Ever since social media took off, businesses have jumped on the bandwagon to tap the online market. Social media marketing is now a fixture in any online marketing strategy. Originally, it was all about SEO, now it’s about content. Many businesses have learned the value of social media, but not all of them are using it the right way.

Here are the top three marketing mistakes in social media right now:

Selling instead of building relationships.

Social media is not a marketing tool. People go to social media networks to share experiences, swap stories, and get in touch with their peers and loved ones, not to look at ads.  More importantly, getting Likes does not translate to sales.

Businesses should focus on building relationships with their customers in social media. It’s a great platform to tell customers who they are and what their business stands for. Direct selling won’t make their brand stand out. They’ll get drowned out by the noise of other ads and inconsequential posts.

Targeting “eyeballs” instead of results.

Using social media for brand exposure is understandable. But it’s not about the quantity of posts or getting all the social media platforms covered.

One of the most common tactic is to entice people into sharing a link of an ad by offering a prize. This sounds like a good idea to generate buzz. But in hindsight, this is similar to email sharing schemes (forward to ten friends and get a chance to win an iPad!). It won’t make a lasting impression. Did it generate actual sales or get passed around until people got tired of it?

Every social media network is a community within itself and has a different audience.

Businesses can still launch targeted social media campaigns while building a relationship with their customers. Instead of direct selling, they can either entertain or provide a solution to a problem. This creates content that people would share and remember. As a result, it becomes an organic marketing campaign that fosters customer interest and loyalty.

Incessant advertising instead of engaging stories.

Combining the two mistakes above – selling and peddling to every social media website – can turn into ineffective advertising.

Engaging story arcs such as the “Dove Inner Beauty” campaign is good for social media marketing because it’s relatable, shareable and ignites discussion. If you want your brand to stand out, give your audience something to take away and share online and offline.

Social media can be a powerful tool, but businesses shouldn’t forget what it stands for. It’s about sharing and interacting in a virtual environment. You don’t like being bothered by telemarketers and door-to-door salesmen, so why have them in a social space?