9 big small business social media no-nos

Social media marketers point out some of the biggest (and most costly) mistakes companies make when using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest – and offer advice on how to avoid making these social faux pas.

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“Your business social media page should educate customers about your business [or industry], promote specials or offers and engage your online audience in a non-threatening way,” she says. “Taking a political stance on your social media pages just alienates those customers who may not agree with your views and invites arguments and conflict on your page.”

Similarly, do not post pictures of your kids, your pets or your personal life, unless they directly relate to your business (e.g., you sell kids clothes or pet products).

7. Buying followers (especially fake ones).

“Many business owners assume that having a lot of Facebook likes or Twitter followers will help improve their social media presence,” says Alexa Rees, digital marketing specialist, seoplus+. “Some will even go as far as to purchase followers. This is a mistake, as buying followers ultimately decreases the value of the business and hurts the authenticity of your social presence.

“One of the most important, and often overlooked, aspects of social media is post engagement,” she points out. “Even if the followers you paid for were real people (and many are fake accounts), if they have no true interest in your business they are not going to engage with your posts. Accounts that you pay for are not going to be buying what you're selling. So save your money! Focus on creating a consistent schedule of interesting posts in order to foster engagement with your audience and boost your followers organically.” 

8. Using too many and/or irrelevant hashtags.

“In many ways, using too many hashtags on social media has the same effect on people as using too many keywords has in SEO,” says Matt Gibbons, director of digital marketing, inSegment. “An overload of hashtags will make the post hard to read and spammy. So use your hashtags wisely to reap their benefits instead.”

Per most social media marketers, when using Twitter, limit yourself to one or two hashtags. However, when using Instagram, the opposite is true. The more hashtags – 11 and over, with a minimum of eight – the more likely your posts will be found.

Also avoid using irrelevant hashtags. Only “use hashtags that are completely relevant to your posts and to your business,” says Gibbons. “For example, it would make no sense to share a post about B2B marketing and use hashtags related to the latest Kardashian news.”

9. Automatically direct messaging Twitter followers.

“Don’t auto-DM users when they follow you on Twitter,” says Josh Hayes, social media manager, 18Birdies. “It feels spammy and robotic and it's the wrong message to send to new followers. You want your brand to feel authentic. [Also] most auto DMs don't generate many responses or engagement. Prioritize authenticity over automation.” If you want to thank someone for following you, send them a personal note or, better yet, return the follow.

This story, "9 big small business social media no-nos" was originally published by CIO.

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