17 Common (but Grave) Mistakes Businesses Make on Social Media

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social media mistakes

Are you a little bit confused about what exactly social media for business entails? I must admit, it’s easy to get confused about how to manage social media for business and end up making common social media mistakes.

It’s more than just opening a social media account or page and doing the same things the personal user does; posting/tweeting, sharing/retweeting, liking stuff, posting quotes and memes and all…it’s more than all these. Remember, unlike your business, the individual/personal user expects no ROI (return on investment) for every money and time invested in social media. So you have to do things differently.

I’m here to help you figure out “this social media thingy” as related to business (it’s one of the core reasons RenegadeCommerce was established), but in this post, I’ll be doing it from an entirely different angle. I’ll be pointing out a lot of the common mistakes businesses make on social media, and then tell you what to do instead.

Social Media Mistakes

Identify any of these social media blunders you’re committing and adjust immediately:

1. Lack of Strategy

I can authoritatively say this is probably the most common mistake businesses make on social media.

You know a social media presence is necessary in today’s world, so you open Facebook, Twitter, and a couple other social platforms for your business – just because you believe have to be there. Then you (or whoever’s in charge of your page) hop in anytime you remember you have a social media page, to post whatever comes to your head.

Then you expect miracles to happen?

If you don’t already have a first-hand experience of this, I’m more than glad to announce to you that without a proven strategy, your social media efforts (and probably money) ultimately go to waste.

2. Trying to Be Everywhere

Yes, I understand that you want to show you’re a 21st century company; you are social. But that doesn’t mean you have to open an account on all social media sites. That’s simply prepping for failure. It will be hard to remain consistent on all these platforms, especially when you’re just starting out, and you’ll soon discover they all aren’t the same and can’t be handled same way.

Instead, choose just ONE social platform, master it, start getting good results, then move on to the next. One after the other is the name of the game.

3. Not Listening and/or Responding

Your customers or potential clients are saying stuff about you online and you don’t see it, or you just ignore it when you do? I’m guessing here that you don’t understand what terms like “reputation”, “reputation management”, “customer service”, “virality”, etc mean.

In other words, I’m telling you if you don’t have a system for ensuring you never miss anything being said about you online, and you don’t have a strategy for responding to what people say or for handling criticisms, then you just might lose more than you can imagine.

Trust me, you don’t want your prospects and clients running to your competitor because of something they read about you, or because you ignored their complaints.

4. Building the Wrong Audience

Most people just want to build a social audience for the purpose of having a huge followership to show off. What happened to “targeted followers”? Why must you fill up your social media connections with people that’ll never be useful to you? Even people that are doing it right and getting tons of followers that are really interested in what they sell still don’t get good conversion rates, not to talk of businesses adding every Tom, Dick, and Akpos.

Solution: look for where exactly your potential customers hang out (I hope you’ve done well with creating your customer avatar), and use what they want to attract them to yourself.

5. Buying Fans

This is the worst offshoot of point 4 above.

Like seriously, someone can actually take his/her money and pay to have thousands of followers/fans overnight? This isn’t just a BIG mistake you’re making, it’s very unethical. And it will backfire at you.

And please, don’t tell me you’re actually expecting any serious ROI on illegally purchased fans.

6. “All Eggs in the Social Basket”

I’d have called this “overdependence on social media”, but I think the caption I gave it does more graphic justice to it.

I have a business person I respect. Especially because she has one of the best Facebook groups I’ve seen. Very responsive and interactive – and huge (grows by thousands per week organically) – group, even though it’s private. She’s doing very well on FB. But the last time I checked, she had no website.

Are you kidding me? A ‘very great’ group with over 50k members without a website?! What if Facebook shuts down tomorrow? How do you start all over?

Dear friend, NEVER use social media as your shop or business hub; only use it as a tool for getting more customers into your business (whether online or off). Your website is (one of) the only platform you have some control over, and that’s where you should gather audience.

7. Inactive Page/Account

Many of us are guilty of this, even me. There’s actually no story to tell here, it’s very obvious that it’s serious bad business if you have a business page or account on social media and the last time you posted anything there was 2 months ago.

8. Posting Too Much

Opposite of the last point, yea? I know right. But it’s true; some businesses can be very annoying with their posts. When you begin to post on your FB business page more than 5 times per day, believe me, you’re gradually entering the “annoying zone”. Tweeps can still forgive you, unless you start doing 20.

However, that doesn’t mean posting so many times daily won’t work for some types of businesses. This is the reason you have to know what works in your niche, especially for your own audience, and do exactly that. If they want fewer posts, don’t give them more. A news website or a blog like Linda Ikeji’s, where tons of news and other posts are made on the site daily, will surely go away with bombarding followers with tons of social media posts daily.

9. Follow-Unfollow Game

This is unfortunately the commonest way Nigerians grow their followers, especially on Twitter and Instagram.

They follow you today, ask (beg) you to follow them back, you do so, and they unfollow you after some time. They know you’d most likely not notice they’ve unfollowed you, unless you use tools like Crowdfire to monitor your Twitter account.

I understand having 200k followers while following just 10 people is the in-thing and makes you look like a celeb, but there are better ways of building followers, especially if you’re a business. It’s plain cheating and deceit when you do the follow-then-unfollow game. Unfortunately, I’ve co-facilitated a seminar where a “social media influencer” preached this exact practice.

Three recommendations:

– become a real celebrity

-have a very awesome and useful page, and people will naturally follow you. With time, you’ll have a followership to show off.

– pay the social media platform (FB, Twitter, etc) to grow your page or account for you. Expensive? Betcha!

10. “Trending”

Another big time-wasting tactic that floats everywhere!

It’s easy; walk up to a business that has “trended” in the past and ask what impact it’s had on their profits. Answer is nothing!

it’s really amusing to think when you “trend” on Twitter (or wherever) for some time it adds anything meaningful to your bottom line. It’s worse when you pay someone to make you trend on social media. It’s manipulation, and it’s unethical.

I’m not saying trending on social media is all bad. No, it has its own usefulness too, especially when all you’re after is creating some awareness (even if it doesn’t last). But when your goal is to make sales, then you should know too well “trending” is a complete waste of time.

And if you’re going to “trend” at all, do it naturally. Don’t pay for it, or start posting hundreds of funny tweets unrelated to your business just to “trend”.

11. Automating Everything

Success with/on social media takes some work, just like every venture in life. Social media management is not something you plug into a software and go to sleep. You have to be present and be social.

There’s a degree of automation that will work – like scheduling posts – but most other activities, especially networking and listening, should never be automated.

12. Being Selfish

Social media is a community. It’s not all about you, you, and you alone.

Being generous is part of being social. Give more than receive on social media. Give advice to people that need it; share other people’s stuff or any useful information that might help your audience; give freebies; do contests (but not too much).

Overall, be selfless and care so much for your audience, and they’ll reward you.

13. Always Trying to Sell

Totally becoming a salesman is the worst thing you can do on social media.

When your last 10 posts are mostly “buy this stuff”, “20% off this”, “new arrival that”, “visit our office/shop”, then you’re setting your business up for social media failure.

Balance your activities. Remember, give more than ask!

14. Never Selling

No, I’m not kidding. And the last point wasn’t saying you shouldn’t sell at all on social media. In fact, not selling at all will be a big undoing to you. What on earth did you start business for if not to sell?!

I’m only saying, let your social selling be just a fraction (maybe 10%, depending on your business – more for ecommerce platforms) of your social media activities.

15. Not Advertising

How many businesses would survive and grow offline without some form of advertising? It’s same with social media. You want your business to be known more? Advertise it. You want more sales? Advertise.

However, be careful to not advertise wrongly. Yes, there’s a wrong way to advertise on social media. Most advertisers only waste money on social media. There are proven ways to go about advertising and selling on social media, but that’s discussion for another time.

16. Not Networking

How would you grow your business if you don’t build relationships with influencers in your space? Trust me, it will be hard. Networking with others is the shortest cut to success on social media. It can earn you some media mention and strategic partnerships or collaborations that will give you more fans and money in the long run – if done well.

Social networking is an entirely different animal on its own, and can’t be discussed here – has to be a topic for another time.

17. Not Tracking

Finally, if you aren’t tracking your social media activities and results, then you’re obviously not taking your social media as serious business. Simply put, you’re only playing online.

You should track real metrics like: traffic to your site, leads, conversions, fan growth, media mentions, etc, and also vanity metrics like retweets, likes, Klout score, etc.

Tools like Google Analytics, your social media accounts and dashboards, Google Alerts, Mention, Klout, etc, will help you track your social results perfectly.


There are tons of other social media mistakes we all commit online, however, if you can avoid these 17, or even just few of it, your social media activities will improve, and your business will enjoy more positive results on social media.

Now over to you; which of these mistakes do you disagree with, or which other common mistake do you think I’ve not covered here? Let’ discuss further in the comments.

Would you like to acquire the highly-coveted social selling skills - and be able to sell anything at will on social media? Would you like to failure-proof your business in these harsh economic times via social media? If your answer to any (or both) of these is YES, then click here fast!

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  • James Bekenawei

    Reply Reply August 4, 2016

    Well said and lessons learned. I really like the give more than you share advice and really hate the idea of buying followers. Instagram changed their algorithm to reduce such situations a while back. I am sure they will do it again.
    Growing organically seem to be the best advice but that itself is a tough job.

    • Oludami

      Reply Reply August 7, 2016

      Thanks for agreeing with my points, James 🙂

  • Emenike Emmanuel

    Reply Reply September 17, 2016

    I concur with you. I have been hammering on these social media mistakes but some entrepreneurs wouldn’t listen. It is very deceitful to ASK people to follow you and you follow back only to unfollow them afterwards. Except you didn’t ask for it, then will you have the right to choose who to follow back.

    • Oludami

      Reply Reply September 17, 2016

      Glad you agree with my points, Emmanuel. We shouldn’t stop telling them. Gradually, we’ll see changes.

      Thanks for the comment 🙂

  • Emenike Emmanuel

    Reply Reply September 18, 2016

    Unfortunately, what they don’t know is that this attitude has a bottom-line effect on sales. If they continue doing that, they will lose their trust. Good enough, customers won’t buy from you if they don’t know and TRUST you.

  • Victor

    Reply Reply October 6, 2016

    Great and interesting article

    • Oludami

      Reply Reply October 6, 2016

      Thanks Victor!

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