7 Mistakes I See Web Designers Make with Social Media | Digital Masters

Episode #39

7 Mistakes I See Web Designers Make with Social Media

web developer using social media

Does social media and posting for your web design just utterly baffle you?

One of the things I hear the most from students is that they’re never sure how to talk about themselves. When you’re working for a company and you have some emotional distance, social media management can be a lot easier. But how do you talk about a business that is 100% about you? Especially in the beginning when it is just you?

After all, your web design business is your baby. And if you’re a freelancer, a lot of it is about YOU and what you do for your customers. That can be really hard to separate and talk about, especially if you’re an introvert. Bragging just feels wrong, right?

You’re not alone. In fact, one of the main reasons I started this podcast was because I saw a lot of my fellow web designers and developers making a ton of mistakes on social media. We tend to default to what we know and don’t get out of our heads.

So, what are those mistakes I often see other web designers and web developers make? In today’s episode, I’m going to take you through the top 7 mistakes I see other web designers make on social media and give you a few tips on how to fix that in your own business. Not only will you be able to avoid these mistakes moving forward, you’ll have more confidence in your social media strategy and posting consistently will become a lot easier.


1. Not Being on the Right Platforms

Literally the first mistake I see a lot of business owners make, not just web developers and designers, is not being on the right platforms for their target market. They post on Facebook to crickets or try to drum up business on LinkedIn and never get seen. While yes, these are places that you might think your target market (other business owners) spend their time, you have to ask yourself if it’s really the right place for you and who you want to target.

First, you need to decide on who you’re even talking to in the first place! It’s not just about attracting other business owners. You need to get more specific than that. We talked about this in more depth in episode 32, but you really need to take that first step of creating a buyer persona and deciding who your dream customer is.

How Do Your Clients Like to Learn?

Once you’ve done that, then you need to do some research. Think about a few things like:

  • Where are they spending their time on social platforms – for fun?
  • How do they like to learn?
  • What kinds of struggles are they facing with their websites?
  • What do they wish they could change to make their lives easier?

These answers will help you decide not only what social media platform you need to spend your time on, but the kind of content you should be creating for your idea client.

Most successful B2B social media content includes some kind of education. Something that can provide a quick win and build up trust with you. So when you know how your clients like to learn and where they like to do that, it can make creating your content a whole lot easier.

Where to Research?

Depending on who your dream customer is, you might be able to do some research just by Googling. Look for white papers, professional studies, and even statistics about where people are spending their time and a basic demographic breakdown of the users in different social media platforms.

Then, choose 3-5 competitors and take a look through their social media. Find them on multiple platforms and see where they’re having the most success with getting not just likes, but engagement. When you’re seeing likes, comments, shares, and retweets, you know that their audience is actually listening to what they’re saying. Take note of what seems to be working and what isn’t.

Lastly, you may be able to ask your existing clients or just experiment. Post on a platform, consistently, for the next three months. Are you getting engagement? Is your audience growing? If not, is it working better on another platform or is your content maybe just falling flat?

This isn’t an overnight process, but the time investment will be huge for you to be talking to your actual clients instead of others in your profession or people who will never buy from you.

2. Focusing on Your Offer’s Features

You know what is really boring? Seeing a list of features for an offer with absolutely zero context on why that matters to youYour dream client really only cares about themselves, especially before they’ve gotten to know you. When you’re selling a service like website creation, you have to get multiple sales to keep your pipeline and schedule full. That means often, you’re working with clients for 3-4 months and then done with them.

Do you really think you’re going to fill up that sales pipeline by talking about all the boring stuff your website includes?

No! They don’t care. Your dream customer literally does not care how you build a website or what it all includes. Especially when that’s a generic website package that isn’t tailored to them or their needs.

What they do care about is how those features of your offer are going to benefit them  and their business.

Turn Those Features into Benefits

How do you fix this common mistake? Turn those features of the websites you’re building into benefits. How does that feature help your customer and their business? After all, that’s what they’re going to care about.

In episode 33, we broke down some common website features and turned them into the benefits. Let’s take another look at some of that list:

  • Built for fast page load – Your website loads quickly to capture leads
  • Created in WordPress or SquareSpace – I use a popular website platform that’s proven and easy to understand
  • Use a page builder like Elementor or Divi – I use one of the most popular theme builders to make your website easy to update
  • Follow Digital Accessibility best practices – I make your website inclusive to improve SEO and prevent ADA lawsuits
  • Write content for on-page SEO – I help your website get found on Google by the right people
  • Custom design for your brand – I create a custom look that truly matches your branding

See how different that is? No one really cares that I follow best practices for Web and Digital Accessibility until I tell them why that matters. So focus less on the features you include in the websites you build, and showcase how those features benefit your dream client.

Creating Benefit-Focused Social Media Posts

I want you to open up a Google Doc or get out your Notes app and jot down all of the features you include in websites that you know are important. Now, I want you to turn those features around and explain to yourself why they benefit your customer.

Once you have those benefits written out, you literally now have tons of social media posts! Focus on one feature and start out with the benefit. Then, connect it to how it’s a feature of every website you build or something you commonly include, and then reinforce why that feature matters to your customer.

Bam! You’ve just created months of content in about 10 minutes.

3. Only Posting Sales Posts

Social media is all about being social. No one wants to jump into Instagram or even onto LinkedIn and immediately be sold to.

Literally no one.

Even if your dream customer is actively looking for someone to build their next website, they certainly aren’t going to choose you because they saw your super-salesy Instagram post first.

And yet, about 90% of the web design and especially web developer businesses that I follow and stalk on Instagram and other platforms make every. single. post a salesy post.

“Buy this website package!”

“Contact us now!”

“We build great WordPress websites!”

“We build responsive websites! Contact us now!”

And on and on.

No one cares. No one is going to buy from you and more importantly, no one is going to engage with you on social media when you’re constantly trying to sell them.

Build Up the Know/Like/Trust Factor

What do you post instead of trying to make sales all the time? How do you get those sales off of social media if you’re not asking for the sale???

The trick is to make about 70% of your posts focused on building up the know/like/trust factor (some of which we’ll dive into more later in this episode) and have a salesy-call to action in only about 30% of your posts.

You want most of your social media posts to entertain, engage, and educate your readers. This helps to not only build up your engagement because casual watchers will like those posts a lot more than something to tells people to buy, but it will let them get to know you and your business in a totally different way.

One of the best ways to help break this down is into a term called Content Pillars. Write out 5 or 6 topics that you want to be known for, and most of them should focus on the benefits you provide customers. Break them out into subtopics and then use those to drive your social media post’s topics. Write about one of those content pillars each week and make sure that you’re including educational, entertaining content that fits that topic.

No, your Content Pillars should not just be again, focused on getting that sale. Some should just be educational. Some should be focused on you (more on that later), some should be focused on your customers’ success, and others can be benefits-driven.

Yes, you should routinely (about once per week or so) have some sort of call to action where you explain how someone can work with you, but don’t just make it a SALE SALE SALE focus.

4. Never Showing Client Successes

Want a quick way to build up that Know/Like/Trust factor?

Showcase your clients’ successes!

Literally, it can be as simple as just getting a testimonial from a previous client and sharing that. Email them after the project is done and ask what they liked working with you and ask if they can include what makes their life/business easier now that they have the website you built.

Reach out in six months and ask about their business’s growth.

Or, simply take screenshots of their website before and show off the before and after. Talk about how much easier their new site is for users to use or what you fixed and cleaned up.

The best part is, you can break these out into multiple posts over time and even try to get some kind of statistics from your customers so that you can give real numbers.

Your Dream Client is the Hero

Chances are, you’ve heard about storytelling and how important it is in marketing. The biggest mistake many people make is that they think the business, the brand, the entrepreneur, etc, are the heroes of the stories of the brand. In fact, it’s not that at all.

The hero of your brand’s story is in fact the dream client. They want to see themselves reflected back in your social media. That’s why the benefits and where you post (and how you post) matters so much.

When you share other clients’ successes and their testimonials, it lets your dream customer see themselves in those results. It builds up trust and provides them some proof that you can do the same for them.

Testimonials, reviews, and showcases can be incredibly powerful for your dream client to see in your social media feed.

5. Never Showing Your Face

This is going to be a hard pill for some of us to swallow, but you need to put a face to the name!

Long explanation short – customers like to do business with people they like. It makes total sense after all. Especially if you’re a service provider where you might be working with your clients for weeks or months at a time, they want to enjoy the experience.

When they don’t know who you are because they’ve literally never seen your face? Well, that can be a huge barrier to your success.

This can be especially beneficial if you’re a freelancer or solopreneur, because working with your company is all about working with you.

Build up that human connection with you by using your face more in your social media. Grab a photographer friend, take some shots in your home office or places around town, and have some fun with it.

Bringing the Personal Into Your Social Media

It’s not all about just showing your face either. It’s a lot about making a human connection with your dream customer. Remind them that even you, the tech geek are human! You’re not a robot!

You can do this in your social media by:

  • Don’t shy away from getting your face on camera. Pictures of you and videos of you help.
  • Stories (on Instagram and Facebook) are a great way to show some behind the scenes of your day without divulging things you’re uncomfortable with
  • Use your personality in your brand voice. Make it sound like you!
  • Have customers provide testimonials about working with you personally and how you’ve helped.
  • Bring in examples of when you’ve struggled with something that you know your clients have struggled with.
  • Connect things in your marketing with an experience you’ve had. Tell a story and connect it back to them.

Make it personal, give your clients a reason to connect with you. It’ll do a lot to build up that know and like factor and even work to build up that trust. Because they’ll know you and your business on an entirely different level.

6. Not Following & Engaging with Your Ideal Customer

Want your dream customer to follow you on social media? You have to start by following them and talking to them!

You can’t just post and expect them to come out in droves. You have to actually engage and talk with them. If you’re not engaging with your dream customers, then how will they ever find you?

Sure, they might come find you through a hashtag or stumble on your post, but when you focus on building an actual, virtual relationship with them, you’ll build up that human relationship. They’ll be more likely to come follow you, work with you down the line, and recommend you to others when they hear of a need.

How to Find Your Dream Client

Take out that buyer persona you created. Now, I want you to go to their main social platforms, and the social platforms that you’ll be posting on the most, and follow 100 people and businesses that fit in with your dream client. Then, I want you to follow some either indirect or direct competitors. People you think your dream client is already following and engaging with.

Now, I want you to comment on their posts! Scroll through your feed and spend just about 5-10 minutes a day leaving a valuable comment or something personal on their latest social posts. Respond to their stories with something relevant to that post. Just something that will build up that relationship and show off your personality and expertise. DON’T sell to them, but focus on providing value and connection.

Next, go to your indirect competitors – the ones you think your dream client is already following and has a healthy amount of engagement – and engage in the comments on their posts. Find their groups on Facebook or Discord and be a helpful member of their community. You can build up trust and get people back to your profile because you’re providing value and connection in a place they’re already spending their time.

Lastly, you need to engage BACK when someone leaves a comment on any of your social media posts. Don’t leave questions unanswered or comments unresponded to. Most social platforms give you some algorithm kudos when you’re engaging on your own posts because it drives up the number of comments, but it’s about more than that. It’s about not leaving your dream client hanging and creating meaningful conversations.

7. Ignoring Social Media All Together

Our last one of the list could also be the first, but you can’t just ignore social media. In fact, I’d argue that a quality social media strategy can do more for your business than you’ll ever be able to calculate.

Many people ignore social media because it takes time – about a year – before you’re really going to start seeing results. That coupled with the fact that it’s often an indirect or hard-to-track ROI makes it feel like a waste of time when you just want to put your energy into the sales methods that are already working for you.

But what you don’t realize is that many of the people that are being recommended to you are checking you out on social media first. They’re looking at your feed – or lack thereof – and making a quick judgement about whether or not you’d be the right fit. If you’re not posting on social media at all? Well, there’s nothing to reinforce what your website says or what your other client told them.

Often, prospects need a few touchpoints during the sales process before they’ll make a decision. They might not be ready right now to sign a contract for a website, but they’ll be ready soon. Maybe they want to follow you on social media and see if you’d be able to help them, seriously, or provide them with some wins that they can use now.

If you’re ignoring social media all together, you’re losing out on increasing those sales touchpoints and filling your pipeline with customers who might want to work with you in the months to come.

Creating a Social Media Plan

Don’t lose those clients. Instead, go through the methods we talked about in this podcast and create a plan.

Who are you talking to? Where will you post? What kinds of content will you post? Get some photos taken of yourself, gather some clients’ screenshots and testimonials, and set up a calendar.

You don’t need to post every day either. Just make sure that whatever you plan to post that you’re doing so consistently each week. Even if it’s just 2-3 times per week, that’s better than going through spurts here and there.

Want to make it even easier on yourself? Plan it out! Use a quick calendar or spreadsheet and decide what you’ll post and when, then use a social media scheduler to get it all ready to go.

Chances are you can take care of a week or a month’s social media in just a couple of hours and not be overwhelmed by it every single day.

Don’t Ignore Social

Social media can be one of your best sales pipeline-fillers, but you can’t ignore it. You don’t have to do much either to stand out from the competition in the web design world either. Focus on not making these mistakes and turn your social strategy around. You’ll be amazed at how much better you do after you’ve implemented a few of these strategies for the next few months!

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