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95% of online adults age 18 to 34 are most likely to follow businesses on Social Media. Over 70% of online adults age 18 and 65 and over are using Social Media.

Users are tapping Social Media to get their news, research products, read reviews, connect with brands and businesses for information, find special offers and coupons, connect with friends, network with business colleagues, participate in special interest groups, and so much more.

Social Media is now mainstream. Businesses, large or small, no longer have the option of using Social Media, it is now a requirement for future success. If you want your business to be relevant you need to use Social Media.

Unfortunately, many business decision makers have no idea how to properly leverage Social Media for success. Mistakes are made and even with the best intentions Social Media efforts can be useless and sometimes even harmful.

Here are 6 of the most common Social Media mishaps to avoid and why hiring a professional Social Marketer is the best decision.

1. Misinterpreting the Intent

Social Media Marketing and Advertising is more than just posting a link to an article or posting coupons and specials. The Social sites provide analytics and insights into your account’s followers. Learning the demographics of your accounts is important in deciding what to post and when to post it. Additionally, learning what your audience wants to see and is most interested in is valuable to understand what to post to keep your followers around and to encourage them to engage with your business.

When the proper content is posted and your followers are engaged and interested your business will generate a positive reputation and attract new followers, all of which helps to potentially convert these folks into paying customers.

2. Misreading the ROI

Posting an update or running an ad does not mean certain sales. Social Media provides the vehicle to drive people to your website or your store to convert the sale. Additionally, updates and ads are primarily to introduce your business to an audience, to generate interest in your products/services, and to improve online visibility. If people are following your Social accounts, clicking on your ads, commenting on your updates you are doing it right. The more you stay in front of people the more likely they are to buy from your business.

3. Not Targeting the Right Market

There are so many Social sites to choose from. Each site is different, with their own unique audience and their own way of engaging with users. It is important to understand your business’ targeted demographic and figure out the Social site that these folks are using. Focusing your message to the right people makes sense.

Drilling down even further, most of the sites allow you to target very specific demographics within their platform. Facebook ads and updates allow businesses to select from a variety of criteria to ensure your message is reaching the exact people who will benefit most.

Using the wrong Social site or running an ad to the wrong audience is a waste of time and money.

4. Sharing Useless or Inappropriate Content

There is an old golden rule of dinner conversation, avoid discussing politics and religion. This applies to Social Media as well. It’s best for businesses to avoid controversial topics and not get involved in useless debates, it does nothing but make you look bad. Additionally, sharing fake news or NSFW content is also discouraged. Providing useless information that is not interesting is also not recommended. Instead stick to content related to what your business does and use the analytics to learn what your followers are most interested in and find content they will deem useful and interesting.

5. Ignoring the Importance of Consistency

There are over 50 million small business pages and over 2.56 billion Social Media users, this translates to a lot of content streaming to a lot of people. It’s important for your efforts to be consistent. Posting updates to your Social accounts daily is required, and on some platforms posting several times a day is a necessity.

Also, a business account on Facebook that has no updates and no activity is a negative. Users want to see that your business is involved and participating in the Social scene. If you have Social accounts that you don’t ever post updates on it is better to delete the account than have an inactive account.

Fun Fact: The Facebook algorithm determines what updates and ads get out to the most people, the algorithm considers the user posting the content or running the ad. It recognizes if the user has been active on the site and the more active the user the higher the content will rank in reaching its desired audience. Bottom line, use a marketer who has been active on Facebook every day for a long time and your updates and ads have a better chance of getting out to your audience.

6. Misunderstanding the Commitment

Social Media isn’t just for the kids anymore. Social Media is a serious platform that is used for news, as a resource for researching products and services, sharing reviews, reading reviews, and more. There are recommended times to post updates, images should be professional, information should be verified. There are specific demographics that can be targeted and ads that should be optimized to be effective. In short, it takes a bit of research and monitoring to ensure it is done correctly.

Social Media rules also change frequently, it takes time to learn the ins and the outs of what works and what doesn’t. A professional marketer does nothing but learn the changes and keeps on top of what to do to be most effective and leverage Social Media to a business’ advantage.