Social media can be a tremendously valuable asset to connecting with your customers and building your brand. However, it’s important to know and understand how to execute a strategy. That means staying updated and informed, learning best practices and educating yourself on what not to do or publish on your channels.

As a business owner, there are a number of mistakes that you need to know about so that you can avoid making them on your own social media channels. Here are a few of them:

Having Zero Strategy

The first step in any social media plan is to have a strategy in place. What are your goals? What are you looking to gain from your social media presence? What value are you providing your customers with on social? These are all questions that need to be answered.

You also need to have a content calendar that details the variations of content you plan to post each day. For instance, if you’re a salon owner, perhaps you could use Tuesdays to post about various hair transformations that happened the week prior. Or if you’re a deli, you could post about an upcoming “deal of the week” every Monday. It’s all up to you. If you’re unsure of where to start, do some research and figure out what others in your industry are posting about.

Using Every Platform

It cannot be stressed enough how important it is to not stretch yourself too far. You need to determine which channels make the most sense for your business. Don’t try and use every platform because many members of your target audience probably aren’t using them. Figure out which channels they are using and then develop your strategy on the most relevant channels.

Responding Poorly to Negative Feedback

It’s normal to be upset by negative feedback. However, it’s also important to recognize that when operating a business, it’s inevitable. What you don’t want to do is respond poorly to such feedback. You also don’t want to panic, as negative comments provide an opportunity. Depending on how you respond, you can completely flip the switch on the situation.

You need to be sure to treat each individual situation differently and prepare to respond differently to each. Don’t react immediately, take time to calm down and take emotion out of the situation. Once you’ve relaxed, draft a message back to the poster. It doesn’t need to be a formal apology, but should acknowledge the issue the customer had and how you’ll correct the issue in the future.

Over-Promoting Your Business

Even though it’s your business’s social media channel, and its purpose is to serve your business, you still need to be careful about how much self-promotional content you’re posting. Your followers are looking for pages that offer insightful, engaging content, not just one drawn out sales pitch. You need to provide them with content that aligns with your brand but is also entertaining.

Utilize the 80/20 rule — 80% of your content should be informative, engaging and useful, and 20% can be used to sell and promote. Use your social channels to celebrate holidays, provide useful tips, funny memes and gifs and even unique videos. There are endless options for content selection, so you can start with basic research if you’re unsure of what to post.

Little to No Authenticity

You can’t please everyone, and you shouldn’t try to. What you should do is try your best to appeal to the majority of your audience by posting content and engaging in conversation that highlights your brand’s authenticity. Don’t lose your identity to gain a few followers or make a few sales. Be authentic, it will serve your business better in the long-term.