10 Classic Small Business Social Media Mistakes

The try-out period for social media is long past. Even tiny businesses – even many who don’t even have their own websites – know they need to be on social.

Just “being on social” is a good start (though I still urge you to have a website, too). But marketing your small business on social media takes a particular kind of mindset. It’s not advertising, after all – you have to do more than just broadcast messages at people.

Social media has also become a primary channel for customer service. You should expect to hear from customers and prospects via social media now – both when they’re happy… and when they’re not. And many of those communications will be visible to the public, which means you’re under extra pressure to get it right.

But don’t worry – the public nature of social media is almost always a good thing. Even when you get a complaint, it can be turned into a positive experience. So if your business isn’t on social media already, do it now. And have fun with it. Just try to avoid these common mistakes.

  1. You’re posting exactly the same update to every one of your social media accounts.

Every social media platform is different. What works on one won’t work on another. So don’t automatically send your tweets to Facebook, or try to post your LinkedIn updates to Instagram. They’re all very different platforms.

The worst part of posting like this is that people will start to ignore your updates. It’ll look like you’re just “phoning it in”.

  1. You don’t follow other accounts.

Social media is not advertising. It’s not one-way communication.

So don’t be that business that doesn’t follow anyone.

As soon as you’ve got your account set up and looking good, go find about 20-40 other accounts to follow. Then, over time, start liking and commenting and even re-sharing their stuff. You know – be part of their community. It gets them to know you and like you enough to follow your account.

Keep following more people, businesses, and organizations, too. And share and comment on their posts. This is an important way to be visible.

  1. You’re using a personal account as a business account.

In our 2017 WASP Barcode Technologies’ State of Small Business Report, only 37% of small businesses said they use designated business social media accounts to reach their audiences.

Wasp Barcode

2017 State of Small Business Report

That means 63% of them – nearly two out of three – are blending personal and business accounts.

There’s a couple of issues with this. For one thing, it makes your business look unprofessional. But it also inhibits your own activity on social media. Particularly now, with politics so volatile, it’s a good idea to be careful what you share – especially for business accounts.

Even if you aren’t caught up in politics, it’s still a little odd to be sharing personal photos to a business account. One every so often is fine… but not all the time.

Besides, separating your accounts is easy. And it’s free. So practice good housekeeping and keep personal and business accounts separate.

Hey – you do it for your bank accounts, right?


  1. You aren’t responding to customer inquiries on social media.

While researching the State of Small Business Report, we were heartened to learn that about one in three small businesses is doing customer service on social media. That’s a good start, but I’d like to see it go much higher.