Most Common Social Media Mistakes Professional Service Businesses Make & How You Can Avoid Them

social media icons and cell phones

Over the past 12 years serving professional service clients, I’ve seen social media undergo rapid and significant changes. Businesses have enthusiastically adopted social media because it’s perceived as “free” and “easy”. But let me interrupt you for a moment and clarify something.

Just because social media is free and easy to use doesn’t guarantee it will benefit your business or attract attention.

In fact, a lot of you are spending too much time on social media that isn’t effective. And what’s worse, many of you might be making social media marketing mistakes that could hurt your brand, perceived subject matter expertise, or even your sales.

Knowing these common mistakes can help you recognize them and prevent them from happening in your own social media marketing, so let’s tackle them head-on. Here’s a list of 19 things you should definitely avoid doing from now on.

The Most Common Social Media Mistakes

The #1 social media marketing mistake we still see businesses making:

1. Single Account Admins

searching admin on a computer

Having only one administrator for your Meta Business or Facebook page can create a vulnerability that’s not good for your business. Imagine if that account gets hacked or the person leaves the company – it’s not just stressful; it can completely halt your marketing efforts.

As someone who has made numerous calls to laid-off employees who had sole access to a client’s social media account, I can tell you how important it is to always have a second pair of eyes on your pages. (So awkward.)

Protect yourself and your brand by ensuring there’s always another admin involved.

2. Posting Inconsistently

One major mistake that many professional service businesses make is not sticking to a consistent posting schedule. Regularly posting not only helps keep your audience engaged but also has a positive impact on your social media algorithm ranking.

I’ve seen the problem of inconsistent social media posting, particularly among small business professional services where a partner is trying to self-manage the marketing and juggling multiple other responsibilities. They tend to post sporadically, only when business is slow or when they have some free time. This inconsistent cycle of posting is not sustainable in the long run.

For those worried about what a posting schedule may mean, consistency doesn’t mean you must post frequently. Just aim to post regularly. We suggest 1-2 times per week for most of our clients.

3. Not Understanding Compliance

Navigating the digital landscape goes beyond crafting compelling content; it requires a keen understanding of compliance in professional service fields like law, healthcare, and financial planning/ banking.

In an era where social media connects businesses with their audiences like never before, the importance of compliance cannot be overstated. Ensuring your social media strategy adheres to industry regulations and guidelines is not just about avoiding fines or penalties; it’s about safeguarding your reputation and building trust.

A misstep can have far-reaching consequences. That’s why, for lawyers, healthcare providers, and financial planners, mastering the compliance aspect of social media management is a non-negotiable cornerstone of success.

4. Avoiding Real-Time Video Content

woman working with video camera

Video content and features like Stories, Shorts, and Reels on platforms like Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and LinkedIn enable you to connect with a broader audience, showcase your expertise, and humanize your brand, all while staying current with digital marketing trends and leveraging valuable data insights for continuous improvement.

Video content is incredibly captivating, yet many professionals and businesses fail to utilize it because of the perceived time and expense. But video doesn’t have to take much time, and you can use your phone to shoot a video good enough for social media.

Accessible entrances into video include team introductions, answering FAQs, and short explainers, particularly if you aim to establish yourself as a subject matter expert.

5. Not Investing the Necessary Resources

If you want your business to thrive on social media, you must invest time and resources.

This may include investing in social media management tools (like Sprout Social or Agorapulse), hiring a dedicated social media manager or team, and ongoing training to stay on top of the ever-changing social media trends and algorithms.

Additionally, when your team actively participates in your marketing, it personalizes your brand, humanizes your business, and makes it more relatable. Customers prefer to interact with people, not faceless companies.

You must put in the effort to see significant results from social media. So, determine where your social media efforts should be focused, assign someone to manage your accounts effectively, and contribute your time. It’s crucial for success!

6. Providing Poor Customer Service

Ignoring or delaying responses to your social media account’s direct messages, mentions, or comments can erode customer trust. It gives the impression of poor customer service, and frustrated customers are more likely to share their negative experiences.

So, it’s crucial to engage with users promptly and professionally, letting them know that you appreciate their feedback and questions.

Hint: try Autoresponders for when you are away, or the office is closed.

7. Over-Promotion

On the flip side, not dedicating enough resources or having poor online customer service is being too promotional online.

When promoting products or services to potential customers on social media, you want to avoid constantly bombarding your followers with sales messages. The key is to balance offering valuable content alongside your promotional posts.

So, what is “valuable content” exactly?

Valuable content is high-quality, relevant, and meaningful information that is useful, informative, or entertaining to your target audience. Instead of solely focusing on selling, share industry insights, thought leadership articles, and valuable tips that are relevant to your field. By doing so, you’ll provide value and engage your audience in a more meaningful way.

8. Inconsistent Branding

We used to work with a client whose employees always put their spin on flyers, ads, and newsletters. I understand it’s tempting to stand out and be different. But what may seem unique can hinder your brand’s recognition and trust.

Think about iconic logos like Target and Nike. Their logos and associated products are instantly recognizable because they consistently use the same brand and messaging across all platforms.

Having a consistent brand image and voice across your social media channels is crucial to build recognition and trust. This consistency includes your logos, color schemes, and messaging. And remember to coordinate these elements with your website and traditional marketing efforts.

By maintaining consistency, you’ll elevate your brand’s reputation and make a lasting impression on your audience.

9. Spreading Yourself Thin Across Platforms

While it’s essential to reach a broad audience, focusing on platforms where your target audience is most active is equally important. Businesses that spread themselves too thin across multiple platforms may need help to maintain engagement and growing their follower base.

Instead, research your audience and understand who they are and where they spend their time online. This information will lead to their top social media platforms. From there, you can make the best decisions on where to focus your time and effort.

10. Avoiding Paid Social Media Advertising (Maybe)

It’s getting more challenging to reach your target audience organically on social media. If you’re not investing in paid advertising, you might find it difficult to connect with them. Try using sponsored posts or paid ads to expand your reach.

But here’s the thing, there may be better ways to spend your money than social media ads. With a solid marketing strategy, you will know it’s worth the investment.

Which leads to…

11. No Clear Social Media Marketing Strategy

strategy meeting in an officeIf your business doesn’t have clear social media goals, hasn’t identified your target audience, or planned content in advance, it can be difficult to measure social media success and make informed decisions for the future.

A social media marketing strategy is more than guessing which channels to use based on your competition. It’s your overall social media game plan for reaching potential customers and turning them into loyal fans and, ultimately, customers. And if you don’t have one, you need to get one.

12. Inauthentic Content

When it comes to connecting with consumers, being authentic is critical.

Authenticity is the secret ingredient to creating social media content that truly resonates with your audience. The key to success is to showcase the distinct personality and values of your professional service business and team while emphasizing transparency, personalization, quality, and engagement.

When professional service businesses invest in authentic social media marketing strategies, they build trust and forge lasting relationships with their audience.

13. Neglecting Social Media Trends

Social media is constantly changing. You might fall behind your competition if you don’t keep up with the latest trends and algorithm changes.

But as a professional service business, it’s also vital for you to know when not to follow every trend mindlessly. Take the time to understand your customers and what appeals to them when deciding which trends to follow and which ones to ignore.

14. Not Sharing High-Quality Content

Regarding social media content, remember that quality is more important than quantity.

Posting high-quality images, videos, and copy enhances your brand image and gains loyal followers. But beware, posting low-quality content (especially photos and videos) damages your brand’s reputation and puts you at risk of being neglected by algorithms.

15. Neglecting Analytics

computer displaying analyticsStaying ahead of the game is no easy feat. But what if I told you there’s a secret to conquering it all? It’s simple (but not easy): track and analyze your performance metrics.

By harnessing the power of analytics, you gain an unrivaled understanding of what works and what doesn’t in your business. Imagine the possibilities when armed with crucial insights shaping your future strategies.

Don’t let your competitors leave you behind. Regularly review your metrics and adjust your strategy to ensure continued success.

16. Not Utilizing LinkedIn Effectively

Make sure to use LinkedIn’s potential wisely. As a professional service business, it’s crucial to harness the power of this platform.

But too often, we see common mistakes holding businesses back. Incomplete profiles, neglecting regular posts, and overlooking valuable features like LinkedIn groups and publishing can cost you valuable connections.

Here’s the big secret: people crave human interaction, not just brand connections. And LinkedIn is the perfect place to engage one-on-one with others in your industry.

If you want to use social media to attract top talent and gain clients, it’s time to level up your LinkedIn game.

17. Posting Insensitive Content

In today’s world, it is essential to prioritize diversity and cultural sensitivity in your posts.

To ensure your content resonates positively and you don’t create a PR storm, steer clear of anything that could offend or spark controversy (unless you are in the “all PR is good PR camp” – we aren’t). Instead, aim to create inclusive, respectful, and culturally sensitive content.

18. Not Optimizing Bio

A business’s social media bio may be the first thing potential followers see, so making a good impression is essential. And companies that don’t optimize their bios with clear descriptions of their offerings, relevant keywords, and links to their website miss out on potential engagement.

Remember, your keywords play a significant role in how you show up in search results.

19. Buying Likes and Followers

While it may seem tempting to quickly boost your social media presence with purchased followers, it’s essential to remember that these likes won’t be real people and won’t bring in valuable customers. Even though the number of “likes” may look impressive, your engagement will suffer because the social media algorithms can easily spot these purchased followers as low-quality.

Instead, focusing on organically building your social media presence is crucial. Delivering engaging content that resonates with your target audience is vital. By developing a thoughtful strategy, you can establish your brand as a leading voice in your industry and drive meaningful results for your business.

In closing…

I often remind my kids that smart people learn from their mistakes, but wise people learn from the mistakes of others.

So, if you’ve made any of these mistakes, learn from them. And, if any are listed that you haven’t made, be wise and learn from them!

Mistakes are a natural part of growth, but now you can turn them into opportunities. Armed with invaluable insights, you can unlock a thriving social media presence that will set you apart in your field.