Social media can be a great way for a small business to promote and grow their brand, but there are also a lot of opportunities for mistakes.

Here are 5 mistakes to avoid with your social media efforts:

1. Unrealistic Expectations

Social media is not going to be your #1 sales effort. Social is a great way to do outreach, commit to great customer service and get your brand known. However, your audience does not go to social media to be sold, so most  likely, your social channels are not going to close a ton of sales.

If you can promote good, educational content through your social channels, you can nurture your audience through content and hopefully drive them back to your website for more information.

2. Promoting yourself

Again, social media has become a marketplace for marketers, but that isn’t what the general public heads there for. Be conversational, friendly and post good, educational material to keep your audience engaged. Posting special offers and discounts is fine, but only posting sales materials will guarantee that your contacts will hit the “unfollow” button sooner rather than later.

3. Too much talk

There’s a reason Twitter only allows you 140 characters. Just because Facebook and LinkedIn don’t limit you, does not mean you should write page-long posts here. Social should be about quick updates, and when you need to post longer content (like blogs), you should link back and keep the post short.

4. One-way Communication

The great thing about social media is that it gives anyone a voice. While social is a great place to post your content, it should not be used only for blasting out your material. It can be a great customer service tool. Make sure to check your mentions and respond in a timely manner.

A great way to keep up with your customers is to make a list on twitter. As you get new customers, add them. Now you have a real-time stream about what your customers are talking about. Reply or re-tweet them to stay in the conversation.

5. Treating all social channels the same

Your audiences across all social channels are different so your approach should not be the same.

On Facebook, most people are seeing your posts on their timeline, but may visit your profile to check out interesting photos or to get to your website, see your business hours, etc. You should respond to any comments or messages here quickly.

On Twitter, most likely, visitors aren’t going to your profile, but are seeing your content when it hits their timeline– so you may want to post content you want read more than 1 time a day (4-6 times is optimal). You should respond to any mentions here quickly.

Pinterest and Instagram are for more visual content. There is less conversation across these channels so your visual content should be interesting enough to spark interest in your business.

With social media outlets who allow hashtags (Twitter, Instagram and Facebook) don’t commit hashtag overload. Try to keep it to 1 or 2 a post.

On LinkedIn, stay professional. Post to groups that are relevant to your business and monitor the conversation when you can. Reply to any comments on your posts to keep the conversation going.