by Melissa Wilson
As a business, social media is no longer something you should consider dabbling in when you’ve got some spare time. It needs to be a priority. Whether you’re a small business or an established company, having an online presence is important for a number of reasons. With that in mind, there are a few key best practices that you should stick to when running a social media account for your business. So here are the most common mistakes businesses make and how you can avoid them:
1. Incomplete bio
When setting up a social media account, whether it’s Facebook, Instagram or even Twitter, it’s always tempting to skip the boring job of entering your location, contact info and other essential details. To make your account look as credible and ‘official’ as possible make this a priority from the get go.
2. Not posting frequently enough
Funnily enough, people follow you because they actually want to see your content. Keep them happy and continue growing your online footprint by posting at least a few times a week.
3. Posting too frequently
By the same token, posting too frequently is likely to annoy your following and cause them to disengage. The goal is to create relevant content that your followers want to see, and provide just the right amount of it. Remember, quality over quantity!
4. Inconsistent posts
Inconsistency on social media could mean a lot of things, it could be that the voice behind your brand changes from post to post or the visuals you’re sharing have conflicting styles. The goal here isn’t to make everything identical, but a good practice as a brand is to establish a general style guide for your presence online.
Pro tip: If multiple people are posting on one account, make sure everyone is given the same clear instructions and your social media goals are spoken about.
5. Spelling and grammar
Social media is published content. You wouldn’t open a newspaper or magazine and expect to ever see a typo or poor grammar, so treat your social media as the same! If spelling and grammar just isn’t your thing, check yourself before you wreck yourself with this great free resource.
Also, avoid using first person when you’re posting. Remember, you’re representing your company now - not yourself. Most if not all of your online audience won’t actually know the person behind the brand, so try to remember to use terms such as ‘we’ and ‘us’ rather than ‘I’.
6. Misusing hashtags
Good morning #everyone! Today we #have a brand new special on #our menu, eggs #benedict with a #side of kale.
No. Just no.
It’s only necessary to hashtag keywords. If you’re a business with a fixed location, such as cafe or retail store – then research popular relevant hashtags that are location specific. Think: #sydneycafe or #brisbanefashion
7. Not posting at the right time
We get it, the end of a busy day may be the only time you find to make a post on your social media platforms. Even with Facebook and now Instagram’s algorithms which have strayed away from displaying content in reverse chronological order, it’s important to give your post the best chance possible and publish it when people are most likely to be active.
If you’re unsure when your followers are active, tools such as Iconosquare are fantastic at providing this insight. Better yet, if you have a business Instagram page these analytics are available to you natively within the app. Facebook pages have similar insights available too.
8. Not taking good photos
You don’t need to be a photographer to run a visually appealing Instagram or Facebook page but following a few key photography principles can’t go astray, even if you’re only taking photos with your phone.
Natural light is key! This is our biggest tip for any budding phone photographer. Taking your photos in as much natural light as possible ensures that they’re as bright and sharp as they can be.
Familiarise yourself with the editing tools available through iPhone, Instagram and other apps available. But don’t go overboard! Most people prefer to see clean, simple images rather than over-stylised ones with too many filters.
9. Buying followers
Buying Instagram followers or Facebook likes may seem like a good idea at face value, but if your audience catches on and realises what you’ve done it’ll instantly degrade your brand credibility. It doesn’t take a social media expert to spot an account who has bought followers; most accounts that will display a high number of followers but a very low amount of engagement on their posts. Definitely avoid!
10. Too promotional
First and foremost, people go on Instagram to look at beautiful and capturing imagery of things that interest them. What this means for a business using it as an advertising tool is that your posts need to be harmonious with the rest of the content on Instagram. If your language and imagery remind people too much of a traditional ad, they’re likely to disengage and unfollow. While it’s okay to talk about specials, promotions and products on Instagram be sure to do this subtly and balance it with softer content that fits with the Instagram aesthetic.
Remember, your goal as a business on social media should be to add value to your business. You need to be active and engaging, but do NOT just post for the sake of it. Whether you're offering humour, discount codes or tips and tricks make sure your presence online has meaning and purpose while retaining personality!