As of July 2015, there were 2.3 billion active social media users worldwide, up 176 million from the previous year. The average user has 5.54 accounts, and every second, 12 new people join the social media realm.

With statistics such as these, it’s easy to see the importance of establishing a presence on social media for your small to medium business (SMB), but beware: done correctly, you can forge important, long lasting relationships with your customer base, but in the absence of a smart strategy, you could be wasting your valuable resources.

7 Common Social Media Mistakes SMBs Make

  1. Stale content. Regular updates are needed to keep followers engaged. Social media is meant to be interactive, but if users see your account sitting idle after an unacceptable period of time, they may just decide to take you off their feed altogether.
  2. Getting too personal. Keep your business and private accounts separate, or you risk winding up in the “friend zone”. Save your children’s accomplishments or weekend plans for friends and family, and use your business accounts to provide helpful advice about your industry, answer questions or concerns, and build a following based on your company.
  3. Ignoring comments. 78 percent of people that post a complaint on Twitter, expect to hear back within an hour. Keep on top of comments, both good and bad, and address them in a timely manner.
  4. Spreading yourself thin. Choose quality over quantity, opting to achieve a successful presence on one platform at a time, versus joining multiple platforms all at once.
  5. Failing to keep track. Establish metrics to track your progress on social media, using a variety of methods, such as number of followers, shares or comments.
  6. Doing things halfway. Opening a social media account is easy, but don’t just stop there. Take the time to complete your profile thoughtfully and purposefully, letting followers know what your company is about and who is behind it. Include pictures, links, and a detailed biography.
  7. Over/Underselling. There is a fine line between over, and under-selling. While you don’t want your account to be “salesy”, keep the end result in mind to successfully convert leads to sales.

Take the time to formulate a detailed social media strategy to generate a positive return on your investment and forge lasting relationships with your customers.