For many small business owners, social media can be a difficult chore to tackle. Not only do you need to get to grips with the media and get an understanding of how it can benefit your business, you also have to find a winning strategy that involves a lot of trial and error.

Just because one social media strategy works for one business does not mean that it will work in exactly the same way for you. Learning how to do things just one way can lead you to make the same mistakes over again and potentially losing you valuable custom in the process.

The basics of social media management are pretty much the same in that you need to source fresh content, engage with your readers and followers, reply to queries and answer questions, then on top of all this manage to work in a subtle call to action to buy from you somewhere down the line.

Don’t ever think that managing your social media will ever be a piece of cake. Even the largest of corporate companies with a dedicated social media team will struggle to convert followers into customers a lot of the time. Don’t get so down on yourself if you try something new and it doesn’t work. Social media is constantly evolving so you just have to ‘suck it and see’ a lot of the time.

There are, however, a lot of common mistakes that just about any small business owner will stumble into on their learning curve. Here we take a look at some of the most obvious ones so you can be aware of what pitfalls can await you during your social media experience:

Being Too Quiet

ghostWhen you are browsing around your business sector and you come across a similar business that hasn’t actively been tweeting since 2012, what are your first thoughts? Alarm bells may ring in your head. What if there is something wrong? Are they still trading?

What happens when a company goes quiet on social media is that people will lose confidence in that brand. Their value and worth will take a nosedive. Let’s be honest, would you think about buying something from them if they are not going to be around to answer your questions?

Spreading your social media presence too thin is never a good idea. OK, there are a lot of social media platforms out there to use, but this doesn’t mean you have to have a presence on all of them. It would be far better for a time-pressed small business owner to find out which social platforms their largest customer demographic hangs out on and populate the most popular one or two sites with your presence.

Ignoring your Followers

Social media platforms are places for two-way communication. Yes, your time is precious, but you should never use social media as your soap box where you simply shout out why you are so great to a silent audience. Think of it more as a place you go to network with people, whether that be peers in a B2B environment or B2C where you are talking with your customers and discussing your wares rather than simply selling them.

Did you know that according to the latest figures 67% of consumers will go directly to a company’s social media for their customer services. In an instant digital world, they will also expect a fast response. Anything longer than around 24 hours without a response can leave your customers hanging on your reply before they decide to buy. This could lose you a lot of business as they may choose to buy from your competitor in the meantime.

Ignoring bad feedback

hear-see-speak-no-evilWe all love to get a positive review or happy feedback from our customers but we all know that people are less inclined to leave positive feedback. However, should you give your customers anything to grumble about and you can be sure to hear about it!

Mostly you can estimate that for every negative review or feedback that you get you are going to have many more customers that are perfectly happy with your product or service. But these are not the ones you hear back from. Negative feedback can be very damaging, so you should never ignore it.

Turning a grumpy shopper into a happy camper is the best thing you can do under these circumstances. Not only will you be resolving an issue for a customer, but you will also be demonstrating to other potential customers that you are reliable and trustworthy. Showing that you care by rectifying any mistakes quickly and professionally will help to build confidence in your brand and will more than likely turn that grumpy shopper into a lifelong loyal customer who will be happy to sing your praises to others. Simply ignoring bad feedback may paint you as being guilty as charged in the eyes of anyone new looking at your company for the first time.

Pushing the hard sell

Overselling on social media never works. The result of the hard sell here means that what little audience you may have will quickly switch off and go cold. People use social media firstly to be social. After that, they use it to seek out information and pick up news. The last thing they want to see is hard sales pitches so they will quickly move on to something more interesting. It is much easier to go for the soft-sell through interesting and useful content that provides your reader with value even before they have purchased anything from you. The trust you build up this way makes it easier for you to convert a follower into a customer.

Not dedicating enough Time

timeIt can be difficult to find the time to run your business as well as manage your social media communication. If you find that doing both is either too troublesome, or you are starting to neglect your social media duties in favour of something else, then may be it is time to think about another solution.

You don’t want to hinder your business growth, but without an active social media account, you may find you are doing just that by ignoring it. You may have to face the fact that you will never be able to allocate the time needed to make your social media a success if doing it by yourself. This is why you should seriously think about hiring a professional to do this work for you. If your budget won’t allow this, then look at outsourcing it to a management company who specialise in social media and digital marketing.