Social media has become an essential tool for professional designers running their own business. But if used incorrectly, it can cause a LOT of damage to your brand and reputation! Understanding the most common social media mistakes will help you avoid missteps. In turn, you can ensure that your message is properly received by current and potential customers.
In this article, we’ll take a look at 15 things you need to avoid doing when engaging on social media. So long as you steer clear of these mistakes, we guarantee you’ll be able to protect your business from negative brand consumption and reputation.
So, read on to find out what these 15 social media mistakes are!
The Positive and Negative Impact of Social Media on Businesses
First, let’s start by discussing the impact of social media on businesses.
Social media has become an invaluable tool for connecting with customers, making it easier to get your message out there and build trust with prospects. It’s also the perfect platform for sharing news, photos, and videos with your audience. Social media can even help you generate leads and convert them into paying customers!
Furthermore, social media can also reap the following benefits for your design business:
- Increased brand visibility;
- Improved customer service;
- A boost in website traffic;
- Social proof from customers;
- Increased networking opportunities;
- And more!
Pro Tip: Discover 3 business-savvy ways you can increase your salary as a designer through the use of social media!
On the other hand, social media can also be dangerous if not used properly. Poorly written posts can lead to misunderstandings or even hurtful comments from customers, which can damage your business’s reputation. Not to mention, these mistakes can be costly and time-consuming to fix!
What are 5 Negative Affects of Social Media?
Here are five negative impacts of social media that you should be aware of:
- Social media can lead to the spread of misinformation;
- Platform algorithms can censor or hide your posts;
- Social media platforms have strict rules and guidelines, which could potentially harm your business if violated;
- Social media can be a major distraction for employees;
- And it can cause feelings of inadequacy or depression if used excessively.
So, now that you understand the impact of social media on businesses, let’s take a look at some of the most common social media mistakes designers make…
15 Social Media Mistakes That Can Hurt Your Design Business and Reputation
Mistake #1: Not Having a Social Media Strategy
You should always have an overall strategy when it comes to using social media! Thus, start by developing your own Social Media Policy. This is the best way to ensure that everyone in your company is following the same guidelines and expectations.
Tips for Creating a Social Media Strategy:
- Create a Social Media Policy that outlines your expectations and guidelines;
- Clearly define goals and objectives for each social media platform;
- Set time limits on when you and/or employees can use the platforms;
- Decide which platforms you’ll use to reach your target audience;
- And establish content guidelines.
Mistake #2: Not Knowing Who Your Target Market Is
It’s important to know who you’re trying to reach with your social media content. If you don’t have a clear picture of your target audience, it can be difficult to craft effective messages that will engage them and encourage them to take action.
Tips for Identifying Your Target Audience:
- Do market research to get an understanding of their demographics;
- Use segmentation to identify different segments of your target market;
- Look at existing customers to determine who is already engaging with your content;
- Create “buyer personas” for each segment of your target audience;
- And develop a strategy for how you’ll reach each segment.
Mistake #3: Poorly Written Posts
It can be tempting to post quickly without checking for errors. However, this can be a HUGE social media mistake! Poorly written posts are unprofessional, which will reflect badly on your business. Moreover, they can lead to misunderstandings or even hurtful comments from customers, which can be difficult and costly to fix.
Tips for Writing Effective Social Media Posts:
- Write in an active voice;
- Keep it short – aim for 100 characters or less;
- Include visuals, such as images or videos;
- Allow for engagement by including questions or polls;
- And be sure to use proper grammar, punctuation, and spelling.
Mistake #4: Being Too Salesy or Promotional
It’s important to be mindful of how often you’re posting promotional content. After all, social media users don’t want to feel like they’re constantly being bombarded with sales pitches! Plus, if your business is ONLY ever making sales pitch-type posts, it can make your audience feel as though you only care about them for their money.
Tips for Avoiding the Salesy Trap:
- Mix up your content so it includes educational pieces, funny stories, and other engaging posts;
- Focus on creating content that’s helpful, not promotional;
- Keep posts focused on current events and topics of interest to your target audience;
- Include visuals that are entertaining or inspiring;
- Invite customers to share their stories on your social media platforms;
- And offer discounts and promotions sparingly.
Mistake #5: Not Allowing for Two-Way Conversation
It’s important to create an atmosphere of two-way communication on your social media platforms. Social media users want to feel like they can interact with you and that their opinions are valued. However, if you’re only posting content without allowing for any sort of dialogue, it can make your audience feel neglected or ignored.
What’s more, a big part of avoiding this social media mistake is to actually take the time to respond to comments, questions, and concerns. This will show your audience that you’re paying attention to them and their needs!
Tips for Encouraging Social Media Engagement:
- Respond to comments quickly and with genuine care;
- Include calls-to-action in your posts (e.g. “let us know what you think!”);
- Host contests and giveaways to get people talking;
- Regularly ask your followers questions;
- And thank people for their time and engagement.
Mistake #6: Not Addressing Negative Comments
Negative comments, reviews, and feedback are inevitable on social media.
However, it’s important to take the time to address these comments in a timely and professional manner. Ignoring negative comments will only make matters worse, as it’ll appear that you don’t care about your customers’ complaints and concerns. Not to mention, you’ll miss the opportunity to clarify anything the poster may have gotten wrong about your design business!
Tips for Addressing Negative Social Media Comments:
- Acknowledge the comment and validate their concerns;
- Apologize for any inconvenience or frustration they may have experienced;
- Take the conversation offline (if possible);
- Gently clarify any details in the original comment that may be incorrect or misleading to others;
- Be willing to make a compromise, such as offering a discount;
- And always thank customers for bringing their issues to your attention.
Mistake #7: Not Responding to Your DMs
Direct messages (DMs) are an important way to engage with your customers, build relationships, and answer any questions they may have. Not responding to DMs in a timely manner (or worse, ignoring them altogether!) can make your followers feel frustrated or even ignored.
Tips for Responding Effectively to Social Media DMs:
- Set a goal to respond within 24 hours of receiving them;
- Always be polite, helpful, and positive in your replies;
- Be sure to thank the customer for reaching out;
- Be honest if you don’t know the answer (and try to point them in the right direction);
- Try not to turn DM conversations into sales pitches;
- And provide helpful resources, such as blog posts or product pages.
Mistake #8: Harassing Others in the Design Industry
Yes, as a designer, social media is an excellent networking tool. For instance, you can:
- Engage with other designers in your industry;
- Share resources and tips to help each other out;
- And even collaborate on projects.
However, it’s important to remain respectful of others at all times. Social media platforms are not the place for aggressive or harassing behavior. Doing so will only reflect poorly on your business and damage your reputation!
Furthermore, if there’s a designer you’re hoping to connect with, know when to back off a little. If you DM them more than once or twice without a response, it can start to feel more like harassment than genuine networking.
Tips for Interacting with Other Designers on Social Media:
- Be polite and professional in all interactions;
- Respect other designers’ ideas and opinions;
- Try to see things from their perspective;
- Focus on collaboration, not competition;
- And be conscious of your own self-promotion habits.
Mistake #9: Forgetting About Your Business Brand
Your business brand is more than just a logo or website design. Rather, it’s the ENTIRE experience that your customers have with you. As such, it should be reflected in all aspects of your business, including your social media presence.
When managing your design business’s social media accounts, it’s important to remember that these platforms are not just for self-promotion. Rather, you should use them to provide an insider’s look at your design process, highlight your team members, and even share customer stories.
Tips for Expressing Your Brand on Social Media:
- Be consistent in all visuals, such as logos and color schemes;
- Write all posts, comments, and DMs in your brand’s tone of voice;
- Share behind-the-scenes content;
- Engage with customers and followers in a fun, light-hearted manner;
- Mention other brands and influencers in your industry;
- And show off the personality of your business with engaging content.
Pro Tip: Need help building your business brand as a designer? Our Beginner’s Guide will walk you through the process!
Mistake #10: Putting the Wrong Person in Charge of Your Social Media Accounts
As we’ve discussed, social media is an integral part of your business! So, it needs to be managed properly. Unfortunately, not all team members are suited for this task.
When deciding who should be in charge of your social media accounts, it’s important to choose someone who understands the brand and knows how to engage with customers effectively. Social media is a valuable customer service tool, so the person managing these accounts should be able to handle customer queries quickly and politely.
Tips for Social Media Account Management:
- Make sure the person in charge is familiar with your business brand;
- Set clear expectations and guidelines for the individual managing your accounts;
- Check in regularly to make sure the person is doing a good job;
- Provide feedback and training as necessary;
- And delegate tasks to other team members if needed.
Mistake #11: Not Monitoring Social Media for Potential Trouble
As a designer, you need to be mindful of how people perceive your business. Social media is an excellent way to monitor the public’s opinion and address any issues quickly.
But the fact is, unhappy customers won’t always tag you directly when posting negatively about your business. Rather, they’ll write an unhappy review on their personal page; sometimes, using industry buzzwords or general terms to describe the issue.
That’s why it’s important to monitor social media regularly and respond promptly to any potential trouble. This will show customers that you’re aware of their issues and are working hard to solve them!
Furthermore, you can then address any concerns that arise in a timely manner. This helps to maintain a good reputation and keeps your business in the public’s good graces.
Tips for Social Media Monitoring:
- Set aside time each day to check for customer feedback;
- Respond quickly and politely;
- Take negative reviews seriously and work on resolving them ASAP;
- Be proactive by using Social Listening tools to monitor your brand’s presence online;
- And always take the opportunity to thank customers for their support.
Mistake #12: Not Posting Frequently Enough
Posting regularly on social media can help keep your business top-of-mind for customers. Social media algorithms prioritize recent posts. Meaning, the more you post, the more likely it is that potential customers will see and engage with them!
Moreover, it’s important to mix up your content to ensure that followers stay interested in what you have to say. For example, you can post links to articles related to design, share helpful tips on a regular basis, and even host giveaways or contests.
Using Social Media Scheduling tools to plan out your content ahead of time is also a really helpful idea to consider, too!
Tips for Social Media Posting Frequency:
- Make sure you’re posting at least twice a week;
- Aim to post at least 3-4 times a week;
- Mix up the content you’re posting, including helpful tips and resources;
- Be sure to use Social Media Scheduling tools for advanced planning;
- And stay consistent with the topics and themes you’re sharing.
Mistake #13: Not Posting Enough Customer Testimonials
In this day and age, where everything lives online, there are a LOT of fake businesses out there. As a result, it takes a lot more to not only convince people that your business is legit – but to trust you. Social media is a great platform to promote customer testimonials and reviews, and this can help build trust between potential customers and your business!
In addition, sharing customer testimonials on social media helps establish credibility for your business. It’s also good practice to thank customers when they leave a positive review. This will show that you care about their opinion and value their feedback!
Tips for Social Media Posting Customer Testimonials:
- Thank customers who leave positive reviews;
- Ask customers to provide feedback on your products/services;
- Respond promptly to any negative reviews;
- Always be honest when responding to customer testimonials;
- When sharing a testimonial on your social media, tag the client if you know their SM handle;
- And use Social Listening tools to monitor your brand presence online.
Pro Tip: Struggling to find design clients? These 17 strategies will have you all booked up in no time!
Mistake #14: Not Linking Back to Your Business Website
If used properly, social media is a great platform to increase brand awareness. And while it’s important to post content that engages your followers, you should also ensure that a fair number of your posts link back to your website. Taking it one step further – if your social media bio allows you to include a link, you should have a link to your website right there, too.
For starters, this will help generate website traffic and boost SEO rankings! Additionally, linking back to your website gives potential customers the chance to learn more about the services and products you offer and it can help build trust in your business.
Tips for Linking Social Media to Your Business Website:
- Update social media bios with the link to your website;
- Include links back to your website in a fair number of posts;
- Make sure you have social share buttons on your website;
- Be proactive by utilizing Social Listening tools to identify places where your website could be mentioned;
- And use Social Ad Platforms to target potential customers with advertisements.
Mistake #15: Not Formatting Social Posts for Optimal Results
When it comes to social media, visual content reigns supreme! To make sure that your posts get the most engagement, it’s important to format them for optimal results. This means that you should use a mix of videos, images, GIFs, and text to create content that is engaging and visually appealing.
Also, when it comes to writing social media posts, opt for shorter sentences with simple language that can be easily understood by your followers. Social media is fast-paced, so you want to make sure that your posts can be consumed quickly and understood easily!
Tips for Social Post Formatting:
- Use a mix of videos, images, GIFs, and text;
- Write social media posts in short sentences with simple language;
- Make sure the visual elements of your post are visually appealing;
- Be mindful of the length of your posts;
- Include hashtags and emojis to spice up your content;
- Make sure you’re using the right hashtags;
- And maximize Social Listening tools to track your post performance.
What Social Media Marketers Get Wrong About SEO: The 4 Biggest Mistakes
As we touched upon in Social Media Mistake #14, social media can be a great platform to boost SEO rankings. However, many marketers fail to realize that social media is just one part of SEO. Social posts alone won’t do much – instead, you need an integrated approach that includes on-page and technical optimization as well as off-page activities such as link building.
The four biggest mistakes that social media marketers get wrong about SEO are:
- Not writing content for the user first;
- Focusing solely on social media posts instead of optimizing your website;
- Neglecting Social Listening tools;
- And not monitoring your SEO performance.
So, how can YOU avoid making these four mistakes and better optimize your SEO?
1 – Write Content for the User First
When it comes to SEO, content should always come first! Social media posts are just one part of the equation. So, you need to write relevant and engaging content on your website in order to rank higher in search engine listings.
This content should be written with the user experience in mind, so make sure that all your content is optimized for readability and clarity. Additionally, link to relevant pages on your website in order to increase user engagement and pageviews.
2 – Optimize Your Website
In addition to writing content for the user first, you also need to optimize your website for SEO in order to rank higher on search engine listings. This includes optimizing titles and descriptions as well as implementing structured data and metadata.
3 – Use Social Listening Tools
Social Listening tools can help you track the performance of your content on social media channels. Examples of these tools include (but aren’t limited to) Social Mention and Hootsuite. By making sure that you are utilizing Social Listening tools, you can gain insights into user engagement and sentiment!
4 – Monitor Your SEO Performance
Finally, it’s important to monitor your SEO performance in order to make sure that you are optimizing your website and social media accounts for success.
Make sure that you set up regular reports and track key metrics such as organic search traffic, pageviews, and Social Listening insights. This will help you identify areas of improvement and make any necessary adjustments to maximize the performance of your website!
Real-Life Examples of Social Media Hurting a Business (and Why)
Can you think of any real-world companies whose business and/or reputation was hurt by social media in some way?
Here are a few examples:
- Starbucks – In 2018, the coffee chain sent out a promotional tweet that many deemed to be insensitive and tone-deaf. This resulted in an immediate backlash from its customers, which led to an apology from the company as well as a restructuring of their social media policies.
- Burger King – Last year (2021), a Burger King chain in the UK made a tweet that was deemed to be sexist. This caused an uproar amongst their followers, and Burger King had to apologize and remove the post.
- KFC – In 2019, a KFC branch in the UK made a joke about veganism that many deemed to be offensive. The backlash was swift, and KFC had to delete the tweet and apologize.
- United Airlines – In 2017, United Airlines was involved in a public relations disaster when a video of one of their passengers being dragged off a plane went viral. This incident caused significant damage to United’s business and reputation, and resulted in the company issuing an apology as well as revising their policies.
The takeaway from these four examples is clear: social media can be a powerful tool, but it needs to be used carefully! Social media mistakes can have major consequences for businesses. Thus, it’s important to take the time to review and revise your social media policies in order to avoid any potential pitfalls.
Company Reputation Ruined by Social Media
Then there are the cases where a business’s reputation was so badly destroyed by social media that it was never able to recover… Take, for example, Fyre Festival. The festival was heavily promoted on social media with influencers and celebrities, but when the event proved to be a disaster, it caused irreparable damage to its reputation!
How to Recover if Your Business is Under Fire on Social Media
If, for whatever reason, your business and/or reputation is under fire on social media, the key is to act fast and take responsibility.
Apologize for any missteps that were made and try to make it right with your customers. Make sure to be transparent about your mistakes and let them know that you are taking steps to address the issue. Finally, don’t forget to review and revise your social media policies in order to prevent similar issues from happening again in the future.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What can damage a company’s reputation?
A: A company’s reputation can be damaged by anything from poor customer service, to missteps on social media, to product recalls and more. Social media in particular can have a major impact on a business’s reputation, as mistakes made online can go viral quickly.
Q: How does social networking affect the reputation of some people?
A: Social networking can have a major effect on one’s reputation, both positively and negatively. Positively, it can be used to share positive accomplishments and spread good news about an individual or business. Negatively, it can be used to spread false information or controversy that could damage one’s personal or professional reputation.
Q: What is the BIGGEST threat that social media poses to businesses?
A: For obvious reasons, social media mistakes can be the biggest threat to businesses. Social media posts that are insensitive, offensive, or false can spread quickly and cause significant damage to a company’s reputation in a very short amount of time.
That is why it’s important for businesses to have strong social media policies in place and review them regularly. This can help to mitigate any potential risks and protect a business’s reputation.
How to Avoid Professional Mistakes on Social Media: Final Thoughts
Making mistakes on social media can have serious consequences for businesses. That is why it’s essential to take the time to review and revise your social media policies in order to avoid any potential pitfalls. Social media provides an incredible opportunity to build relationships with customers, but it needs to be used carefully.
By understanding the potential risks and taking steps to protect your business, you can ensure that your online presence will reflect positively on your brand and boost its reputation. Social media mistakes can be costly, but with the right preparation you can minimize their impact.
By taking action today, you can safeguard your business from potential social media disasters tomorrow!
Got any other tips or mistakes to avoid that can be added to our list? Drop them in the comments below – we love to hear from you.
Thanks for reading!