Having a presence on social media is a great way for businesses to engage and inform prospective buyers. To keep your online presence in tip top shape, here are some common pitfalls to watch out for in your social media engagement, along with effective ways to adjust your approach for success.

1. Spreading Yourself Too Thin – Building a presence on social media takes time, focus and effort. It’s important to engage with people consistently and effectively by sharing information  that helps your brand  stand out from the crowd. It’s hard enough doing this on a single social platform, let alone five or ten! Understand your market and focus your energy on the channels that are most relevant to your readers.

2. Selling Too Much – Social media users are sophisticated and can see through the hard sell. The key to effective engagement lies in the sharing of information. Address your potential buyer’s pain points in an informative way to gain trust, thought leadership and brand awareness. Build relationships. Leave the hard sell to the infomercials!

3. Posting Sporadically – Social media relies on consistency of message and engagement. If you are only posting on social media occasionally you will become part of the noise. Develop a regular publishing schedule to show dependability and consistency in your messaging.

4. Deleting or Ignoring Negative Comments – On social media this is a big mistake! Instead, always respond with empathy, offer solutions, and open a dialog. Social media is about building relationships and ignoring negative engagement is seen as a negative. Always respond to all comments and be open to criticism.

5. Failing To Measure – The best way to understand what is working and, more importantly, what isn’t, is through metrics. Many businesses have no idea how they are doing, who is reading their information, and how they can improve their performance. This is where metrics come in. Some suggestions: tracking brand mentions and social shares, engagement through comments, direct messages and other contact, page views and clickthroughs.

Social media can help you to establish thought leadership, build relationships and increase sales. Make sure you are utilizing best practices, be honest and offer solutions. Your strongest business growth and new leads can come through effective social media engagement online.