Last Updated April 11th, 2018

15 Common Social Media Mistakes Home Business Owners Make

15 Common Social Media Mistakes Home Business Owners Make

Social media can be hugely beneficial to your home business, but you can also make huge mistakes with it. Mistakes won’t always be serious, but some may spread farther and stick around far longer than you’d like. Offend the wrong person, and your offense may be spread to many other people, and you can’t count on a net benefit from getting your name out there. As much as you can, you should avoid making serious social media mistakes.

I don’t mean little mistakes such as not posting often enough. Most people won’t notice that much if you rarely post – you just won’t get the benefits of posting regularly. I mean mistakes that get the wrong kind of attention or waste your precious time. Knowing which social media mistakes are common can help you to make a better social media plan.

Mistake #1: Friending or Following EVERYONE

A big list of friends or followers looks nice on your social media accounts, especially if they return the favor. The problem is when you aren’t focused on following the right people. If you just find a list and start following, you’ll probably follow a lot of junk accounts. They might follow you back, but they won’t become customers and will probably just clutter your feed.

Be picky. Follow people who are relevant to your business or are just plain interesting. Your list of followers won’t increase as quickly, but they’ll be higher quality and more fun to deal with.

If you’re looking for people to follow, look at who follows your competition. They might be interested in what you have to offer as well.

Mistake #2: Failing to Admit Mistakes

We all make mistakes, but if you make a mistake on social media, apologize or correct it the same way. It might be as simple as an incorrect link, or something more serious such as sharing inaccurate information. Take just a moment to correct yourself so that you aren’t just leaving the mistake out there unfixed. Admitting you’re wrong can sting, but it also can help to build trust.

Deleting your mistakes is always a possibility, but people do notice and may not approve of how you handled things if you delete something with no explanation. This is especially true if you insulted or angered people. If the mistake was merely funny, most people won’t be too upset with you.

Be willing to learn from your mistakes. We all make them.

Mistake #3: Being Rude

It’s easy to be rude online, even unintentionally. If you read much online you’ve probably seen it. There’s no tone to the written word, so a poor word choice can deeply offend someone else.

Then there’s the all too common deliberate rudeness. I don’t just mean the sort trolls use. I mean the rude way some people disagree with each other online. Name calling really isn’t necessary in an argument. You’re better off using facts and relevant opinions about the subject at hand, not harsh and possibly unsubstantiated statements about the person you disagree with.

If someone sees a social media post you’ve made as rude, don’t argue with them. You’ll do far better if you apologize and explain what you meant, being more careful in your word choice. Some people won’t accept the apology or explanation, but others will.

Mistake #4: Fail to Build Relationships

Social media is about building relationships, not pure marketing. Let your human side show at least some of the time. Reply to people. Participate in conversations. Be real.

As someone who is both shy and an introvert, this has always been a challenge for me, even on social media. It’s not always easy to join in the conversations. Do the best you can. You may find that it works for you.

Mistake #5: Ignoring Customers

If you want to look like a responsive business, you have to respond. This is really helpful in social media, which many people favor as a way to contact a business or comment about them. Keep an eye out for posts about your business name, and especially for any directed at you. Respond when you can, the sooner the better. This is doubly important when someone has a problem with your business.

Mistake #6: Using Too Many Abbreviations

Abbreviations are sometimes necessary in social media, especially on sites such as Twitter where you have a limited number of characters per post (although they now allow more characters than they used to). Unnecessary abbreviations can be annoying, KWIM? They can also obscure your meaning for those readers who don’t understand a particular abbreviation.

Mistake #7: Poor Grammar and Spelling

Most of us use poor grammar and spelling some of the time. It’s all too easy to make mistakes, especially if you have autocorrect on. Read your posts before you send them out to make sure that you’re saying what you meant to say and that it can be easily understood.

That said, don’t stress when you make mistakes in spelling or grammar. We all do it. Some people delight in calling such mistakes out, but they rarely contribute significantly to the conversation otherwise.

Mistake #8: Sharing Other People’s Posts as Your Own

People say and share some really neat things on social media, and being the originator of something interesting can get you some good attention. That doesn’t make it right to take someone else’s idea and pretending you started it.

Many social media sites make it easy to share where you got a particular item from. There’s the retweet button for Twitter, or the RT abbreviation if you want to do it your own way. There’s the share button on Facebook that shows where you got a post from. Pinterest allows you to repin interesting items. All these give credit to the source.

Most will also allow you to add your own comments when you share someone else’s post.  This way you can give credit while sharing your own thoughts.

Of course, you can share similar ideas that you’ve seen elsewhere, just make sure that the idea is better and uniquely served in your own words. You can build a great reputation online by sharing the work of other people if you do it honestly.

Mistake #9: Failing to be Relevant

This mistake happens most often either when you’re in a conversation or when there’s something big going on. Perhaps you’re participating in a social media event and you break in with something completely off topic. People aren’t going to appreciate that.

It’s also a risk of automating your social media posting. To a degree, this isn’t a terrible thing, but if it leads to inappropriate posts, you may have a problem. Think about what you’re posting if people are talking about major tragedies or other major events. If you share something online completely irrelevant to it, or worse, disrespectful to those involved, how will that make your business look? Pay attention to what’s going on before you post, and consider pausing automated posts if they might be inappropriate at a particular time.

Mistake #10: Overposting

You may only have so much time each day in which to do your social media marketing, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to share all your posts at once. You can use Hootsuite or other services to schedule your posts for later, and check on responses briefly as necessary. A flood of posts from your account doesn’t look as good as you might hope.

The right number of posts per day varies tremendously from platform to platform. Facebook Pages generally perform best if you post only a time or two per day on your page. Twitter and Pinterest can handle quite a few more posts every day.

Mistake #11: Being Overly Promotional

When you’re using social media to promote your business, of course, you have to be promotional. Just remember that the point of social media is to be social too. Not everything you post needs to be a way to earn money for yourself. Sometimes you should post just to be a person or a good resource.

Have a little fun. If getting personal is appropriate to your business style, get personal. A look behind the scenes of your business can be a great way to bring in an appropriate amount of personality to your social media. Discuss your work routine. Share a picture of your home office. You can even share a little about your family or pets if that suits your business personality.

Mistake #12: Getting Too Personal

The personal touch is a good thing for many businesses, especially when you’re the only person running it, but there should be limits. Keep your personal and business profiles separate. This allows you to share things with family and friends that you don’t need to be associated with your business. You can still share appropriate personal things on your business accounts, depending on the kind of personality you want to show.

This is especially helpful on sites like Facebook where you’re more limited in the number of friends you can have on your personal page. It’s better to have people interested in your business follow your business page.

It can be difficult balancing the personal side of your social media sometimes. Remember that you aren’t besties with your social media followers, at least not most of them. They do not want to read about all the details of your personal life. Occasional anecdotes are fine.

Mistake #13: Expecting Too Much

Social media most likely won’t be the making of your home business. It can help build traffic, it can help build your reputation, but it’s just one factor in your business, not a miracle.

It takes time to build a loyal social media following. It’s a lot of work, and then the platform changes the rules and your posts may not reach your followers as well as they used to. I’m looking at you, Facebook, but you aren’t the only one!

Keep working on your preferred social media platforms if you want to see results. Despite what some people say, we won’t all see amazing results in just a few months. You will need to test different things to figure out what works best for your home business.

Expecting too much also comes in the form of trying too hard to go viral on social media. Constantly trying to create the next big thing annoys your audience. Viral is not a constant thing.

Mistake #14: Failing to Make it Easy to Share Your Content

Make sure it’s easy to share the content you have on your website. People will tweet, like, pin and otherwise share interesting content without buttons to make it easier, but more people will do so if it’s easy. Social sites usually provide code to make this easy, and there are plugins for WordPress if you have a blog, such as Shareaholic. Most will keep count of how many times your content has been shared, a wonderful social proof for your website.

Make it easy on yourself too. Use social media tools such as HootSuite, IFTTT, and the WP to Twitter plugin to automate parts of your social media marketing efforts. You still need to get in there and interact with others, but these will help you handle the routine side of things.

Mistake #15: Using Too Many Social Media Websites

There are a lot of social media websites out there. You can’t participate on all of them, and you really shouldn’t try to. It will take too much time and too many resources to do so.

Instead, focus on the bigger ones and any specific to your niche. Have a social media strategy. See where you get the most return for your efforts. If one site isn’t working for you, another may work better. Be picky. You only have so much time you should be spending on your social media efforts. Use it wisely.

Don’t let your social media mistakes keep you from using social media to market your blog or business. Making mistakes is a part of the learning process. As you figure out what works for you on each platform, you will get better results that will make it worthwhile.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

Last Updated April 18th, 2011

When Was the Last Time You Experimented with Your Online Business?

There’s something nice about getting into a good routine with your online business. You know what needs to be done and how to do it. You know about what response you’ll get for the work you do. But are you still taking new risks? Are you experimenting with new ideas to bring people to your online business?

Running any business is a risk, of course. Keeping with a single routine is even a risk in business, as you don’t know if something else will do better. That’s why you should be experimenting with new ideas regularly.

I don’t mean take constant big risks, making major changes and so forth. Going too wild with how you run your online business can take you in the wrong direction with it, and it may be difficult to recover.

More appropriate experiments, on the other hand, can help you figure which directions to take your business. They’re not only appropriate – they’re necessary.

From Beginner to Pro

Experimenting is a big part of how you go from being a beginner with your business to an experienced professional. You learn what works, what doesn’t and get some idea as to why things happen they way they do for you.

Just think about it. How much would you trust the expertise of someone who has always run their business one way and only that way? Would you consider them as much of an expert as one who had tried a lot of different things?

I don’t mean that you aren’t an expert in your business if you choose one way to do everything and stick with it. You could choose to have your expertise in article marketing, for example, and only ever work with that kind of marketing for your business. But if you only choose to market by submitting your articles to the same list of directories all of the time, never trying any other article marketing tactics, are you really an expert on the subject overall? Do you even know if what you’re doing works as well as it should?

Being an expert doesn’t mean you’re safe from making mistakes with your business, of course. We all make mistakes. It does mean you can choose the things you try more carefully. It also means you probably have the things you know work running well as you experiment.

Which Experiments Should You Try?

There are plenty of ways to experiment with your online business. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

1. Offer a new product.

Have you been offering the same products for a long time? Try something new.

Think about your niche and why people come to your site. You should have a pretty good idea of what your visitors are after. Now think about what might improve the experience they have with your business. Is there something that really goes well with what you’re offering that you aren’t recommending yet?

This doesn’t have to be a product you own, of course. That’s what affiliate programs are for. Find a related product you can offer as an affiliate, and you don’t have to create something new of your own.

2. Change how you offer products.

There are a lot of ways to offer products for sale online. You can have an online store, post product reviews, link to products within blog posts, video reviews and so on. However you make it work, it can be worth your time to try a different way, just to see what happens.

3. Try a new link building strategy.

How are you getting links to your website? Is it working for you? Are the links good only for search engine traffic or do they bring traffic to your site on their own merit?

If most of your current linking strategy is mostly search engine food, look at techniques that are more about getting traffic from higher traffic websites. Try building a reputation through YouTube videos, and put your links into the video description. Get active on a relevant forum that allows signature links.

4. Try paid traffic sources.

If you’ve been avoiding pay per click advertising, buying ads in relevant newsletters and so forth, take a look at this option. Paid methods have the advantage of giving fast results and the disadvantage of costing money, which can add up fast. When you make them work, they’re well worth the money.

5. Do more networking.

How much networking do you do, online and otherwise? Is it more than putting up a Facebook page or doing a few tweets here and there about your business? Just a touch of blog commenting once in a while? Are you a real person when you do these things, or just a business with little personality?

Networking is more than announcing what your business has to offer. That’s certainly a part of it if you’re trying to promote your online business, but it’s not all there is to it. If you want to be taken seriously and really make the most of the time you spend networking, you have to be a real person and share advice, relevant links to other sites and be a bit social.

It’s all too easy to go overboard on networking, of course. You shouldn’t be checking your Facebook page or Twitter every few minutes. Many people find it helpful to set up a schedule. This keeps things under better control, so you keep working on your business in other ways as you network.

6. Attend industry events.

Going to an industry event can be a bit pricey, but as an opportunity the right event can be priceless. It’s a chance to get some great information from some of the top people in your industry and to network with others.

You probably won’t know what to do when you first go to an event. They can be pretty overwhelming. My recommendation is to pick the parts you really want to see and don’t go overboard looking for swag. There’s neat stuff to be had at most events, but really, they shouldn’t be the focus of your day. Learning to improve your business is much more important.

What experiments have you done to improve your online business? Any you’d care to share?

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

Last Updated December 8th, 2009

Remember Your Social Skills

I’ll be the first to say it – I’ve never been the most social of people, in person or online. That’s where I often struggle when it comes to networking. Figuring out what to say doesn’t come so easy to me. I’m more a listener than a talker.

But being social is important when you work at home too. It’s key to not feeling so isolated, a problem which can otherwise plague many a work at home parent. Many moms new to being at home find they dreadfully miss the little bits of social interaction that working outside the home brings as a matter of course in most jobs.

It’s a good thing there are a ton of ways to get social time online.

Forums are of course popular, and they’ve been around a long time. If you like to talk about a particular subject they’re a great way to go. They’re also handy for business networking.

Social networking sites of various types are also very popular. Facebook is quite good, although you may want to separate your personal self from your business self by having a separate page for your business. Once you’re on there you may be amazed by how many people who know you are there too. It’s nice to be able to separate the two so you don’t drive family and friends nuts with business chatter, and business friends don’t have to hear more than they want to about your personal life.

Twitter is another great resource for general social networking. It’s also quite good for promoting your business. I go off and on for how much I can tweet, but even just reading all the things people post there is quite entertaining and sometimes educational.

For pure business networking there’s LinkedIn. I’ve only used this one a little, but professional networking is the focus there. I understand they have quite a number of tools there you can use on your profile, but I haven’t really tried much there. I know you can do thing such as add a SlideShare presentation to your profile there.

And of course, friends in real life are very important. Online friends are great, and they can be quite supportive in a crisis but sometimes you need people physically there too.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

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