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The 10 Most Common Mistakes Small Business Make on Social Media

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“We don’t have a choice on whether we do social media, the question is how well we do it.”– Erik Qualman author

Why should you care about social media? Because a whopping 78% of consumers say that companies’ social media posts impact what they buy (source).

In New Zealand, 3.5 million people are active social media users who spend 1 hour and 53 minutes using social every day. Social media is here to stay and if you are not using the platforms effectively, you could be doing your business more harm than good.

At Muritai Group, we are all about making sure your message is seen by the right people at the right time, keeping it on point and interesting. I recently gave a presentation at a local networking meeting on the mistakes that businesses often make with their social media marketing. The following is a distillation of my top tips for communicating online.

No 1. Don’t spread yourself too thin.

There is a large variety of social media sites available for businesses to use - Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, Tumblr, the list goes on and on. Don’t feel like you have to be on all of them. There is not much point in having a presence on Instagram, for instance, if none of your customers use it.

Don’t waste time trying to post on every platform either. Be selective, and focus on quality over quantity.  Same goes for choosing your audience. Stick to your target market and don’t try and convert the unconvertable.

No 2. Keep posting

Many businesses that we see doing social media marketing poorly are those who often launch with a bang and then die a slow death. It takes time to build up an audience, especially if algorithms are involved. So don’t give up just because you haven’t seen an increase in sales/contacts after your first week of posting. Consistency is key to achieving great results through social media. It can take time for your voice to be heard above all the others.

No 3. Fake followers are see-through.

Trying to take a short cut to popularity through purchasing fake followers doesn’t work. You want a real audience, who will tell others, real people, how great your company is. Not a legion of obviously fake bots following you. Your customers aren’t fools, so don’t treat them as such with fake friends.

No 4. #hashtagtoomuch and you will become #spam

Hashtags are searchable and can be a great way for people to hunt for a specific item. But make it too simple and you will just get lost in a sea of results. For example, anyone searching for the hashtag design will receive an infinite stream of anything to do with, well, the design really.

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking more is better though. Using a large number of hashtags doesn’t necessarily mean more people will see your content. It is actually more likely to be seen as spammy and be overlooked.  

It can also detract from your message if you use #toomany #inthe #onepost #isthissentence #readableand #annoyingtotheye?

No 5. Rinse and repeat but not too much

If you post the same thing over and over again people will get bored, become unresponsive and eventually block your company/unfollow you.

No 6. It takes two to tango

Social media is about two-way communication. If someone takes the time to message you or comment on your post, make sure you acknowledge them and reply to their query as soon as is reasonable.

Be sure not to miss the ‘social’ in social media.  Many businesses treat it is a way to stand on their soapbox and promote how great they are. Instead take it as an opportunity to engage your potential customers.

No 7. Don’t forget to budget.

The reality of the Facebook algorithm is that an empty marketing purse is an invisible one. Unless your post is the rare golden meme that instantly goes viral, an ad budget should be in place. It allows you to reach people who would likely not have seen your posts otherwise.

That does not mean that you should spend your advertising budget blindly though. Don’t waste your money with ads that are not targeted to your ideal customers

No 8. Don’t assume millennials can do it.

Don’t assume that just because someone is a heavy user of social media, they know how to communicate through it. For example, most millennials will know how to use Facebook, but many won’t know how to use it to drive business results. Don’t put someone in charge of your communications if they don’t actually have the qualifications/experience to do so.

No 9. Blah blah blah

Some businesses are really, really boring. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box when it comes to communication. You want your customers to think Yes when they think of your brand, not Yawn.  Working with clients across industries, we know that everything has an engaging story to tell, even fence posts.

No 10. You have to be in to win

The worst mistake that you can make is to not communicate with your customers at all! Doing something is always better than doing nothing. Through social media, companies can inspire, engage, connect, share, influence & communicate with their ideal customers at every interaction point.

If you don’t know how to do it, or where to start, don’t worry, because we do. At Muritai Group, we challenge ineffective marketing with creative ideas, strategic thinking and common sense to deliver marketing that works.

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Jayden is a recent graduate of ARA Institute of Canterbury who received the Bachelor of Applied Management with a double degree in Sales and Marketing, and Human Resources. Jayden comes to Muritai with experience working in a printing and design company, as well as spending some time conducting primary research. He is a passionate marketer and creative thinker who has a particular interest in the research and strategy aspects of marketing. 


Outside of work, Jayden enjoys reading horror and crime drama novels.

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