Small businesses, and even large businesses, have one social media habit that isn't just frustrating for their followers, it can be hazardous for their business.
They use social media without a comprehensive plan.
These are the companies that start PR nightmares after a very misguided posting. These are also the companies that don't interact with their followers; the drive-by posters that stick up their latest blog post and then sign out immediately afterwards.
If you're a small business owner, or just someone working on building up their personal brand, you need to have a social media strategy in place. Have a plan before you post. Fortunately, creating this plan is fairly simple.
Find your focus. What is your brand? Look at what you're posting right now, not only on social media sites, but also on your blog. What are you talking about? Select three to four related topics, and focus 95% of your posts on those subjects. Not only do you now have a focus for your posts, you also know that the followers you want to cultivate are the ones interested in those topics.
Research. There are dozens of social media platforms out there; way more than just Facebook and Twitter. Pay attention to what people are already saying about your topics, and try to find where you could fit in to the conversation. What can you offer that no one else is offering?
Create a schedule. How many times a day will you post? What topics will you be posting about? How long will you be active on social media each day? Figure out how much time you'll spend exclusively on social media sites each day, and then break it up. If you're spending half an hour every day, do six five-minute sessions spread throughout your work time, instead of the doing it all at once. If you use your five minute sessions wisely, you'll do a lot more for your brand than trying to do it all in one longer session.
Define your goals. More followers is too general of a goal. Get away from the idea that the number of followers you have counts for anything. A million passive followers is less meaningful than two hundred followers who are involved with your brand. Maybe your goals are for more followers who are passionate about your topics, more traffic to your website, and more influence. You want to be recognized as an expert, or you want more people to recognize and have a positive association with your brand.
Get involved. Start implementing the changes and goals you've set. Analyze and make changes as you go. Your social media strategy should be changed and altered as you gain more experience and knowledge about social media and the best strategic techniques for your business.