These days, it seems like every marketing professional is singing the praises of social media marketing through platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube. And with good reason! Social media platforms are a very cost-effective way to connect with a large audience as you continue to build your brand and communicate your message.

However, it is important to understand that there are a number of “potholes” that can sidetrack your social media marketing efforts. Below are six common mistakes that will cripple your social media marketing campaigns. Are you making any of them?

  1. An over-emphasis on sales. This is where many business owners go wrong… you can’t view social media as simply another channel to make your sales pitch. If the majority of your posts and your tweets are variants of your sales pitch, your audience is quickly going to tune you out.

  2. Lack of value. Instead of constantly promoting yourself, concentrate on providing value to your audience. Share useful tips and information. If you write blog entries that will benefit your audience, share them. Give your followers and fans a reason to pay attention.

  3. Inconsistency. In order for social media marketing to be effective, you must engage consistently. Many business owners tend to forget about social media for months at a time, but doing so completely disengages their audience. I recommend posting multiple times per week, if possible, and avoid prolonged absence!

  4. Failure to communicate your brand. From the visual appearance of your various profiles to the content you post, everything you do should reflect your brand. Be sure to incorporate your logo and company colors whenever possible.

  5. Inconsistent message. Your social media presence should reflect a consistent message about your business—who are you, what do you offer, what makes you different from everyone else? Stay focused on the core elements of your brand and your marketing message.

  6. Focusing on the wrong market. Facebook is a great platform for businesses who sell directly to consumers, particularly younger consumers. LinkedIn, on the other hand, is a great channel to connect with other businesses. Understand your target customers and don’t expend resources marketing through the wrong channels.

Social media is a powerful tool with which businesses can build brand awareness and ultimately generate more sales. Avoid these common mistakes!