Image via Freddie Collins under CC0 1.0

9 Social Media Mistakes That Are Costing You Money

How much money did social media make your business this week? What about this quarter? Or even this year? These questions are tough to answer, as many people struggle to tie their social media activities to their bottom line. The key is knowing exactly what metrics to track, and building the capability for measurement into everything you do online.

But that’s not what this blog post is about. This blog post is about making sure you’re not letting dollars and cents fall through the cracks. Social media can help you build your business in many different ways, but of course the inverse is just as true—you might be missing out on opportunities, or even just wasting your budget.

The reality is, you’re probably making a few basic social media mistakes that are costing your business money, or at least potential revenue. We take a look at nine of those mistakes below, and offer solutions for how to fix them.

Not including vital information in your profile


Let’s start off with a simple one. When people look up a business today, they usually end up on their website or their social media profiles. Now think about what information you look for when researching a business. Product information, sure, but even more basic than that? Most people are looking for contact information, an address, or a price. You’re social media profiles should include all of these, or at least link to a website that does.

If you own a restaurant and your social media profiles don’t point people to your menu, you’re losing their business. If you’re an accountant and people on your Facebook page can’t find your phone number or email address, you’re losing their business. If you open your own store but don’t put the address in your Twitter profile, you’re losing out on business.

It’s such a simple thing, but one that makes a massive impact when it comes to driving business. If I can’t find this basic information on your social profiles, I’m going to go somewhere else. It’s as simple as that. So make sure you fill out and optimize your social media profiles.

How it’s costing you money: Clients who would spend their money with you turn to other businesses when information like cost or contact information is hard to find.

How to fix it: Fill out your profiles in full. Provide all info a client might expect.

Only treating social media as an awareness tool

Financial Firms Adopt Social Selling

This approach might have made sense in 2008, but we’re way past the point where an awareness-only strategy makes sense. Social media can help you achieve nearly every business goal you have. Your social media strategy should actually focus on how social networks can help you achieve very specific business goals.

If you want to drive leads, there are people on social media looking for good industry content. Become the provider. Consistently producing content that provides value will grow your social media following. Once you build that trust, you can start providing gated content, contests or other lead generating formats and start building that database. The leads are out there, you’re just letting them slip through your fingers.

If you want to sell your product or services, teach your team social selling strategies. Social selling is a powerful way to learn about prospects and connect with them on common ground. Every day your sales team neglects social media is a day you’re losing money.

How it’s costing you money: Social media is full of opportunities for sales, leads and more. Every second you ignore these tools, a new revenue-generating opportunity has passed you by.

How to fix it: Tie your social media activities to broader business goals and approach everything you do online with these goals in mind. Train your team on how to do it.

Weak (or no) CTAs

Twitter ad example

Once you identify those opportunities, how do you turn them into sales, leads and ultimately revenue? With a strong CTA.

Not paying attention to your calls-to-action is a very simple way to lose potential revenue. You need to be leading prospects down the funnel on a logical path. You can’t just throw “sign up” on the end of every Facebook or Twitter post and expect people to follow through. These ‘stock’ CTAs scream “ignore!” when they should be enticing people to take the next steps. And of course, not having any CTA at all is like not putting a sign on the front of your store. No good can come of it.

On many social networks, the CTA will simply be a link. On Twitter, for example, you may not be able to spare the characters for a detailed CTA. However, on networks like Facebook and LinkedIn, you should put effort into your CTAs and tie them to the piece of content, insight or offer you’re promoting.

If you’re offering an accounting solution, your CTA might be “Get your finances in order today” with a link to your contact form. If you share a white paper about becoming a better writer, your CTA should go beyond “read more.” Instead say something relevant to the content, like “For more tips on improving your writing, click here.”

How it’s costing you money: Calls-to-action turn social media followers into prospects by pushing them to other sources of content or gated forms. A weak CTA (or none at all) will mean fewer leads and ultimately fewer sales.

How to fix it: Take the time to work on a unique CTA for your social messaging. Tie the call to action to the content and make it appealing. Avoid stock, boring messaging.

Not tagging links shared on social media for tracking

UTM Parameters

When it comes to optimizing your social media efforts, the more information you have about your audience the better. This information allows you to better target your campaigns, and increases the chances of having your messaging seen, shared and clicked. The more reach and engagement you have, the more of an opening you have to pitch your product or service and generate business.

To learn about your social media following, you should be tagging every single link you share on social media. By tagging, we mean adding a utm code or other url parameters that will allow you to know more about who is clicking your link and the actions they take after doing so. This information will prove invaluable as you ultimately work to sell them on your product or service. The more you know, the easier it is to sell.

How it’s costing you money: The more information you have about prospects and their behaviour, the more successful you will be in selling to them. Not tagging links means you’re missing out on key information.

How to fix it: Tag your links with utm parameters and use the information they provide when undertaking social selling.

Not testing your paid social organically

 Hootsuite provides Twitter ad support for easy promotion of your content
            Hootsuite provides Facebook ad support for easy promotion of your organic content

Many businesses are starting to explore paid social media advertising, and why wouldn’t they? Paid social offers better targeting, it meets people where they are today, and its relatively cheap. In addition to all of these factors, social advertising also has another significant advantage: you can test your ads on social media organically first.

You literally get to test your ad for free, see how it performs, and then only put money behind the top performing content. It’s a dream come true for advertisers. So why are so many people still not doing it?

Advertisers continue to create new messaging and content for ads, ignoring the free tests they run every day organically. They also continue to take posts that aren’t performing well and put money behind them in the hopes of turning things around. Don’t fall into this trap. You’re just going to throw money at something that your followers have already told you isn’t worth the time. Social media users can ignore paid messaging just like they do regular messaging. Don’t ignore the signals they send based on your own beliefs. Trust the users and save yourself significant budget along the way.

How it’s costing you money: By not testing, you put money behind unproven content and will inevitably waste budget on content that doesn’t end up performing well.

How to fix it: Test all of your social ads organically first, and then only put budget behind posts that perform well.

Paying for followers and engagement

Buy Twitter Followers

“Buy 1,000 new followers for only $10!” Sound familiar? If you work in social media, you have almost surely been pitched an opportunity to spend a little money for new followers or engagement on your social accounts.

Earning followers is hard, so we understand the temptation. But if you follow through and pay for Followers or Likes, you’re absolutely wasting your money.

Most of these businesses (like, 99 percent of them) are selling you fake followers and pointless engagements. The entire point of building a social media following is to grow a community of people who will engage with your content, share it widely with their own networks, and possibly end up as your customers. The followers you buy (at 10 cents each) are not going to engage with your content, or if they do the engagements will be generic at best—the people working at clickfarms aren’t going to take the time to actually read your blog post. If they share your content, they’re going to be sharing it with their own fake network, since fake accounts to spend time earning real followers. And they’re absolutely not going to end up as customers.

Paying for followers and engagement is a scam, one that goes against the terms of service of most major social networks. These practices even put your accounts at risk. Don’t take the easy route. Put in the work and you’ll actually reap the benefits of social media.

How it’s costing you money: You inject money into fake followers and generic engagements that in no way benefit your business.

How to fix it: Don’t take the easy route. Avoid buying followers or Likes and focus on earning them. It might take more time, but it will actually provide you with real engagement, reach and new business opportunities.

Ignoring negative feedback/customer issues

 Some users will even go so far as to promote their customer service complaints on social media
Some users will even go so far as to promote their customer service complaints on social media

As a consumer yourself, you understand how much customer service influences your own views of a company. In fact, 76 percent of consumers say they view customer service as the true test of how much a company values them.

Social media is playing a massive role in customer service today. According to one study, 67 percent of consumers have used a company’s social media page for service. Your business needs to be ready to address any and all customer issues or feedback received through your social accounts. Neglecting to do so is a sure fire way to lose customers you have, and, because of the public nature of these social media interactions, customers you might have had.

Want a clearer look into how this translates into dollars and cents? Unanswered questions on a company’s social media page would deter 50 percent of people from being its customer. On the other side of things, consumers who have received customer service on social media are willing to pay 21 percent more than average for excellent service.

Social networks have made a point over the last few years of prioritizing social media customer service with new tools and functionality. Now it falls on you to do the same.

How it’s costing you money: Research has shown that unanswered feedback or customer service issues on social media will lose you existing customers as well as prospects.

How to fix it: Make a point of investing in social media customer service. Answer all feedback, positive or negative, in a timely manner. Show you’re paying attention and addressing their needs. Other social media users will notice.

Not monitoring competitor social media conversations


One of social media’s best kept secrets is the competitive intelligence it can provide your business. Your competitors are out there, working in the open and interacting with their customers on social media. By listening in on their social media conversations, you can learn:

  • how they successfully and unsuccessfully interact with clients
  • where the gaps are in their strategy
  • what their customer pain points are
  • which of their customers are looking for a new solution.

This goldmine of information freely available on social media can help you make gains in your market. You can ensure you’re not making the same mistakes that are losing your competitors clients. You can make a concrete effort to fill the gaps you’ve identified in their strategy. And you can proactively reach out to their former customers who are unhappy or are in the market for a new solution.

How it’s costing you money: Not monitoring competitors on social media means missing out on vital information that you can use to break into their market and bring customers to your side—which translates into money in the bank.

How to fix it: Monitor competitors on social media, learn from their interactions with customers, and take action to ensure you’re filling the gaps in their strategy.

Poor planning/time wasting

Image via zoutedrop under CC BY 2.0
Image via zoutedrop under CC BY 2.0

Time is money! It’s an old saying but one that still applies today. On social media, you don’t have the luxury of taking your time. Social networks and their users move fast, and you need to keep up. If you can’t keep up, you’ll fall behind, lose followers and miss out on business opportunities. The key to avoiding these issues is better planning and a concrete social media strategy.

Your social media strategy should ensure that all of your social activities are connected to broader business goals, so you’re not wasting your time doing things that won’t benefit you. Your strategy should also include a content strategy and an editorial calendar, so you’re always sharing content and providing value to your followers. Your strategy will also involve choosing social media management tools, which will help you save time and effort by, for example, allowing you to schedule posts in advance and avoid spending hours actively posting content every day. A good strategy will save you time, time that can be better spent engaging users, building relationships and boosting your bottom line.

How it’s costing you money: Wasting time means missed opportunities on social media, and a loss of time that could be spent helping your business in other ways.

How to fix it: Approach social media with a concrete strategy, including set goals, an editorial calendar and a social media management tool. All of this will allow you to make the most of your time on social and focus on your business.

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