As both a social media user and a social media manager helping clients engage customers, I’ve seen a lot of good and a lot of bad. I want to save you the embarrassment of making the most common mistakes I’ve seen.

Social Media Mistakes You Should Avoid

There are some basic mistakes I’ve seen lots of small/medium businesses and entrepreneurs use. These are the mistakes I steer clients away from regularly:

1. Being on too many platforms.

Especially if you’re a solo entrepreneur, you’re busy as hell. You don’t need to dilute your efforts by trying to be on every platform available to you. Focus on 1-3. It may make sense to be on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, or it might make more sense to be on Instagram, Twitter and Tumblr. If you can’t figure this out yourself, seek help! Talk to some customers/clients and figure out what platforms they’re on. Or consult this handy infographic.

2. Having a confusing or vague bio.

Look. Everyone’s selling something. We get that. Whether you’re selling products, services or yourself, be transparent. Don’t try to hide it. Indicate next steps to anyone interested in buying. Check my Instagram bio:

Rosella-LaFevre-Instagram

 3. Buying followers.

Most social media users are smart and they can tell when you have an inflated number of followers. On Instagram, it’s as easy as scrolling through the list of people who follow you and taking a survey of the number of your followers who are following more than 10 people and haven’t posted a single photo themselves. It was especially interesting when Instagram cleaned up fake accounts in the end of 2014.

I watched as an entrepreneur I’d long expected of buying followers went from 65,000 to something like 15,000. Within a matter of days, she was back up to 25,000. Seeing this, I unfollowed her, and quite honestly, lost all respect for her. I’ll never buy her products or services, attend any of her events or even repost any of her quotes. Not that it did any good: her number of followers is back up to 36.2 thousand followers and she’s regularly quoted in articles about social media and her “success coaching.”

4. Not giving customers a way to reach you.

You know what bugs me? Businesses and entrepreneurs that don’t give you a way to reach them. Some SMBs and entrepreneurs don’t even post a link to their website. What’s up with that? How do you expect to sell when customers don’t know how to get in touch and buy from you? Don’t be a fool. Let people connect with you.

5. Sharing blurry, poorly lit photos.

Per point #1, you don’t need to be on every platform, and that especially means that you shouldn’t be on highly visual platforms unless your business warrants it. But if your business has great photographic potential, don’t waste it by posting poorly lit or blurry photos. There are some simple solutions:

  • Work with a real photographer. If you can’t afford a true professional, find a photography student who needs to build their portfolio and/or do a trade arrangement.
  • Buy a decent point-and-shoot and edit your photos on free sites like pixlr.com or canva.com.
  • Learn to use your iPhone camera properly. Here are some amazing iPhone camera tips that apply to more than just your selfie game.