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Encompass® Agency Insights

Top 4 Small Business Social Media Mistakes

social media.

Getting started with social media as a small business owner is not easy. Even if you’re familiar with the basic principles, it can sometimes feel like the rules of the game are constantly changing. Facebook, for example, is known for frequently adjusting its algorithms. The company recently overhauled how Facebook ranks posts, videos and photos. This algorithm change is designed to put what friends and family share first with news from brands and publications second. As a small business owner, this means it may be even more challenging to get your posts to appear organically in a customer’s news feed without paid promotion. Add in the continued rise of Snapchat Stories, the growing popularity of live video streaming, and millennials’ preference for perfectly curated images on Instagram, and it’s enough to make any small business owner feel overwhelmed.

While it’s important to stay on top of social media trends, it’s equally important to watch out for common social media mistakes. These blunders can sink your efforts before you even get your strategy off the ground:

1. You don't have separate business and personal accounts. This may seem like a basic rule of thumb, but, your business should have its own separate account. While you can certainly re-share your professional postings to your personal account, your business brand is not your personal brand.

2. You repost content without adding commentary. Curating content for your audience can be an effective way to bring immediate value to their day while building your own reputation as a thought leader. However, failing to add your own commentary or insight to the articles you share diminishes their value. You don’t need to write a lengthy post. Writing one or two lines highlighting a fact you found surprising, insightful or especially helpful will immediately communicate why this piece is valuable to your audience. You could also include a question to spark further conversation as long as you’re ready to engage.

3. You rarely or never respond to comments. Social media is a two-way conversation, not a one-way broadcast. Failing to respond to comments and questions means you’re missing out on a primary relationship-building opportunity. That said, keeping up with social media comments can quickly become overwhelming and detract from your core focus. Before you post content that asks for comments or feedback, have a plan in place to monitor and respond to these comments. If the post sparks a great conversation, you want to be ready to engage with your audience and provide helpful responses to questions. If you’re struggling to keep up with comments and questions, scale back your presence and focus on only one channel.

4. You don’t have a clear goal or plan. Without a clear plan in place from day one, social media can quickly become a black hole, sucking up valuable time you could be using for other core business objectives. Before jumping in, consider what you want to accomplish and the best strategy for reaching this goal. For example, while it’s great to increase your follower counts, doing so simply for the sake of having more followers doesn’t deliver real business value - especially if the people following you aren’t engaged with your brand or interested in your services. The key to a successful social media presence is to start with a clear goal. Next, plan out your editorial calendar in advance and consider the frequency and volume of posting you’ll do each month. Are there seasonal events to consider? When you step back and look at the big picture, it's much easier to create a coherent strategy and drive engagement, rather than panicking each week about what you'll post.

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