How to Tell if Your Small Business is Wasting Time on Social Media

If you were to ask small business owners about their daily to-do list, they’d probably tell you that social media is right near the top.

According to an article on Forbes, however, for most small businesses, social media is a huge waste of time. Why?

“The purpose of marketing is to be seen by, and connect with, your target market with the hope to eventually turn them into customers,” says Forbes. “There are many ways to market your business and social media is only one of them. And it’s not even the most important one.”

As you know, time and money are limited resources for small business owners, so it’s important to apportion them accordingly.  Instead of feeling like you absolutely have to post on Facebook every day, you should review your options, determine where your efforts will have the greatest return, and focus on that. “For most small business it’s not social media,” says Forbes.

That’s not to say that social media is an ineffective method of advertising. Rather, it has more to do with that fact that most business owners aren’t doing it right. And done wrong, social media is not only a huge waste of time, but it can also damage your brand and, by extension, your business.

4 Ways You Might be Doing Social Media Wrong

You don’t have to know every buzzword or have the magic number of followers to be successful on social media. But you do need to be aware of what you shouldn’t do.

Here are 4 ways you might be doing social media wrong:

1) Posting Content That’s Not Relevant to Your Expertise

The purpose of having social media profiles for your business is to build up your position as an expert. Each time you communicate and connect with your followers and potential fans, you should be showcasing your value, not posting about the new puppy you just bought or the party you just attended for your grandma’s 80th birthday.

Posting unrelated content weakens your brand’s message, diluting your social media efforts. On the other hand, highly targeted content strengthens your engagement over time. For example, if you regularly post healthy recipes on your nutritional company’s social media platform, customers will be more likely to check repeatedly to see your latest post.

“Be a reliable source of relevant, valuable information to elevate yourself to expert status,” says Forbes. “This long term strategy requires dedication and diligence, but promises exponential results over time.”

2) Posting Inconsistently

If you’re posting to social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn whenever you can find the time—translation: irregularly—you’re basically advertising to the world that your business doesn’t have it all together.

You don’t want a potential customer to visit your Facebook page and see that your last post was more than a month ago. That will only make them wonder whether you’re still in business or not—something that can leave a bad impression about your brand.

That’s why it’s important to create a plan that will help you post consistently. If you decide to post twice a day on Facebook, for example, you know you need to create or curate content to accommodate that schedule. Likewise, your audience will also know that they can expect two fresh posts every 24 hours.

Today, the chances of your content getting pushed to someone’s newsfeed have been reduced because of changes to social media algorithms, points out Sendible. That means you’re responsible for making sure eyeballs see your posts, and the best way to attract people is to regularly provide something worthwhile for them to digest.

3) Talking About Yourself & Pitching Your Products

Here’s an important point to remember: social media is…well, social. If you’re only using it to plug your products and/or services, you’ll just end up ticking people off.

The best type of post for any brand is one that provides value for your target customers. In other words, you must create content that will grab the attention of both your customers and community so they want to explore and engage. With each post of helpful, relevant content, you’re building your brand’s authority and adding another solid layer to your brand’s perception.

You are, of course, allowed to sell on social media. But, according to Forbes, you should only do it 10-20% of the time. Sell any more than that and your posts will be viewed as spam, prompting people not to follow you.

4) Posting for the Sole Purpose of Getting Sales

Just as your business wants to make money, social media companies exist to bring in revenue. These platforms have updated their algorithms in recent years for the purpose of selectively showing content to users based upon their interactions. So essentially, you could have thousands of followers and no likes on a post because nobody is seeing it.

“Unless you’re willing to work with a professional to develop a strategy and put money into advertising to get your posts seen, there are other, better ways to spend your time and money,” says Forbes.

If you’re ready to do social media right, a strategist can help to clarify what it is you’re trying to accomplish. Then, when you’ve got a solid social media marketing strategy and you’re ready to pay for advertising, significant profits can be yours.


According to Forbes, the average small business owner doesn’t have enough money to waste it on untargeted marketing activities—especially ones that eat up a lot of time in the process.

Like most small business owners, you’re probably short on time and money, so allocating your resources wisely is extremely important. Instead of feeling guilty about not posting to Social Media every day, review your options, take a good look at what areas will give you the greatest return on your investment, and make those your focus.

If you decide that social media makes the most sense for your marketing goals, be sure to avoid the four common pitfalls above to ensure that your efforts aren’t wasting your time or conveying a poor perception of your brand and your business.

Sherene Funk is the author of the contemporary romance Autumn in Your Arms and two small business e-books. She is a voracious reader who owns more books than she can ever read in this lifetime. A graduate of Brigham Young University, she worked in advertising for many years before moving to her current writing position at Rain Retail Software. She researches non-stop to see what successful retailers do and loves to share what she learns with small business owners.