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7 Social media mistakes you don't know you're making

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 14/10/2015 Syed Balkhi

Even if you're getting most things right, there are some mistakes that you might not even realize that you're making. © TARIK KIZILKAYA via Getty Images Even if you're getting most things right, there are some mistakes that you might not even realize that you're making. Social media is an amazing avenue for promoting your business, for building your network, and for learning... but it's also easy to make mistakes that cost you time, money, and customers.

Hopefully you've got to grips with the basics: your accounts are set up properly, and you post regularly but not excessively.

Even if you're getting most things right, there are some mistakes that you might not even realize that you're making.

Mistake #1: Trying to Be Everywhere

You're better off focusing on a couple of large networks instead of spreading yourself too thin. © Helen King/Corbis You're better off focusing on a couple of large networks instead of spreading yourself too thin. Hot new social networks pop up all the time. If you don't join them, you're going to miss out on potential customers and fans -- right?

Not necessarily. In fact, you're better off focusing on a couple of large networks instead of spreading yourself too thin.

Be strategic, of course: if you're in the B2B space, LinkedIn will be a good place to focus; if you're marketing to gadget-obsessed 20-somethings, Instagram or Twitter might work better.

Remember, nothing beats having a central platform like your personal blog that you control.

Mistake #2: Always Broadcasting Rather Than Conversing

Respond to questions and track mentions of your company. © OJO Images/Rex Shutterstock Respond to questions and track mentions of your company. Social media is -- as the name suggests -- social. If all your updates plug your products or services, or even your blog, your audience will quickly switch off.

While it's obviously a good idea to make sure people do know you have something they can buy (see Mistake #3), make sure you're also using your social media accounts to respond to questions, track mentions of your company, and engage in conversation.

Mistake #3: Not Promoting Your Company Enough

Do link to your own blog posts, mention your own products or services, and make a bit of noise about any sales or promotions you have going on. © GM Visuals /Blend Images/Corbis Do link to your own blog posts, mention your own products or services, and make a bit of noise about any sales or promotions you have going on. Don't get so worried about over-promoting that you go too far the other way.

Your audience needs to know -- and to be reminded -- that you have something to sell.

Even if your offerings seem obvious to you, most people aren't paying much attention.

Do link to your own blog posts, mention your own products or services, and make a bit of noise about any sales or promotions you have going on. Just keep it in balance by joining in conversations and sharing useful links from other businesses too.

Mistake #4: Using a Facebook Profile Rather Than a Page

You'll probably want to keep your personal and business life at least a little bit separate. © Jonathan Hordle/Rex Shutterstock You'll probably want to keep your personal and business life at least a little bit separate. While this isn't such a common mistake these days, it's still one some people make -- particularly solo entrepreneurs. Even if your entire company is currently just you, don't try to add all your customers as Facebook friends.

You'll probably want to keep your personal and business life at least a little bit separate, plus Facebook pages have features that Facebook profiles don't -- like allowing anyone to connect to you without waiting for a friend request to be approved.

Mistake #5: Sharing or Retweeting Links Without Reading Them First

While the headline or the first paragraph of the article you're linking to could be spot-on, there might be content further on that you really didn't want to share. © GARO/PHANIE/Rex Shutterstock While the headline or the first paragraph of the article you're linking to could be spot-on, there might be content further on that you really didn't want to share. This mistake is so easy to make. You're in a rush; you want to get some content out there to your audience, and you throw up a link that looks good. Perhaps you skimmed it in your RSS reader, or someone you know shared it first.

There's a big danger here. While the headline or the first paragraph of the article you're linking to could be spot-on, there might be content further on that you really didn't want to share.

Maybe there's some breathtaking sexism or racism half-way through, or language that your squeaky-clean audience won't appreciate.

Mistake #6: Only Posting One Type of Update

Mix things up from time to time. © Sierakowski/Rex Shutterstock Mix things up from time to time. It's easy to get stuck in a rut with social media, especially if your tactics are working (at least initially). Maybe you started sharing links to great content online, and that got you more followers - so now you pretty much only share links.

Mix things up from time to time. In particular, if you don't currently use images much in social media, try posting them much more often: images do well on pretty much every network.

Here are 8 powerful types of social media updates that you should try.

Mistake #7: Letting Messages Languish Unread

Whether public or private, unanswered messages give the impression you don't care about your customers and prospects. © Mint Images/Rex Shutterstock Whether public or private, unanswered messages give the impression you don't care about your customers and prospects. When you're on multiple networks, and have lots of other communication channels to deal with -- like phone calls and emails -- it's easy to forget to check for @replies or messages.

Whether public or private, unanswered messages give the impression you don't care about your customers and prospects.

All major networks let you receive an email when you get a message, so if you frequently forget to check yours, switch this on. If you're trying to keep your inbox uncluttered, you could use one of the many social media tools to access all your accounts - and all your messages - in one place.

Have you been making any of the above mistakes, or have you successfully dodged them all?

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