Social media marketing can make or break your business. If you’re looking for new and fresh ways to market your business, you can do no better than social media. While some business owners hit the nail on the head, others make so many mistakes with social media marketing that they drive potential customers away. Here are ten mistakes to avoid when utilizing social media as a marketing tool:

1. Mixing Business with Pleasure
Never combine your personal social media accounts with your business accounts. Your personal page should be kept personal. If you want to utilize social media as a way to attract new customers, create a separate account for your business. While there is nothing wrong with sharing a bit of personal information on your business site, you don’t want your customers having to wade through pictures of your pet rat to get to the meat of your content.

2. Lack of Content
We’ve all run across business pages on Facebook that contain nothing more than a title and hours of operation. These pages amount to nothing more than virtual business pages. Your page shouldn’t be made live until you’ve added user-friendly content.

3. Pushy Sales
The trick to creating a great social media page is in providing users with interactive content. Don’t use your page to overly promote your product or push for sales. Your social media page should be used to provide relatable content, answer questions and establish relationships. Your web site should be where your sales pitches should be concentrated.

4. Failure to Listen
If you sit back and watch your social media page, you’ll gain invaluable insight into your customers’ preferences. Don’t get so caught up in posting content that you fail to read what your potential and current customers have to say. You may be privy to complaints about your competition, testimonials about your employees, or even products that customers wish you would carry.

5. Repeating Yourself
If you post the same content over and over, people will quickly un-follow your page. If you find it difficult to keep your content fresh, hire an assistant or freelancer to do it for you. You should aim to update your page once in the morning and once in the late afternoon. Posting any link or piece of information more than twice will be overkill.

6. Putting the Wrong Person in Charge
While hiring someone to help you manage your social media accounts is a good idea, hiring the wrong person can be detrimental. Look for someone who is more tech savvy than you, and be sure to ask for sample pages from the people you are interested in hiring. You also need to make sure that the person you put in charge of your social media pages has at least a bit of knowledge about your industry. You can give the person that you choose a crash course in the basics of your field if necessary.

7. Failing to Brand
If you’ve taken the time to design a logo, select colors or come up with a mission statement, make sure that those things are displayed on your social media page. Your business cards, letterhead, website and social media pages should look as similar to one another as possible. This will ensure that the brand you purchased or designed is working for you.

8. Negative Content
You may feel like you’re anonymous online but you’re not. Resist the temptation to bash your competition by posting negative comments. People typically visit social media pages to be entertained. Posting negative comments about the competition will only serve to turn potential customers away. Remember what your mother told you about not having anything nice to say.

9. Neglecting to Interact
Don’t neglect to interact with your followers. Once your social media pages are up and running, it’s up to you to keep them going. Whether you or a chosen employee interacts with your customers is up to you, as long as someone does. Set aside at least 20 minutes twice a day to answer questions, post content and provide feedback.

10. Losing Your Sense of Humor
Let’s face it: If you sell pipe, your content can easily be less than entertaining. Instead of touting the virtues of copper over lead, post links to humorous stories, funny pictures and trade-specific anecdotes. There’s nothing wrong with interspersing the humor with discount announcements and the like, but the majority of your content should be posted with the goal of entertaining your customer base.

Social media marketing is an easy, free way to spread the word about your business. If you hope to attract new customers, you simply must have a presence in social media. By following the tips above, you can ensure that your social media page is helping to grow your business, not helping to sink it.