Operating a business in the 21st century can be as rewarding as it’s punishing — the consumers demand more with each passing year. Moreover, millennials don’t just want to buy your product — they want to be able to connect to you and what you’re selling. Luckily, businesses have found a way to achieve this — and it’s through the power of social networks.

More often than not though, this can be a double-edged sword. Although social media has the power to bring you closer to your audience, many companies, both big and small, misuse it. If you don’t truly know how to wield that sword, it just might hurt your business instead of helping it. One thing people need to realize is that social networks are not a magic wand — they won’t immediately help you just because you’re using them. Same as any other aspect of running a company, social media takes time and effort. Here are a couple of things you should not do if you wish to put your company on the market for everyone to see.

Choose Only a Few Platforms

There is a great misconception that to be successful, one should use absolutely all the social networks. Moreover, a lot of social media experts claim this as well — which is ultimately wrong for many reasons.

Here’s an example. Let’s say you’re in the gambling industry, and you’re trying to sell slots and other gambling games. Now, your social media expert insists you open a Snapchat profile to promote your business. But did you know that the majority of Snapchat users are below the age of 18? And nearly 30% of its users are between the age of 17 and 23 — so promoting your gambling business to half of these people would be illegal.

Basically, if you want to promote what you do or sell on social media, it would be wiser to analyze where your target audience sits carefully. If you’re a publisher of teen magazines, then Snapchat is definitely the place to go. But if you’re trying to promote an article about Monte Carlo vs Las Vegas, explaining which one is better for gamblers, perhaps you should stick to Facebook.

In the end, if you choose all the social networks out there, you would be wasting a lot of money. Should you pick the wrong network, your audience will never see your content and what you promote. So, stick to 2 or 3 platforms, as this will help quite significantly.

Don’t Post the Same Thing on Different Platforms

This is closely related to the fact you should choose your social networks carefully. Once you decide where to promote your products, you need to know the tone and the way you should communicate with your customers.

Although Instagram and Facebook are both run by the same company, they are internally different. The average age of a Facebook user is 45, while the average age of an Instagram user is between 20 and 25. Do you really believe that these two audiences will be interested in the same thing? Just like you can’t communicate to a 45-year-old and a 25-year-old the same way in person, this translates to social media as well.

Many businesses try to save money by posting the same statuses and photos on all their social networks profiles — which is a huge mistake. If your tone on Facebook is too youthful and millennial, the users won’t take you seriously. On the other hand, if your tone on Instagram is too serious and mature, the audience will find you boring. Hence, you need to adjust and know exactly the way a particular community interacts.

A Lot of Followers Equals Popularity

This is one of the most persistent myths when it comes to social media. Just because you have a lot of followers on Instagram does not mean your brand is popular. Although many businesses even buy fake followers in order to manipulate people into believing they’re popular — it often doesn’t work. You know why? Because they did not connect with their audience. If you don’t connect with your customers, you don’t turn them into loyal users.

You can see a lot of profiles that have thousands of followers, but a low number of likes. This is because they’re not communicating correctly, and therefore, their audience doesn’t care. This directly impacts your sales, and a lot of businesses crumble for this very reason.

Don’t Expect Results Immediately

Social networks can help your business significantly, but the biggest mistake many companies do is expecting results in a matter of days. There’s a myth that a good social media manager can turn your business around in less than 2 months. This is not true for a lot of reasons — one of them being building trust with your clients.

You should start with yourself first — would you trust Versace products if it weren’t for their stellar reputation over the years? That’s precisely how your clients think — you need to prove to them that your products are of high quality and worth investing in; this takes time. If you push your products down their throats, they will simply abandon you. As a result, remember to always be careful and patient.

Have Realistic Expectations

Social media holds a lot of power, but it won’t do you any good if you have no idea how to use it. The most important thing is to have realistic expectations. Don’t expect your Instagram profile to turn you into a millionaire in a matter of days.

If you have a social media manager, let them do their job the way it’s supposed to be done. More often than not, senior managers think they know better, but it’s usually not the case. If you endure long enough, your business will flourish.