I know that it's difficult to grasp new things, but really, social media is now not an add on it's essential for your business. The worst thing you can do is venture into unknown territory and annoy people by doing the wrong thing. So to help you I've put together a list (with the help of my team), of the top mistakes Businesses make.

1.No plan - You really do need a plan if you are going to embrace social media. What are your objectives? What do you want to achieve? Yes yes Sales but do you also want brand awareness? Are you going to be there and use it as a customer service tool? You could be the first point of contact for someone looking for your products or services.

2. Content - You must be giving value, not just throwing out ads. What value are you giving to your audience? Are you sharing your knowledge? Are you assisting others? Or are your posts all sell sell sell?Are you mentioning others in the community and supporting other businesses in the area?

3.You don't want your photo taken - People buy from people, we want to see behind the scenes. What is your shop like? We'd love to see your team helping customers, it makes us more comfortable when we walk in to do business with you. What are you doing right now? Are you on the way to the gym, are you at an event? Are you preparing your content? Take a photo!

4. You are not a very nice person - Trust me, I know from experience that if people are idiots in real life, they will also be idiots online too. Get someone else to do your social media if you aren't great with people.

5. You don't understand social media and how it works -  Learn! There are lots of courses available out there. You can do online courses if you prefer and even You Tube has so many videos on specific topics.Or do a skype consultation with me!

6. You think 10 trillion followers is the most important thing - This is very important. It's not about the amount of followers it's about having the right people following you. Are they people you want in your network? Are they spreading the word about you? If they are, it's because they feel you give value, and they know, like and trust you.

7. You don't listen to your social media manager - Chances are you have hired someone to do your social media either in house or you have out sourced. Remember the reason you hired them? Because they actually know what they are doing. Trust them. If they aren't delivering then try someone else.

8. You don't measure your success - Track your success. Google, Facebook, instagram, Linkedin, Twitter all have great analytics that you can use for free. Use them!

9. You don't know your audience - Who are your customers? Who are the people who you engage with everyday? What do they like to talk about, where do they hang out, what TV shows do they like, Simple things like looking at their own tweets will tell you a lot. Another way is to do a simple survey and ASK your customers what they want. What social media platform do they use? Are you on the right platform? For Example, if your desired customers are aged 16 to 35 they are most likely on instagram and snapchat (Although there are a high number of older people like me on them now) If your desired customers are aged 35 to 55 plus you should be looking at Twitter.

10. You send people to your website and it's rubbish - Ah yes, how many times have you clicked on a link in a tweet and gone to read or buy something and it takes you to a website that looks awful and isn't really user friendly? Get a professional website done. We use IPA Group

11. You don't use images in your posts - Did you not notice that when YOU are scrolling through your social media that usually it's an image of some sort that stops you. Tweets with an image are much more likely to be retweeted than a tweet with no image. Start learning how to use Canva or Design Wizard to make images.

12. You don't use video - Ok if you aren't using video yet, you will get left behind. You can do great 'how to' videos on You Tube. Create a You Tube channel and do some really professional ones OR use your phone! Twitter video, Twitter live, Facebook live and Linkein video, instagram stories all work really well. You don't have to be a professional. Just push the button and watch the magic happen.

13. You don't answer messages - Yay you have a query.....it's in your messages. But wait, you don't answer until 3 days later. Too late! On Twitter we expect a response within 6 hours (I expect one within half an hour) and Facebook messages being unanswered is very frustrating. Some people message Facebook instead of ringing you. So do check your messages and answer them. Even if you are unavailable right now explain that. You can set up automatic ones on Facebook but really its nice to get a personal one back.

14. You don't respond to questions - Someone has asked 'how much is it' when you post up that lovely handbag or dress. Answer them straight away. They are obviously interested and in 'buying mode' so be swift and reply.

15. Use the wrong hashtags - You might love all things to do with design but what do your followers want? They want to buy from you. Are the hashtags you are using actually going to be ones that your customers will be using or watching? For example if you have a product that a bride would like use #Brides #Weddings think about your customer not you.

16. Following the wrong people - It's great to follow big companies for information but if you want to grow your followers you start by following who you think might like to connect with you. I guarantee you if you follow a big government organization or big company the chances they will follow you back are quite slim. They should ....but most don't. You also have a very very slim chance of them EVER retweeting your tweet. (If it was something relevant, you might get a like) but it would be more productive if you followed people who actually DO love you and what you do and people who 'get you'. Surround yourself with like minded people also like other business owners. They get you! You can join my women's inspire network if you want to connect with other Female Entrepreneurs for example. Check out hashtag twitter chats also like #womensinspire #Belfasthour #Louthchat #irishhealthhour #Twittersmarter #Instachat

17. You use Auto DMs - Big mistake that a lot of people make so don't worry. Us Twitter users don't like to get automated direct messages. We would like to speak to a human.

18. Facebook is linked to Twitter - Disconnect your Facebook going to Twitter. Two different audiences, plus on Twitter it comes up to us users as a link that doesn't make sense so you are actually wasting your time not saving time.

19. You are not consistent Don't just create an account and then leave it there. Post regularly so that your audience will get used to seeing you and you stay in peoples' minds. Make it so they look forward to seeing you. You won't get any results from one post per week. Keep it regular. Keep the subject matter consistent too. I love tea, chocolate, travel, social media, my girls, my dogs, my cat (kinda) my fiance, nature, Female Entrepreneurs, (not necessarily in that order) but my audience knows I tweet about this kind of thing. So if I tweet about soccer they know someone is not quite right. I also keep things positive and don't get involved in controversy

20. You are getting the wrong advice - There are lots of experts out there who can help you. If you are unsure ask someone for testimonials or ask me, I know experts in all areas of social media. I can recommend who will fit your business and what you need most. (If it's Twitter help you need then I'm your girl)!

Have I missed anything? Please do comment.

Thanks to Esther and Jacinta for help with this article. (We had fun doing it)

Esther - IPAGroup

Jacinta - thesocialnetwork.ie

If you want to learn more about how to use Twitter I have a workshop coming up in September

Book here