie Hamilton.


Lynn Brown

These are good reminders and checklist to be referred to every now and then! I know it is much better to make connections, instead of always putting on the sales hat right from the get go. Look forward to share your post with others.


Carlie Hamilton

Thanks for visiting Lynn. I just finished writing a post coming out on Monday that is about how NOT to do sales on social media. It was from an experience that I personally had recently. I think if you do the hard sell in social media, it just feels like you are spaming me. It may work, but I don’t think it sets up a good long term relationship with your clients.


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