No SymbolEveryone writes about how to do social media correctly. But few people address the key problems most small businesses have when they try to use social media to market and fail. Now, I’m sure you aren’t guilty of any of these boo boos, but just in case, let’s look at the biggest mistakes in social media marketing.

1. Only Updating Your Accounts When You Feel Like It

It’s better to not even have social media accounts if you’re going to update them sporadically. Sites like Twitter, G+, and LinkedIn move at the speed of light, and if your last update was two weeks ago, you’re history. Literally. I know it’s time-consuming to update your streams, but consistency will pay off in the end.

2. Trying to Be on All Channels

Look folks, I’m trying to save you time here. There are a lot of social channels out there, and not all of them are a good fit for you to reach your audience. Rather than diluting your efforts, choose a handful (read: 2-3) and put all your energies there.

3. Being in the Wrong Places

I know you like the idea of Instagram, but if your customers aren’t spending time there, you’re barking up the wrong tree. Figure out where they are hanging out, and post up there.

4. Only Promoting Yourself

If you’re doing this, you haven’t read a single article about social media in, what, seven years? Social media is about engagement and conversation. Not your latest promotion.

5. Not Creating Value

If you’re not delivering content and tips that your audience wants, they’ll tune you out (or worse, unfollow you). And you’ll waste your time. Instead, focus on finding articles that your audience cares about, share them, and add your own insight.

6. Following Everyone

Not everyone adds value to your stream, and many social users just want to amp up their number of followers (that does no good, I assure you). Instead, follow people that seem to be aligned with your interests, or who fit your target demographic.

7. Following No One

It’s a bit insulting to follow someone who has many followers but who doesn’t follow anyone. Be a team player! And see #6.

8. Expecting Overnight Success

Social media isn’t a magic wand. It requires work, and you’ll have to put that in if you expect results. It will work, but you have to give it time.