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Are you setting yourself up to fail at social media marketing?

Yeah, you’ve heard it said that businesses should be on social media. But what is your brand doing on social media? How can you take better advantage of this free marketing tool for your organization?

Author: Jeremy Harrison

September 15, 2021

Like it or not, social media is here to stay. Most brands these days are on social media because they know they are supposed to be there, but they lack clarity or direction about what they should be saying, or even who they are addressing. Just like the rest of your marketing, social media marketing requires purpose and strategy.

The #1 Free Marketing Channel For Small Businesses

What does your social media strategy look like? Should your brand even be active on social? Let’s take a look at some frequent mistakes we see happening on social media and how you can remedy them.

Social Media Mistake #1: You’re Not on Social Media

Although lots of brands have taken the leap onto social media, there are some that still shun the spaces people are gathering virtually. If you’re one of the businesses that have held out on representing your business on social media, it’s time to step into the virtual world. People are spending an increasing amount of time online, and social media is just one more channel available for you to engage with your customers, attract prospects, and let people know how your business solves their problems.

How to fix it: Choose one social media platform to begin with and master it. Now is not the time to try to do all things at once; build an audience on one platform, figure out your content messaging strategy, and start communicating with your customers. Figure out what social media channel your ideal customers are on. Our friends at Sprout Social broke down different demographics on various social media platforms. Here are a few we pulled: 


  • 76% of 18–24 year olds use Facebook
  • 84% of 25–30 year olds use Facebook
  • 79% of 30–49 year olds use Facebook
  • 68% of 50–64 year olds use Facebook
  • 46% of 65+ year olds use Facebook


  • 75% of 18–24 year olds use Instagram
  • 57% of 25–30 year olds use Instagram
  • 47% of 30–49 year olds use Instagram
  • 23% of 50–64 year olds use Instagram
  • 8% of 65+ year olds use Instagram


  • 44% of 18–24 year olds use Twitter
  • 31% of 25–30 year olds use Twitter
  • 26% of 30–49 year olds use Twitter
  • 17% of 50–64 year olds use Twitter
  • 7% of 65+ year olds use Twitter


  • 17% of 18–24 year olds use LinkedIn
  • 44% of 25–30 year olds use LinkedIn
  • 37% of 30–49 year olds use LinkedIn
  • 24% of 50–64 year olds use LinkedIn
  • 11% of 65+ year olds use LinkedIn

You can read the full report by clicking the link above the table. This is a good place to start when looking at the age range of your target audience and the social media platform you’re looking to use.

Social Media Mistake #2: You Don’t Have a Social Media Marketing Plan

Just like marketing your business traditionally, you have to have a plan when it comes to your social media. What are your goals? How will you measure KPIs? What kind of content will your customers want to see on your page?

mistakes not to make when creating a social media marketing plan for small businesses

How to fix it: Whether you’re starting fresh or reshaping your existing content messaging, you’ll want to take time to map out a strategy for social media. HootSuite has a great article explaining what to identify in your social media plan. It points out what matters in the beginning and what you can work on over time. To create a social media marketing plan from scratch, follow these steps:

  1. Identify goals and what success looks like with your plan.
  2. Evaluate your current social media. What could be better? What’s already working? 
  3. Amp up your account(s) based on your evaluation. Updating your profile information and adding a clear, square logo image as your main profile picture are good starters! Check out brand accounts you admire and use that as inspiration.
  4. Draft a social media content calendar. This is much simpler than it sounds. You’ll create a schedule of posts in advanced, then save yourself hours of time by having everything scheduled to go live on the date you choose.
  5. Measure your results. Look back to the goals and KPIs you wrote down in step one. How did you do? What can you do to improve? Hint: Get ideas that boost your social media engagement.
  6. Optimize your social media marketing plan based on results and improvements going forward. 

Putting together a well thought out plan for your online presence means you’ll easily be able to see how far you’ve come as time goes on. There are many ways to launch your social media plan, which is why it’s important to find the one that works for your business.

Social Media Mistake #3: What You’re Posting Is All About You

If I could give anyone the quickest of quick fixes for their social media, this is it. Remember that most of the people who will be seeing your content on social media have already decided to follow you. They already care about your brand for one reason or another. Your content on social isn’t a first date; it’s more like a group chat between you and your customers. Often, organizations make their social media into yet another sales pitch. Your page followers were already sold on your brand. Your job now is to retain and convert your followers into raving fans.

How to fix it: Social media is a prime space to communicate the personality, values, and credibility of your brand. Your best customers are brand allegiant because they feel like you “get” them and their needs. As you develop content for social media, what you say and do should communicate that personality and provide your followers with useful information (whether it’s educational, informative, inspirational, or entertaining) that will help them move through life and business. In this way, your social content establishes you as a guide who has both empathy and credibility.

Failing Forward with Your Social Media Marketing

Organizations and leaders grow through failure. As Samuel Beckett famously said, “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” There’s freedom in failing better. When it comes to social media, take time to evaluate how content performed: What worked? What didn’t work? Don’t be afraid to take risks and be creative.

Stumped on where to start? There’s a lot of behind-the-scenes work that goes into running a social account that you may not have time to do yourself. If that’s the case, let us know and we can evaluate your social media strategy and help your business grow.

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