Top 5 Social Media Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make

Top 5 Social Media Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make


Social media isn't just about sending a few Tweets and posting a few things on Facebook. If done right, you can drastically increase traffic to your site, bump up customer spending, and create brand ambassadors that spread positive word of mouth all around the web. Having a bad social media strategy? Could be detrimental.

Managing your social media network effectively takes tender love and care. If you want to be serious about it (and you should),  don't get the intern to do it on his coffee breaks. Here are the five most common mistakes to avoid when building and managing your social media empire:

1. Acting Without a Plan

Planning is important. Imagine if football teams ran plays without planning ahead - sure it'd work sometimes, but long run? Not a good idea. Same goes for social media. Define what your goals are and map out how you're going to get there. Here are 7 quick steps to create a social media strategy

2. Thinking Size Matters

The amount of Twitter followers you have doesn't matter. Anyone can go on eBay and buy 5,000 followers for $__.__ but it won't do a thing for your business aside from feeding your ego with glamor metrics. Thousands of followers may look good on your trophy case, but if they're not quality leads it's a waste of time and money. Only go after followers that count. Once you have a high quality following then engage your audience with topical and interesting content, thoughtful questions, and relevant industry news. 1,000 quality followers is more powerful than 50,000 spambots. 

3. Spreading Yourself Thin

Pick the three or four platforms most utilized by your customers and focus on those. It's better to be awesome at only a few social media sites then be simply "ok" at all of them. Most online stores will get the greatest benefit from focusing their efforts to Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus. If you're a B2B company you'll also want to give LinkedIn some attention. 

4. Ignoring the Competition

Some say that knowing what you're up against is half the battle. I wouldn't go that far, but it's undoubtedly important to have a good understanding of what the other players in your game are doing. Keep an eye on what your competition is up to by regularly visiting their website, reading their press releases and frequenting their social media sites. You'd be surprised how much you can learn from the good things they do, and (perhaps more importantly) you can learn a lot from their mistakes.

5. Not Looking in the Mirror

Take a good look at yourself. Monitoring your progress will help you to focus on things that actually move the needle. If something doesn't work, change it. HootSuite  is the most popular social media dashboard that allows you to manage and measure your social networks. It's good for any sized company (even if it's just one person), and offers a basic plan that's free. If you're looking for more basic social stats, you can also check out: 

  • Topsy: Easy to use social stats. 
  • Sharedcount Super basic social share counter. 



  • Rachel Miller
    Rachel Miller
    January 14 2012, 01:59PM

    Agreed. Way too many people care about how many twitter followers they have. It truly does not matter. Thanks for the tips.

  • Ricky
    January 14 2012, 08:32PM

    The video on this page explains a lot

    I’m not suggesting people use this approach, just good to be aware of it.

  • @Shopify Mark Hayes
    Mark Hayes
    January 14 2012, 11:00PM

    Rachel: I agree – it’s purely a vanity metric! Although too often I find myself with a little smile after a few more people follow me.

    Ricky: Definitely interesting.. but I can’t see it producing quality leads. Have you tried it? My favorite quote from the site you linked to is “Twitter is the bomb digitty as a marketing device.”

  • Andy from HootSuite
    Andy from HootSuite
    January 16 2012, 02:54PM

    Hi Mark,
    Thanks for sharing this article! Indeed, it’s very important to measure your results as well as experiment to find the right mix when communicating to your audience.

  • Jim
    January 16 2012, 06:59PM

    I agree, build a solid base of followers and don’t give mkt companies your money, they will not provide qualified prospects.

  • Ricky
    January 18 2012, 10:17AM

    Hi Mark. No I haven’t tried it. I don’t think I would.

  • Bernadette
    January 18 2012, 09:06PM

    Hi Mark. what ways can you market your brand and benefit at the same time?

  • Rod Borghese
    Rod Borghese
    February 17 2012, 09:22PM

    Good article. Also very interesting to follow your stats on the Left hand side there. Twitter(115) , Linkedin (29), Facebook(13) and Google+ —> zero +1 is that correct ? Yikes.

  • @Shopify Mark Hayes
    Mark Hayes
    February 22 2012, 06:10PM

    Bernadette: Good question – I’ll be sure to blog about that soon.

    Rod: Interesting isn’t it. I double checked to see if there was an error and there wasn’t – nobody has clicked the Google+ button. I’m very curious to see what’s going to come of G+ and if things don’t improve quick if popular websites will remove the sharing button. Right now, I suspect a reddit share button would get more use on the Shopify blog.

  • Maureen McCabe
    Maureen McCabe
    February 29 2012, 10:15PM
    requirement for any business is a strategy and plan. As a marketing specalist (consultant) I continue to find that most small businesses have no plan – for business development, sales, marketing, let alone social media. There is a belief they need to do it – because everyone else is.

    Maureen — McCabe Marketing,
    Passionate Marketer in Toronto

  • Matthew James
    Matthew James
    July 18 2012, 10:06AM

    Sometimes i wonder if having twitter followers can help influence other people to follow you, especially a consumer of business looking for someone who is meant to be an industry leader.

  • Underground Media
    Underground Media
    September 11 2012, 11:34AM

    For some really good advice read: Rework by 37 Signals….
    One or 2 contradictions with what Mark says but each view has its merits

  • colibri
    January 09 2019, 12:08PM

    Great article. And if you want to know something useful about best ways to use social media for business, visit:

  • joker
    January 09 2019, 12:10PM

    As social media is ruling our life, social media exposure is now important for all business to gain online visibility. That’s why, the importance of benefits of social media has become very vital nowadays.

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