Being a business owner requires a lot of expertise in many different areas. And if things weren’t hard enough, social media marketing is one area that is a necessity for local businesses to be successful.

The good news?

Vivial’s mission is to simplify these ever-changing marketing tactics to take the pressure off business owners like yourself, so you can focus on what matters most—running your business. Below you’ll find a collection of the top social media mistakes companies make — and how you can avoid them.

Social Media Mistake #1: One-Way Conversations

Many social media novices see these platforms as just another way to broadcast their sales promotions, products, and services to customers. They think of it as more of a broadcast system speaking at the customer rather than engaging in a two-way conversation.

Solution: Go to the Cocktail Party

Social media is an opportunity to connect in real-time with your current and future customers. Think of every engagement as if they were there in person. How would you interact with them? Typically, you wouldn’t jump straight into your products and promotions. Instead, you first try to build a rapport and understand their needs, pain points and wants. You should take the same approach online.

Treat social networks like a cocktail party: connect with people in an easy-going manner where you talk more informally (and can subtly brag about your amazing business, too).

Social Media Mistake #2: Not Posting Consistently

Posting and monitoring your business’s profiles sporadically or just when it comes across your mind—daily, weekly, once in a blue moon—is a surefire way not to gain any traction with your target audience through social media.

Solution: Create a posting plan

Like most things, you need to have a plan in place if you don’t want it to turn into an out-of-control mess.

A well-thought-out posting plan will keep your social accounts active and help you stay consistent. Think of it as a way to keep the “virtual door” open for new and current business.

PRO TIP: It’s incredibly easy with Vivial’s Social Inbox included in the Vivial Marketing Platform. In addition to letting you schedule social posts to key networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, it also helps you monitor engagement and reviews in an easy-to-use “to-do” list.

Not sure how often to post? We have the best practices for small businesses to give you a place to start.

how often to share content on social media

Social Media Mistake #3: Not Having a Strategy for Social Media

Creating social media profiles without tactics or goals that support your larger marketing strategy is akin to getting into a car and hitting the gas without knowing where you’re going.

Solution: Spend 30 Minutes on a Strategy

You know your local business should be on social media, so you are already off to a great start!

Creating a social media strategy doesn’t have to be robust and complex right from the start. Start simple, and then continue to build on it over time as you learn what works and doesn’t work for your business.

Begin with these seven steps to creating a basic social media strategy:

  1. Determine Social Channels to Pursue
  2. Investigate Your Competitors’ Social Presence
  3. Allocate Team Roles for Creating Content and Monitoring Engagement
  4. Set Realistic and Obtainable Goals
  5. Identify Your Target Audience
  6. Establish Success Metrics and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
  7. Plan Check-In Points

Social Media Mistake #4: Not responding kindly to negative reviews/posts

While positive reviews are essential, customers are more likely to trust a business that has a few negative reviews because it increases credibility. After all, nobody’s perfect.

No matter how great your business is, you will receive a negative review or post at some point. And more often than not, it is natural to want to react, defend your business and refute its claims. However, that is not the best way to approach this feedback.

Solution: Create a review response guide

First and foremost, change your perception of this type of feedback as negative and instead consider it an opportunity to showcase your customer service.

53% of customers expect businesses to respond to negative reviews within a week. Therefore, you should start by determining who will monitor and respond to reviews across your various online platforms. Then you should create a guideline for how to handle negative reviews.

We recommend our review response formula to increase the likelihood of a positive outcome from a negative review:

  1. Acknowledge Their Review
    It is important to show that you acknowledge the reviewer’s feedback and feelings. Perception is reality. Therefore, it is important not to dismiss their experience but rather apologize even if you don’t necessarily agree with it. “John, we are sorry to hear that you feel that way about your experience.”
  1. Take Things Offline
    Try to take any further conversation offline and out of the public eye (in email or on the phone). If you know who the customer is, you can say something along the lines of “We will have our Director of Customer Service reach out to you ASAP.” Or if you are not sure which customer it is, you can say, “We’d like to know more details so that we can try to resolve any issues. Can you please email us at or call (XXX) XXX-XXXX.”
  2. Resolve the Case
    Taking the time to listen to a customer’s issues gives you a second chance to correct matters missed, repair the relationship with that customer and possibly earn back their business in the future. They also may be willing to go back and change their review.

Review Responce Formula


Social Media Mistake #5: Fully Vetting Hashtags

For some social networks, hashtags can be a powerful way to get in front of the right people. Not incorporating hashtags in your social posting is a mistake – but using the wrong ones can be even worse.

Solution: Do Quick Hashtag Research

Social channels like Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter use them to compile posts on a specific subject, making it easier for their users to find content they are interested in—think of them as the name of a folder in an online filing cabinet.

Social Media hashtag use mistakes

But it isn’t just as simple as throwing a bunch of hashtags that are trending or sound relevant on a post. You first need to check out how people are using the hashtag to ensure it is appropriate for the content you are publishing. Otherwise, you may be directing the wrong type of attention to your business.

For example, let’s say a Realtor publishes a post about people searching for houses and everyone expecting a luxurious main bedroom ensuite even with a low or moderate budget. Thinking it is funny, they include the hashtag #metoo without doing the proper research beforehand. If they had, they would know that #metoo was created to bring awareness to the Me Too Movement against sexual abuse and harassment. As a result, they will most likely receive an abundance of backlash about the insensitivity of their post.

Mistakes happen. But don’t worry. Even if you read through this list of faux pas and realize you are guilty of a few, it will all be ok! Social media is constantly evolving, and so are the audiences who use it. It will most likely be forgotten once you hit your stride on social media. Not to mention the fact that the social media mistakes you made in the past can help you refine your strategy moving forward.

Are you interested in a free social media strategy session with one of our digital marketing experts? Contact us Vivial today.