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We are all guilty of making mistakes, but when we make the same mistakes consistently it becomes a problem. Looking at the mistakes made by businesses on their social media channels, they may not have dramatic consequences individually, but collectively, over a sustained period of time are holding businesses back from reaching their full potential.

Often the reason these mistakes are being made is that people don’t know better and treat the social media channels of their business in the same way they would their personal profiles. In some areas, this can be beneficial but in other ways, it can damage your reputation.

There’s never a bad time to consider how you could improve an element of your business, so here are our top 5 mistakes that we see businesses make on their social media platforms.

Pictures

These mistakes are not necessarily in order of importance but the imagery and visuals you choose to accompany your posts are key. On digital platforms the saying, “a picture can tell a thousand words” is true. The two key mistakes made from an imagery standpoint are quality and size.

Firstly, lets tackle quality. Many businesses invest heavily in having a website that looks great and uses fantastic visuals. Then don’t however take the same care over their social media and instead still have a blurred picture from years ago as their profile picture or cover photo. The problem here is that more businesses need to understand that one of their social media channels is likely to be where their first interaction with a potential customer occurs. It is from here they will then head through to your website. So, while it is important to have a fantastic website, it is no good if your social media pages are putting people off clicking through to it.

Image size. This is a much more common mistake that people make and is potentially just as costly as having blurred pictures. Each social media platform has its own size requirements for images, Facebook’s recommended upload size of 1,200 x 630 pixels, Twitter’s recommended aspect ratio is 16:9 and Instagram’s is 1080 x 1080. As you can see all the platforms have different sizes that photos are displayed at, meaning if your picture is the wrong size for the platform it may be cropped in a way that means key information is missed or can make a great picture look terrible. The best way to combat this is to use Photoshop to resize your images, or alternatively, you could use a website such as Canva to do it.

Social media is all about visuals, if these aren’t right, you are fighting a losing battle.

Language

The language we choose to adopt online is something that helps to define our brand. Whilst we have a choice over the tone we wish our business to take and how we want to come across, certain language is less suitable for certain industries.

For example, a law firm who chooses to use slang and emojis, etc in the copy of their social media posts may find they are portraying themselves in the wrong way. True, it may help them resonate with a younger audience but could put potential customers off using their services. Don’t feel as though just because you are on social media you have to change your tone, the best thing to do is consider the image you want to portray for your company.

The other key element to mention about language is spelling and grammar. Whilst grammar is less of a focus on social media, particularly from a punctuation standpoint, spelling is still key. If on your personal social media, you misspell something it’s not a problem. However, if you consistently do it on your business page it makes you look unprofessional, particularly if you are misspelling key terminology in your field.

Negative comments

It’s very rare that a business only gets positive reviews and social media gives unhappy customers another place to demonstrate or share their frustrations. When your business receives a complaint from a customer via a phone call or an email it is, of course, a bad situation, but it is contained somewhat. However, if a complaint is broadcast on social media, your business is potentially viewed in a bad light by other people. This presents a decision on how best to respond or deal with these comments.

The first option that a lot of businesses choose is to ignore the comments and only reply to the positive ones. This is definitely not a good decision as not only can people who come to your business’ social media page see that you have unhappy customers, but also that you don’t care as you haven’t taken the time to respond.

The second option that businesses take is to delete the comments. Again, this comes with its problems as is it may be that people see comments have been deleted and that you are trying to hide customer’s complaints. This, however, is a better option than the first, as if you are not going to respond to the negative comments you shouldn’t leave them on your page.

The third option which is usually the best bet is to leave the comments on your page and respond to them. Firstly, by apologising to the customers and secondly by advising them to give you a call so that you can resolve the issue. What you shouldn’t do is try and resolve the issue in the comments section in front of other potential customers.

Engagement

One area where we tend to treat our business profiles in the same way as our personal ones is when it comes to friends, followers, and likes. We live in a digital world defined by views, likes, followers, and popularity meaning certain misconceptions are held by many when it comes to their business’ social media.

We aren’t going to pretend that the audience you have doesn’t matter as ultimately the more people you are able to communicate with about your business the higher the chance of sales. However, when it comes to using likes as a metric of success people can focus on it too much. Of course, engagement for your business via likes and comments is a good thing, but likes don’t equal customers and sales.

Better to have 100 followers who all fit your target demographic and are genuinely interested in your product or service than 10,000 people who follow your brand but are never going to use your business.

Neglection

Arguably the biggest mistake you can make with your business’ social media is to neglect it. We see so many businesses that have a great website and have social icons for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google+, etc.

First things first, Google+ doesn’t exist anymore as a platform so immediately any businesses that have that icon on their website appear out of date. Secondly, so many of these icons click through to social media pages, that have no posts, haven’t been updated since 2016, or to a link that is no longer live.

If you don’t have a blog or news element to your website your social media pages are the only way you can give updates and the only method potential customers have of checking what the business is doing, whether it is still running etc. And if your last post was months or even years ago, you are not giving a good impression. In our mind, it implies one of three things. One that the business is no longer operating. Two that you are still running as normal but aren’t doing anything worthy of posting about. Three, you don’t have the time or the team in place to manage your social media strategy. All three aren’t a great first impression and mean you are selling yourself short.

Even if you start by making a conscious effort to post at least once a week, that is a great starting point. We understand it can sometimes be the last thing on your mind to post on Facebook when you have all the other tasks associated with running your business to get done. We therefore think it’s important to be honest with yourself about what time you have available to put towards your social media and wider marketing strategy. If that means deleting one platform to focus more on another, then so be it. But before doing that, it may be worth thinking about getting some professional support to ensure your social media is no longer neglected, the mistakes listed in this article aren’t being made and your channels can begin acting as an important marketing and sales tool to help boost your business.