With 77 percent of small businesses alone now active on social media in the United States, it’s become clear that social media is now deemed a required marketing channel for companies across the board. Yet, despite a large number of businesses now being active on social media, there still a high volume of rookie mistakes being made online – starting with a company’s social media profiles.

Here are seven of the most common mistakes in branded social media profiles, and what to do instead.

1. Bad design.

When it comes to businesses, with so many options available in the marketplace nowadays, consumers have the opportunity to be picky. One way customers can weed out the good from the bad is by scanning profiles – whether intentionally or subconsciously – to see whether or not you have the high-quality design.

In 2019, having poor, pixelated design is inexcusable. It’s also a one-way ticket to being thrown out in the consumer’s mind as a viable, trustworthy brand. If you don’t have the attention to detail and resources to create visually appealing cover photos, profile images, social posts and more, then why should consumers believe you won’t cut corners in other areas of your business?

2. Lack of consistent design.

Today, it isn’t enough to only good design though, it’s also important to have consistent, branded design across all your social media profiles. If your company’s Twitter profile has a different color palette or font than your Facebook profile, you’ll come across as amateurish and unprofessional.

To combat this, make sure you decide and agree on a color palette, logo, font, and the tone of your copy and visuals to acting as a rule book for your social media profiles.

3. Not enough ways to contact you.

To stay on top of your industry, you’ll need to meet customers where they’re at. One way to do this is by being present on multiple communication channels. Then, try your best to your phone number, email address, other social media handles, website, and more on full display in all your social media profiles.

It amazes me how many brands aren’t following this principle, or think they’re too good to answer a customer’s direct message on Instagram or Twitter comment. Different customers prefer different forms of communication, and the companies who realize this and cater their strategy to accommodate it will be a step ahead of the competition.

4. Spelling errors.

For the love of all things holy, please take five minutes to proofread all of the bios, captions, and other copy on your social media profiles. Much like companies who have a bad design, companies that have spelling or grammar errors littered throughout their social media risk coming across as careless and incompetent.

5. Corny stock photos.

We’ve all seen them – stock photos that look straight out of a 2002 eighth grade social studies textbook. Don’t use these types of photos, plain and simple. Your company will appear out of touch if you have too many generic pictures of colleagues being way too excited to high-five one another in a boardroom.

Instead, check out websites like Unsplash and Pexels, which give you unlimited access to high quality, royalty-free stock imagery.

6. Your offering isn’t loud and clear.

Users who visit your social media profiles shouldn’t have to guess what it is your company does or the niche it specializes in. Your value prop, the products or services you offer, along with the industry you specialize in should all be loud and clear with a quick glance. On top of doing this with your copy, descriptions, bios and profile pictures, one easy way to do this is with your cover photos.

You can even create word art for your cover photos that give visitors a short synopsis of what makes you unique relative to your competitors. For instance, if you run a local computer repair store, your cover image could be a high res image of a laptop, with your business address and your slogan – to make sure you leave no room for mystery.

7. Your profiles are a desert.

This is a big one. On top of having stellar, visually appealing, error-free social media profiles, you also need to be active on the channels you invest in. If your last Tweet was posted three years ago, it won’t matter if your cover image looks like it belongs in an art museum, consumers will write you off as inactive, or they might even think you’ve gone out of business completely.