Instagram for business owners

Small business social media marketing mistakes to avoid

by Michaela fong

Instagram for business owners

Small business social media marketing mistakes to avoid

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I am a small European town gal with big dreams who immigrated to Canada and built a multi-six-figure business from my living room floor and kitchen counter! I accidentally grew it into a small business community and became a small business educator along the way.

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Want to improve your social media marketing and finally start getting orders? I bet you are making at least one of these social media mistakes I share with you today. I know that, because I made them too, and I see new small business owners making them every day. But that’s not going to be you anymore! Roll up your sleeves, pull out your note pad & let’s improve your social media marketing together. Ready?

Top 10 small business social media mistakes to avoid:

1. Not being consistent long enough

Social media marketing is a long-term game. Getting traction requires a commitment, upfront time investment, practice and consistency. I know, I know, it is easier said than done. I too was in a situation when I started my first social media account, pulling my hair out and asking: “how long is this going to take?”. It is demotivating & frustrating to keep posting when the only person who likes your post is your best friend. 

We look up to the established accounts and wish to get the same results, forgetting that everyone started from 0. Remember, only creators who pushed through the quiet times grew their accounts, eventually. It is not a fast process, so starting your social media accounts and growing them slowly before you launch your website is very beneficial.

If you are hoping to grow your account, the best is to make your social media marketing part of your weekly routine and show up consistently whether you have five followers or 5000. Every single account I grew and every creator I know stuck through the quiet times and kept posting & engaging, even when there were no results just yet.

2. Only posting about your products/service 

When we always share our product/service, we become like that billboard by the highway that no one pays attention to. I am sorry; I wish it would not be this way. But even if your followers love what you are making, if they are always just bombarded with your products, they will sooner or later start ignoring your posts. People follow YOU, not just because of your products. 

Think about your own behaviour on social media – if you see someone sharing a cute product, you may keep liking it for some time. But if they keep posting the same thing over and over, eventually, it gets boring, and sooner or later, you’ll stop paying attention to their posts. Ask yourself – what makes you follow people? What makes you watch their reels and read their captions? What makes you engage with their posts? It’s likely because you find it engaging, entertaining, inspiring or helpful in some way. 

Your time is valuable, and so is your potential customers’ time online. So if you want to catch & keep their attention, instead of just sharing your products, try sharing a little something they care about watching, even if they don’t want to buy from you right now.

For example: if you sell candles, instead of always just featuring your candles and showing how you make them, share quick self-care routines for candle lovers, show how to take care of the candles, share self-care aesthetics with reminders that attract people who need more self-care in their life (& likely like candles). This gives people a reason to follow you & share your content even if they don’t want to buy your candles right now. Remember: When they care, they share. When they build trust, they buy.

3. Promoting before building an audience

The most common mistake new small business owners make is launching a business/product before building an audience online. That means that they are launching their product/service to no one. Growing an audience on social media takes time, consistency & deliberate action. Before people on social media feel comfortable buying from you, they need to build a know-like-trust factor with your brand. That is why building and nurturing your audience before launching a product or trying to sell your product on social media is key if you’d like to transfer your followers into paying customers.

So what if you have already launched a product and don’t have a social media audience yet?  Don’t get discouraged when you are not getting orders; instead , make growing & nurturing your online community your priority for the next few months, create shareable content, and engage with your current followers.

4. Posting trends without considering how it relates to your brand

Trends can give your account higher exposure and bring new followers. But if the trends you are creating don’t speak to your ideal customer and don’t align with your branding, they can cause more harm than good.

Before you hop onto next trend, ask yourself: 

– Is this trend aligned with my brand?

– What message does this trend give to the world? Is this what I want to communicate?

– Why would my ideal customer care about watching this? Can they relate to the message I am sharing? Is this something funny they can relate to? Or am I teaching them something interesting and helpful around my products?

5. Still sharing static images on Instagram

RIP good old Instagram, where we could post a pretty picture, and people would love it. I wish this would not be the case, but in the last two years social media world evolved tremendously, and so did social media users. Video content & informative carousels are ruling the Instagram world right now. If you are still just sharing static photos, it might be a reason why your Instagram reach is low. 

Consider starting to make videos which are preferred by the algorithm in almost every platform right now. Give yourself some grace; your first few videos won’t be perfect, and chances are no one will watch them. But the good old rule “practice makes perfect” will be your motto until you feel proud of the video content you are putting out there. Focus on your practice & improvement will show, and people’s interest in your content will grow.

6. Posting and ghosting

This social media rule is simple: if you’d like people to engage (like, share, comment) with your posts, start engaging with them first. Every social media user notices that person who always leaves a nice thoughtful comment because there is not much of it in today’s self-centred world. Be that person. Leave genuine compliments, share your opinion and cheers up in the comment section for accounts your ideal customer is following. Already have followers? Even better – start engaging with them all the time when you post. Sooner or later, they will start seeing your posts more, and if you initiate a genuine, engaging relationship, they will begin engaging with you too.

7. Posting without a strategy in mind 

Defining what is the purpose of each post before you post it, will help you to market strategically and help you to stop crafting posts that don’t bring any results for your small business. Your content strategy should be aimed at growing your audience, build a know-like-trust factor & convert to sales. 

Therefore, if you look at your social media account, each of your posts should be one of the following:

  • Content to grow: This is a type of content that brings more people to your account. For example: viral trends.
  • Content to engage & build trust. Your audience needs to trust you before they feel comfortable buying from you. This is a type of content where you create personal connection with your audience, show behind the scenes of your small business and share why & how is your small business different than others.
  • Content to sell: If done right, this type of content should lead to orders. These are posts focused on your product promotions and upcoming launches.

8. Using irrelevant #

If you want your content to be seen by your ideal customer, you need to use # that:

  1. Describe your product
  2. Niche specific # your ideal customer would use
  3. Location specific #

If you are using #smallbusinessowner #smallbizlove , etc. – your content is seen by small business owners, not your ideal customer. Before you publish your next post, do research on your preferred social media platform and instead of using # that other small business owners are using, start using # your ideal customer would use or type into the search bar when looking for your product (PS: it’s not “smallbusinesscheck”)

9. Acting like a consumer instead of the creator 

Consumers come on social media to consume content. Creators come to do research, learn from others & implement to improve their content. Social media is a free learning tool. Start paying attention to what type of content makes you stop scrolling & why? What keeps you engaged till the end of the video? What makes you comment or share someone’s post? Why do you follow someone? What makes you purchase products on social media? Start viewing other people’s content from the eyes of the creator, write your notes down & use them next time you create your content. 

10. Not being YOUnique

The truth is that there are probably hundreds of other people selling a similar product to yours. But no one does it like you. What makes you different? Is it your funny personality? Your style? Your mission? Don’t let the noise of social media influence rob you of your uniqueness. Don’t try to be like everyone else – everyone else is like everyone else already. If you want to stand out from the crowd, be YOUnique.

So, what do you say? Did you caught yourself making any of these mistakes too? If so, don’t worry you are on the right place. Make sure to follow me on @smallbizbabescommunity for more small business tips.

Can’t wait to talk soon! Xo,


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DISCLAIMER: Some of the links you'll find in my blogs are affiliate links. If you happen to love something as much as I do and decide to give it a shot through one of these links, I might earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. This helps me keep creating my podcasts and blogs that I hope you enjoy and find valuable. I promise to only recommend products and services that I've personally tried and absolutely LOVE.

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