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A large portion of the population uses social media as part of their daily routine.  The Facebook Feed is a source of news and connection.  “If it didn’t hit my newsfeed, it probably wasn’t that interesting,” you might say.  Showing up at a family function and asking a question that was answered that morning with an Instagram Post might get eye rolls.  And what about all the advertising?

Social Media is a staple to small business.  New careers are popping in social media and freelance experts are everywhere.  Working with new clients on branding, we often find that their biggest point of frustration is social media.  It’s not uncommon to find these businesses abusing the newsfeeds of their followers without even realizing it.

Let’s look at Facebook.  Everyone is trying to beat the latest algorithm.  Algorithm changes can be particularly excruciating for small business.  Let’s look at a few mistakes.

  1. Mistake #1. Excessive Posting and Boosting.  The rule of thumb for Facebook is 3 Posts per week for your small business.  How much to boost and when is dependent on previous results.  If you’ve never gotten a client from Facebook, this medium may only be for building expertise and a presence.  Not an actual advertising space for you.  If you’re not getting results, save your money.  If you’re posting multiple times a day, you have been unfollowed.  In all your effort to reach people, you have turned them off and they are no longer allowing you in their newsfeed.  You have created the opposite of what you had desired.  It’s the same as email.  When you agree, against your better judgement, to give an email address at the store and then you instantly receive 3 annoying emails.  The newsfeed is not different than the inbox.  If you care about future customers, respect their newsfeed.
  2. Mistake #2. Tagging everyone you know on a post.  This tip was created to beat the algorithms.  If you want to make sure people see your post, tag them.  This is okay occasionally or with permission.  If you’re hosting an event, and you start advertising 2 months prior … 2 to 3 tags over those 8 weeks of people you know well and that are supportive of your business is okay.  More than that is abusive.  If you’ve asked for permission, that gives you a bit more leeway.  Even with permission, stay considerate.  And remember, we all know those people who can’t say no.  Chances are high that they might say yes but not allow your post onto their newsfeed.  Then, you’ve not actually gained additional exposure and could risk annoying a friend and otherwise champion of your business.
  3. Mistake #3. Not providing consistency.  Let’s say you do a “Weekly Tips” video that enjoys a large, positive response.  Are you showing that video on the same day, around the same time most weeks?  Keeping your content consistent is the best way to win against the algorithm.  If a former client stops getting your weekly post in her newsfeed.  She may realize and go to your business page.  She will continue to have confidence in your expertise when the videos are there where she expects them to be and keep you on her mind for referrals.
  4. Mistake #4. Blurring Business and Personal to a point of confusion.  It’s okay to be relatable and show your entrepreneur personality.  I can tell you however, if you inundate my newsfeed with duplicated content from both your personal and business page, I might unfollow you completely.  Sharing something like the “Weekly Tips” video we referenced above once a week to your personal page, from your business page is totally fine but sharing every, single, thing in both places could be overkill.  Also, be careful to not fill your business page with so much personal stuff, that it’s no longer clear what you do.  The plumber, for example, who only shares inspirational quotes forgetting to make those posts relevant to the plumbing services he offers.

The best way to know that you’re not abusing newsfeeds is to think about your own newsfeed.  What do you want to see?  How many times a week do you want to hear from your plumber on Instagram?  Are you brightening up newsfeeds and being clear with your intentions?  Copy the trends of the businesses you enjoy having in your newsfeed.  Stay respectful and watch your social media following grow.