Social media is a powerful tool. When used right, it can be effective in connecting very amazing people to other amazing people, businesses and organizations from around the world. People should use social media to heighten their existence, reflect their interesting projects and aspirations, to share something they find truly amazing, to inspire others. In a perfect world, social media would be used primarily as a source for inspiration. Unfortunately, however, although it has great potential to be an awesome window to the world, it is often cluttered with gossip, non-interesting, and non-inspiring garbage.
We often write about things you should include in your social media strategy: tips, tricks, hacks, trends, and other topics that anyone working in social media should know. But what about the things you shouldn’t do? Many common tactics are ineffective at best, and can be damaging to your brand at their worst.
When it comes to social media blunders, there’s certainly no shortage of examples. Thousands of mistakes are made by businesses every day when they’re presenting themselves on social media. Read below to find out the major social media marketing mistakes you need to avoid. Here are some of the more common ones.
23 Things You Should Avoid Doing on Social Media
1. Making it Only About Yourself
Think about that annoying friend or coworker (we all have one) who only talks about themselves. It gets old really fast, and it makes you not want to spend time with that person.
The same thing applies to social media. If all you’re doing is selling your product or service, then that’s a huge turn-off for people. Remember, social media is first and foremost social.
Although starting out on social media marketing can be a challenge, keep in mind it is about starting a conversation with people. Use social media to ask a questions or request feedback from visitors. It’s these small actions that will make people follow you or your brand.
2. Not Thinking Twice Before Posting
It’s really tempting to post an update when you have a fight with a loved one or employee. It’s tempting to start rambling about politics after a couple of drinks. But, once you update your status or send out that offensive tweet, it’s there forever.
Being disciplined is difficult at times, but it’s absolutely necessary. The last thing you want to do is to offend someone. It’s only going to reflect poorly on you and your brand.
Always think twice before sharing something on social media. And if you’re angry or a bit tipsy, then make sure your phone stays in your pocket.
3. Posting in a Hurry
Whether you just had a brilliant thought or want to be the first person to break some juicy piece of news, take a breath and think for a moment. Is the message appropriate? Is it legal to share? Are the sources trusted? While this may not be as devastating in some fields as in others, you just want to post with a clear head and not getting overly excited.
For example, you were in a bathroom and heard people discuss that a major merger was going to happen. For starters, they shouldn’t be sharing that in public, but it’s also not your place to tweet that information.
We’re not saying you should ponder posts for days. Just take a moment and think before sharing juicy bits of information with the world.
4. Not Spell Checking
Including abbreviations, acronyms, and slang may be fine to use on a personal account with friends, but not for a professional. Customers want to deal with someone who will actually take the extra second to spell out “you”. It’s a simple and effective way to prove that you’re a professional.
Furthermore, double-check your spellings. Between human error and auto-correct, that one misspelled word can do major damage to your reputation. Keep in mind that people love to point these sort of mistakes out, and that one little incident will live on in infamy.
5. Responding Unprofessionally
Because you are conversing with people—again, social media is not a one-way street—you will most likely encounter a person who rubs you the wrong way. Whatever you do, don’t go all Amy’s Bakery on them. That’s completely unprofessional and will only tarnish your good name.
Always be polite and respectful. Even if you’re not at fault, it’s a whole lot easier to kill them with kindness than to do damage control.
6. Being Impersonal
Show people there is actually a human being behind the account. Most of us actually want to do business with other people and not with calculating, emotionless robots.
Give visitors a better understanding of who you are by sharing your interests and values. In other woods, make people a “fan” of yours.
7. Hiding From Negative Comments/Controversy
Unfortunately, you can’t just run away whenever you’re faced with a challenge. Let’s say you had a typo or accidentally sent out a tweet that was meant for personal use. It is important to own up to it. People will actually respect you for admitting you made a mistake and have a learned a valuable lesson.
8. Not Listening
Part of creating a community and actually communicating with your followers is taking the time to read what people are saying about your brand. There are a wide range of free tools that can achieve this task for you. These include Hootsuite, Social Mention, TweetDeck, Topsy, Icerocket and Google Alerts.
If you see someone has a question or concern, take the time to address the issue. You can also thank people who have positive things to say about your brand.
9. Not Optimizing Social Media Profiles
If you’re familiar with Search Engine Optimization (SEO), then this should make sense. Basically, you should optimize your social media profiles just like you would your website. This means you should have titles, descriptions, and URLs that will perform well on both search engines and social media marketing. Because each social networking site has different ways of optimizing profiles.
10. Forgetting Social Media Buttons on Website
Make life easier for you visitors by including social media buttons on your website. This way, if they like a piece of content from your website, they can easily share it through their social media networks with just one simple click.
These social media buttons can also increase your brand’s visibility and fans/followers since once a visitor follows your Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn accounts they’ll receive the latest information you share.
11. Being Too Casual
There may be times when you’re conflicted about the level of professionalism involved. After all, for the most part, social media should be fun and interactive.
However, as we’ve mentioned before, you must maintain a professional relationship. So, mentioning what you ate for lunch probably isn’t really going to help your brand’s social media presence – unless you are a restaurant.
12. Only Sharing Content From Your Website
Besides reaching new customers and followers, you’re also using social media to network within your industry. This is why you should be following industry leaders and influencers and sharing their content. This will eventually help increase your followers since you’re kind of riding on the coattails of established and trusted individuals.
You need to have a variety of content that is informative or entertaining for your audience. And the best way to do that is by sharing insightful content from authority figures.
13. Being Inexperienced
Social media is at the crossroads of generations. Younger people have the experience and knowledge to use social media, but they may lack the networking and people skills the older generation has acquired over the years. What does this mean?
It means there are social media posts which would have never gotten past experienced managers or executives because they may not be professional. This is why it’s important for everyone on your team to understand both the basics of social media and the professionalism necessary in the business world.
In short, make certain everyone is on the same page when it’s time to share your brand’s visions and values.
14. Leaving Comments Unattended
Let’s be honest here. There are some nasty people online who have nothing better to do than make your life as stressful as possible. If you do not address these people, aka trolls, they’ll grow like weeds in a flower bed. After all, it only takes that one comment for things to spin out of control.
Make sure that you address all comments and complaints in a professional and timely manner. When dealing with a heckler, the best thing to do is not to sink to their level and get angry. That’s when things can get real ugly.
15. Hiring a Social Media Manager Just Because They’re “Tech Savvy”
Just because someone is “tech savvy”, and knows everything on the technical side of social media platforms, doesn’t mean they can handle the duties of a social media manager.
Sometimes, hiring a marketing consultant or communication expert would be a better option since they will have a better understanding of what your audience is expecting, your business objectives.
16. Relying on Just One Person
Creating and sharing content, along with engaging your audience, on social media sites can take up a lot of time and effort. This is why you should have a social media team in place. This way, if someone gets busy with other work, your Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and other social media pages won’t just sit there inactive.
Also, having a team in place means you can respond to customers and followers on a more timely basis. This is a great way to build your reputation as a brand dedicated to customer support.
17. Not Knowing The Difference Between a Personal and Business Account
Did you know that Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and, Google+ have both personal and business pages? It’s a great way to make sure you can have a personal and professional life on social media. Just remember, you will first have to have a personal profile and that you still need to be careful about what you post.
However, it does allow a little more flexibility in showing your personality. If you have employees, make sure that they represent your brand by not sharing anything offensive.
18. Underestimating Data
What’s the point in continuing your social media efforts if you don’t know how effective your campaign is? How many people did it reach? What content interested your followers the most? All of these are important questions that need to be answered through analytics.
Tools like Sproutsocial, Buffer, Google Analytics, Moz Analytics and Salesforce’s Marketing Cloud can all assist you in collecting and measuring data that can improve your social media presence.
19. Not Promoting Your Profiles Through Advertising
This may come as a surprise, but not all of your followers are going to catch your posts. It was recently revealed that if you had 1,000 likes on your Facebook page, then maybe 10 to 20 people will see your posts. This means that you may have to start paying for ads.
All of the major social media outlets offer advertising that can help increase your visibility, which in turn, can increase more fans, likes and followers. And, it’s actually not that much of a cost.
20. Not Having a Check-and-Balance System in Place
Whether it’s another set of eyes to proofread your status or making sure an image is appropriate to share, it’s not a bad idea to have a check and balance system in place. This means prior to sharing content on social media someone else reviews it.
For example, while you may think that pictures of everyone drunk during the office Christmas Party is a great way to humanize your brand, someone else may inform you that those images aren’t decent and can send the wrong impression of your company.
21. Being Inconsistent
There’s a rhyme and reason to when and how much content you share on social media. For example, you should discover the best times when your audience is online.
If that happens to be Monday through Thursday at 5:00, then that’s when you should be posting content—and that needs to be on a regular basis.
People will begin to expect seeing your updates at certain times everyday. If you break that habit for even just a week, your followers are likely to forget about you and move on.
22. Posting Without Images/Videos
You’ve probably noticed a lot of content consists of either images or videos. That’s because these visual pieces of content are faster for us to process (60,000 times faster than text) and are easily sharable.
Having a high-quality image or video can also increase the amount of likes for your post. On Facebook, for example, images are liked twice as much.
23. Improper Use of Hashtags
Hashtags have become such a phenomenon that they’re often mocked . However, hashtags can give your social media content a major boost.
It was found that when brands use a hashtag on Twitter, engagement can increase by 50 percent. This is a great way to expand your reach. Hashtags also serve an equally important role on Facebook, Pinterest, and Google+.
However, you don’t want to overdo it with hashtags. Having too many hashtags looks cluttered and desperate, so use relevant hashtags in moderation. Also, make sure that it’s legible. Using something like #thisiswaytoolongofasentencetouseinahashtag is just ridiculous! No one can read that. Keep it simple and to the point.
We tend to hear a lot about the importance of transparency, and in practice it is a fairly simple thing to keep in mind. Whenever you post any information, share a comment or participate in a conversation always share your professional affiliation and company information. Not only is this a good thing to get used to doing, it also insures that no one feels that you are hiding any affiliation.
People are more likely to support you if you try to build a relationship with them. Interacting with them is the key in doing this. Do not just post or reply with canned responses. Make them personalized so they don’t sound automated. A personal connection could be achieved if you do so. Again, this helps build relationship and loyalty. Make this year a brand new start in making your social media marketing work. Build your brand, connect with people and strengthen your relationship with them.