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  • Alison Ellerbrook

The 6 Biggest Mistakes Businesses Make With Social Media



I've been freelancing as a social media manager for almost a year now. I've worked with a number of clients, both my own and those of agencies in all sorts of different industries.


In the past year these are the 5 biggest mistakes I'm finding businesses are repeatedly making:


1. Using Their Personal Ad Accounts

The number of clients I've started working with that use their personal Facebook ad account to run their business Facebook ads. This is possible, but it's not good practice. The first thing I do when I start working with a new client is check this is all set up properly; the boring housekeeping stuff. Create a business ad account AND create a backup one for when things go wrong.

Usually people are using their personal ad account because they are...


2. Not Using Facebook Business Manager

This is a fundamental. I'm not Facebook Business Manager's biggest fan, but it does the job of keeping your page separate to your personal stuff (so you don't get notifications about your page when you're off work). It also enables you to set up an Ad Account for your Facebook page and keeps it all neatly in one place.

The other advantage is that you can give people roles in your business and ad manager and limit their access if need be. If you're outsourcing your social media, and even if you're not, make sure you get this set up right from the start.


3. Not Having The Facebook Pixel Installed

I have lost count, absolutely lost count of how many businesses are running Facebook Ads without having the Facebook pixel installed on their website. I'm not just talking small businesses either, some of these businesses are scarily big. Some have their own marketing departments and it astounds me that they are spending £££ without being able to retarget their website visitors or properly track conversions.


4. Not Having An Adequate Privacy Policy

Those that do have the pixel installed very often don't have an adequate privacy policy. There I am merrily about to run some lead ads and discover that the client doesn't even mention cookies or social media or anything in their Privacy policy. Make sure this is all in order before running ads. It should be anyway in these GDPR times. If you don't know what to write, there are lots of templates you can use online (don't copy and paste someone elses try somewhere like Simply Docs).


5. Not Engaging In Conversation

This is possibly my biggest bug bear. The clue is in the name 'social media'. Paying someone to do your social media isn't just about asking them to create and post content on your behalf.

Any social media manager worth their salt, will build in time to engage with your audience. We need to talk to people who are interested in your brand, like their comments, retweet their content. We need to be social.

It's not ALL ABOUT YOU. You may think it is, but this is such a turn off for your potential audience. If you want them to become advocates of your brand, you need to show you can provide value. Share relevant news stories, comment on current issues, start a conversation.

It's pretty easy... you just need to talk to people.

Now, you can outsource all of this to a social media manager, however, I feel that Twitter is one platform which really requires the involvement of the client.

For me, Twitter is all or nothing. I've lost count of how many clients have asked me to 'tweet once a day'. What is the point? I won't do it. You are wasting your money and my time.


Posting to Twitter once a day is as effective as a chocolate teapot.

Posting to Twitter three times a day is pretty much the same.

Just posting content to Twitter and not engaging is POINTLESS.


"Hey Alison, we don't have time to do social media, can you do it for us?"

"Yes, I can, but I'd rather do it with you."


If you want to grow your presence on Twitter and need help, then work with your social media manager. We can create posts for you, research hashtags and schedule content but we can't give expert comment or advice on your product to your audience. We can't always 'be your voice'. To that end, I would recommend you don't completely outsource Twitter, log into your account and see who your followers are. You never know you might find someone you like, want to talk to and, hell, even enjoy it!


6. Not Being Human

This is very similar to the previous point, but more about content. You wouldn't believe how many clients I work with that expect me to magic content about their business out of thin air.

There are only so many INTERESTING and ENGAGING posts about YOUR business that a social media manager can make out of a static website!

Share some photos of the staff, who's growing a tash for Movember, a recent testimonial from a happy customer, a picture of the stocked shelves, a behind the scenes peek at the workshop, video of ANYTHING!!!

People buy from people.

People engage with people.

Show your human side and you might be pleasantly surprised at the results.


Alison Ellerbrook delivers social media management and online marketing for small businesses in North East England and beyond. www.singinghinny.com


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