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15 Social Media Mistakes You Should Avoid

Social media, when done the right way, can benefit your business enormously. It has great potential to build your image, establish and maintain stakeholder relationships and increase revenue.
While it all seems really simple – make a few posts a week and reply to some comments – there are many social media mistakes that marketers often make.
Let’s dive into the 15 Social Media Mistakes You Should Avoid.

1. Failing to Establish a Clear Social Media Marketing Strategy!

You take the time to figure out your business’s product, target market and profit margins, similarly, adequate time needs to be spent creating a social media plan. It is important that the strategy be executed accurately. Many businesses make the mistake of posting a few times, attracting attention and then disappearing. Consistency is key in a social media strategy. Do not risk leaving comments and messages unanswered and not updating content. You will lose followers who may be potential customers.

Don’t let your social media presence become a flop.

A good social media marketing plan should build your presence and you are required to set the goals you wish to achieve. Any strategy would need to include:

• Goals
• Target audience
• Tactics
• Time
• Social media team
Predefined, measurable objectives can help you to attain your business’s social media goals.

2. Marketers Don’t Take the Time to Get to Know Their Target Audience

Your audience is the most important factor in social media marketing. You need to know who you are speaking to in order to speak to them!

Take the time to establish the target demographic of each social media platform and tailor posts according to these users and your product’s target audience.
If you are not speaking to the right people, then what’s the point?
Results will suffer if you are going in blindly!

3. Posting Personal Content on a Business Account

While I’m sure your personal Instagram followers are anxiously waiting to see what you had for lunch today, I’m 99% certain that your business’s audience does not care. They want to see what your business is about, why you exist, how you contribute to the industry and who the people are behind the operations.

Remember that people follow a business page with the expectation that they will experience quality content that is meaningful and valuable to them. If not? Unfollow!

Make sure that the content you post is relevant to your business and engaging for your followers. Consider your company culture and go from there. Don’t be overly formal, but not too quirky either. Good luck!

4. Sharing Content that is Insensitive or Offensive.

This is a surefire way to lose followers and run the risk of ruining your image. Social media is a breeding ground for reputational damage and no one is safe. Ensure that the content you are posting is harmless and won’t stir up trouble or receive backlash.

You can be funny, but ere on the side of caution. Not everyone has a sense of humour. Avoid jokes that might hurt people’s feelings or beliefs. Use your discretion. Be wary of content involving sensitive topics including race, religion, sexuality and politics. If you can, avoid bringing up anything too controversial. It’s good to spark a healthy debate, but you don’t want arguments and threats in your comments.

A fine example is Dolce and Gabbana’s insensitive marketing campaign whereby the below sneakers were promoted.

Source: Teen Vogue / Instagram.
Source: Teen Vogue / Instagram.

The phrase “I’m thin and gorgeous” received backlash which co-founder Stefano Gabbana responded to in the worst possible way.

Source: Bazaar.
Source: Bazaar.

5. Always Using Automated Responses

While it makes sense to have an auto-reply for companies that receive large amounts of social media messages, it shouldn’t always be that way. It’s important to get back to those message with genuine responses that apply to each query. If you continually use a bot to respond on social media, users are bound to pick up on it.

A great example of this is when Snapchat’s servers were down and unhappy users started to realise the company’s automated response.


6. Not Addressing Negative Comments on Your Profile

Ignoring negative feedback will only create more negativity. Rather act on complaints, apologise when necessary, answer queries and direct people to appropriate support channels. Responding to both positive and negative comments will help you to address customer service issues and improve the overall business activities.

• Don’t delete negative mentions or comments.
• Apologise and ask the customer for their contact details.
• Allow your customers to act freely but you may hide inappropriate or false information.

7. Being a Faceless Company

If you’re too “corporate” on social media, your users or customers will feel disconnected to the company. People prefer to know they’re communicating with real people.

Social media, by nature, is an informal place where people are given freedom of expression. When posting as a company, you may remain professional, however, it is beneficial to add a human touch. Speak TO your customers not AT them. Avoid generic responses as much as possible; a personal touch is valuable and increases the chances of further engagement.

8. Too Many Sales and Product Posts

Social media is all about interacting and being sociable. People hate promotional content and will often unfollow or unlike pages that feel like sales pitches.

Obviously, your business needs to sell, however, too many hard-sell posts are unnecessary. A few product posts now and again work well. The more subtle these posts are, the better. The goal is to receive engagement and sales posts are not really the way to achieve this.

9. Lack of Interaction

So you’ve posted content on your company’s social media accounts, now what?

Well, you started the conversation, now participate in it!

No matter the type of comment, make sure you send a reply. If the user tags or mentions someone else, thank them! This is how your page gets shared and your company gets noticed – word-of-mouth is invaluable.

A lack of presence on social media does not look good for your company. Show users that you value their engagement and before you know it, your customer base will increase. Create, maintain and build these relationships and your social media following will grow.

10. Monotonous Content

Social media has massive amounts of content, so it’s a given that users are going to be drawn to the most interesting posts. In order for your company’s pages to stand out, content needs to be varied and captivating. Don’t be afraid to add in some humour at times or interesting and relevant facts.
Your users don’t want to see boring specs and sales tactics featuring on all your social media accounts. Try a few entertaining posts and watch the reactions you get. Social media comes with a world of opportunities for different types of content – video, imagery, links, slideshows and the works! Make the most of these and your users will be appreciative and more likely to engage.

11. Forgetting to Track Analytics

So you avoid doing any of the above and make use of social media flawlessly, great! No, not great. You’re missing one of the most crucial steps, measuring your success.
There’s hardly any point of using social media without actionable insights. Just as you measure units sold and SEO success, you should track and analyse your performance metrics on social media. You can use the metrics provided on the social media platform; e.g. Facebook Business manager.
Make use of Google Analytics to keep track of shares and site traffic. Determine whether they are more or less likely to drive sales.
Measure the quality of your followers. Who are they? Potential customers? Or random trolls?
The popularity of your posts will give you a good indication of what your followers want to see.
All of these insights will help your future social media marketing efforts.

12. Too Many or Too Few Accounts

If you’ve signed up for all social media accounts under the sun then you may be risking stretching yourself too thin.
The key to getting positive results from social media marketing is putting enough time and effort into each platform. Further, an equal amount of time spent engaging with followers. You can’t be replying to every comment on Facebook and neglecting your Instagram followers. Unless you have a dedicated social media team, you can’t keep up with too many platforms.
Instead of trying to succeed on all platforms and getting nowhere, rather choose platforms that suit your company’s culture and target audience – these should be two or three. When you limit your social involvement, you can focus your efforts and get a much better engagement rate.
The same goes for having only one social media account. Say for example your company is only on Facebook; what about your customers on Instagram or Twitter? Having at least two social media accounts is recommended, but not required. It is, of course, dependent on your type of business and what you hope to achieve on social media.

13. Using Foul Language

Some people may think it could connect them with their audiences and hey, maybe it could. But for the most part, swearing on social media portrays an unprofessional image and could come across as rude and offensive. It is suggested to refrain from foul language on social media, especially for business accounts. It gives off an aggressive, harsh tone that is simply uncalled for. There is no need to make use of swear words to seem funny, toilet humour should be kept off business social media.

14. No Social Media Team

You simply cannot be in two places at once, similarly, it’s difficult to manage multiple social media accounts and provide quality content. Rather hire people in the know-how and that are wired for social media. Having a dedicated social media team will help you set measurable targets to reach and be beneficial to your company’s social media presence in the long run.
A social media team can include the following individuals:
• An analyst
• A communicator
• Product expert
• A coordinator

15. Failure to Create a Social Media Policy

With a good social media team, a company may choose to skip a social media policy. This is a mistake as it provides guidelines for your company’s social media usage and covers employees’ personal and professional use of social media.

A good social media policy can include the following:
• Outline of team roles
• Security protocols
• Plan of action for security or PR crisis
• Compliance with social media law
• Employee behaviour on personal & business social media accounts

Social media for business use is intended to assist in the promotion of the brand and create a favourable image in the eyes of the public. However, this doesn’t always go according to plan.
Insensitive jokes, automated reply flops, ignoring negative comments and even too many sales posts can leave companies with a tainted reputation. Being known for the wrong social media behaviour does not look good for business and the points above are only drops in the ocean. Remember to plan ahead, always respond and don’t forget to spice up posts with some humour now and again!