5 Big Mistakes Small Businesses and Nonprofits Make On Social Media
Over the past several years, I’ve worked with a number of small business, startup, and nonprofit clients to build out their social media presences and grow real-world impact through online marketing.
And while my clients span a variety of industries and have various amounts of social media experience, I’ve seen the same roadblocks pop up time after time, in niche after niche. These common social media mistakes can cost you potential sales and donations, make your marketing much less effective, and – most importantly – waste your time and money.
The good news is that these mistakes are easy to catch and correct – even if you don’t have much time for social media or a budget to put towards it!
So today, I’m cracking down on the five BIGGEST mistakes I’ve seen my clients make – and showing you how to avoid them so you can build a more effective social media presence!
Social Media Mistake #1: They don’t use calls-to-action
Too many people look at social media like a magic wand. They’ll get a Twitter account, post a few things, and expect their sales to magically increase. When the sales don’t roll in, it can be discouraging – some businesses and organizations even take this as a sign they should abandon social media completely!
But the problem isn’t that these businesses don’t have a great product, or that their causes aren’t worth supporting.
The problem is that they’re not showing people a clear path to purchase.
Every promotional message you send – whether it’s a tweet, an email, a Facebook post, et cetera – should tell your reader exactly what to do next.
This explicit instruction is known as a “call-to-action” or “CTA,” and these short phrases are often the difference between a wave of social media successes or hearing crickets every time you post. Fortunately, these CTAs are easy to implement!
Are you selling a product or service? Don’t just say “hey, we’re releasing this cool new product next week!” Add a note that says “click here to purchase” and give them a direct link to the product’s page on your website.
Requesting donations from your supporters? Add a link to your donation page and ask followers to “Click the link in our profile to make a gift!”
Trying to build your email list? Ask readers to “Click here to join our email list and make sure you never miss an update!”
Be detailed and specific with your calls-to-action – you want to make it as easy as possible for your followers to buy from you or give to your organization!
Social Media Mistake #2: They use inconsistent imagery
Every social media network has different size requirements for their profile pictures and other supporting images. Unfortunately, a lot of businesses and organizations don’t want to spend the time resizing their logo or signature image to fit all of these different specifications – and they end up using a different profile image on every network.
These inconsistent profile images do you more harm than good, though! When every one of your profiles looks different, it’s harder for people to quickly figure out who you are – and that can cost you followers and ultimately sales or donations.
Consistent images, on the other hand, make it clear each account belongs to the same organization. This makes it easier for fans to connect with you and presents a more professional, cohesive look to the online world.
If you’re a business, use your logo as your profile photo on each network. If you’re your own personal brand, opt for a professional headshot.
Bonus Tip: To keep your social media profiles extra consistent, use identical usernames whenever possible!
Social Media Mistake #3: They don’t optimize their social media profiles
Your social media profile is like your online welcome mat – it’s a chance for potential followers to quickly see who you are, what you do, and why you’re worth following. But too many businesses and organizations neglect to fill these profiles out completely – and that makes it more difficult for people to quickly connect with you.
Make sure you take advantage of the space you’re given in your account profile. Add short, descriptive bios and do your best to make it immediately clear what kind of work you do. Be sure to include a link to your website!
Many social media networks also use your profile contents to help determine whether you show up in search results – so be as descriptive as possible with your profile and use specific keywords to make your account easier to find.
Finally, make sure your profile is set to PUBLIC. I can’t tell you how many times a client has complained about having no new likes or comments, only to dig into their settings and realize that their posts are marked “private”!
If your profile is private, non-followers can’t see what you’re posting, which means they can’t tell if your content interests them. As a result, they’ll move on and you’ll lose a potential connection. Make your profiles “Public” so you’re easily search- and follow-able.
Note: If you keep your social media profile private for personal reasons (such as sharing photos of your family), take a few minutes to create a separate social media profile for the private posts so that your business profiles can remain publicly viewable. It’s easy to switch back and forth between accounts on most platforms, so there’s no need to keep everything all on one account!
Social Media Mistake #4: They don’t post consistently
I see a lot of businesses set lofty goals for the number of posts they’d like to share each week. But too often, they lose steam and don’t actually end up filling all of those slots. This creates waves of sharing, which can be confusing to your followers – if you share an Instagram post every single day for a week, but then suddenly disappear from their feeds for the rest of the month, people can forget who you are!
It’s better to set a smaller goal that you can consistently meet than it is to shoot for more posts than you’re realistically able to share each week. Do what you can, and do it consistently!
PS – If you need help keeping your social media scheduling on track, check out my post on scheduling tools!
Social Media Mistake #5: They wait until their plan is “perfect”
It can be hard to let go of the elusive “perfect social media plan.”
I totally get it – I’m a PLANNER, and sometimes it feels a lot more comfortable to settle into that planning stage instead of ever really getting started.
But here’s the thing: OUR PLANS WILL NEVER BE PERFECT. There will always be variables, there will always be surprises and roadblocks, and we will always – ALWAYS – find ways to improve the next time around.
ONLINE MARKETING MOVES FAST, and if I spend too much time planning, I’ll miss out on the potential connections or donations or sales I might have had if I had just had the courage to STOP PLANNING and GET STARTED.
The great thing about social media is that you can pivot and change your strategy and flip things around whenever you need to – so don’t be afraid of nixing the “perfect plan” for some good ol’ fashioned trial-and-error.
Want a roadmap to social media success? CLICK HEREto join my FREE social media marketing course, where I spill ALL my secrets to creating a successful DIY social media presence without blowing your budget!