Social media is the fastest-growing way to market yourself online. So you join a few social platforms, build a profile, and start posting about your business. And yet, your results aren’t what you expected. What happened? Chances are, you made one or several of these seven mistakes. Before you go any farther in your social media campaign, check to make sure you aren’t committing one of these damaging blunders.

Posting whenever you find the time. It’s a common mistake to think of your social media strategy as something you’ll cram into your busy schedule whenever you can. Why? Because you might end up posting at all the wrong times. If the majority of your audience doesn’t see your posts, you’re wasting your time. So find out when your audience is online, make a schedule, and post accordingly.

No selling on FacebookPushing for big commitment. You have a few thousand followers, so now is the time to post and ask them to buy your products or services, right? Wrong! Most of your followers will be turned off by such a obvious attempt to sell. Instead, ask your followers to make a series of smaller commitments. Psychologically, once we have said “yes” to someone three or four times, we are wired to continue saying yes. So ask your followers to visit your blog, where they will be asked to give you their email address, and so on. Later, you will use that email address to communicate more directly. Now they are more likely to say yes to a bigger commitment!

Focusing on quantity rather than quality. Having thousands of followers is a good thing, right? Not so fast. What you want are followers who actually engage with you, not artificially inflated numbers. Don’t waste your time on artificial means of growing your friends list. Instead, make sure that the content you post actually sparks engagement, and focus on quality followers over quantity.

Forgetting to optimize your content. Unfortunately, you can’t just post links to your blog and hope for the best. Make sure you optimize your content with social media meta tags. Now your posts will be better formatted and include images, so that they capture the eyes and interest of your followers.

Promoting yourself. Remember the last time you had a conversation with someone who spent most of their energy bragging on their personal accomplishments? You probably couldn’t wait to get away from that person, and you avoid them now at all costs. Keep in mind that your followers will feel the same way if you use social media to blatantly promote yourself. Remember to keep the focus on providing value and participating in conversations.

Missing opportunities to drive traffic to your site. Sometimes you will post links to other websites, because they are funny, interesting, entertaining, or otherwise relevant to your audience. This is a good thing to do, because it shows that you aren’t interested only in promoting yourself. However, you’re driving traffic to that website while receiving nothing in return!  The best practice is to publish great content on your blog and the post links to it on your social media platforms.  Engage your audience and drive traffic to your site at the same time.

Going overboard with social sharing buttons. It’s a smart idea to include social sharing buttons on your website, to encourage readers to share your blogs or videos. But don’t load your page with buttons for every social media site known to mankind! This will clutter up your page, make it more difficult for readers to find the button they need, and actually reduces shares of your content!

As social media evolves, remember that the smartest marketers will continue to evolve with it. Regularly review and update your practices, because what worked yesterday may be a big mistake today. Staying up to date on the latest social media trends is the best way to sharpen your social media strategy and distance yourself from the competition.

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