Let’s face it; everybody and their mother (and their grandmother!) are on social media in one form or another. And it is so important for businesses be a part of it as well, so that they can leverage all that the social media platform has to offer, from its unparalleled customer reach and the immediacy of customer feedback to the meaningful customer relationships that can be fostered. And while there are many articles out there that tell you what you should do on social media, there are definitely some bad habits that can do your business more harm than good. So, here are a few common social media blunders that your business should avoid:

(1) Be Social on Social Media
Nothing says that you don’t care about your business quite like a neglected social media page. One of the biggest mistakes that businesses make is assuming that once they set up a Facebook page or Twitter account, the work is done and customers will magically find out about their business. Or even worse is when a business’s very first social media interaction (and every subsequent interaction) is a hard sell. The key word with social media is “social”. So, if you haven’t made a post since you started your page or the only things that you ever post are self-promotion, you are missing out on a valuable opportunity for your business. The whole point of social media is interaction, so if you are in any way inactive or selfish about it, your business will suffer.

(2) Consider Your Target Audience
Businesses often make the mistake of posting personal content that is inappropriate for their business’s customer base. Every business has a target customer that they are trying to reach. Make sure that you know what that audience is and that the content that you put out through social media is appropriate for that audience. This means that unless you are a restaurant critic or some type of food industry worker, you should avoid going over-board with posts about your breakfast fare. Remember that the goal of your social media page should be building and deepening your relationships with your customers so that they will continue to do business with you. Keep to a minimum posts that don’t move that mission forward.

(3) Make it Easy and Clear
I always see businesses make the mistake of overcomplicating their posts and offers. No matter what you are posting, make sure that it is concise, easy to understand and easy to follow. People are busier than ever and bombarded with all kinds of information, so make sure that your objective is clear. So, whether you are having a contest, a sale, an event of some kind or anything at all, make sure to include all pertinent information and make it easy for your customers to do what you want them to do. Don’t make your customers have to hunt down basic information related to your events or jump through a bunch of hoops to enter your contests. Believe me, they won’t! And don’t over-abbreviate your words or destroy grammar to the point that your posts become unintelligible. You don’t want this kind of unprofessionalism to cause your customers to flock to your competition.

These are just a few of the bad habits that I frequently see in business-related social media posts. What other social media mistakes do you see? Please share them below.

Thanks to Micah Choquette of Rocket N0. 9, Diane Conklin of Complete Marketing Systems, and Tony Marren of Operation Just One Can for the inspiration behind some of these ideas.