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22 Things You Should Never Do on Social Media

Assorted colour social media signage

With 4.48 billion active users worldwide in 2021, using social media to build your brand is a ‘no-brainer.’

And while tapping into this opportunity may ‘excite you’, there are pitfalls that can cost your brand significant money and reputation loss.

Here are 22 things you should never do on social media!

Read on or use the table of contents to ‘jump’ to a specific section in the post.

Table of Contents

People discuss about graphs and rates

1. Not Have a Strategy

Not having a solid social media strategy is like living in a house with rocky foundations.

It’s fundamental to your social media success and always your starting point.

And before even starting your strategy, remember:

  • You will be forming real relationships, with real people
  • Don’t be satisfied with a generic strategy (as ‘generic’ establishes zero competitive advantage over your competition).

Takeaway: Don’t do anything else before formulating an effective social media strategy – and this resource from Sprout Social is your baseline for doing so.

Social media icons displayed on mobile phone

2. Not Diversifying Across Platforms

Facebook is the most popular social media platform worldwide, with 2.85 billion monthly active users.

But don’t just post on Facebook because each different social media platform has something different to offer your target audience.

Failure to diversify will only lessen your reach – but this does not mean you have to be on every platform.

Takeaway: Educate yourself on the 8 best social media platforms for your business here, and then make the decision as to which platforms you’ll use for your brand.

Brown wooden blocks on white surface

3. Not Posting Consistently

‘Consistency’ is key to the success of the most valuable brands worldwide and to your brand.

So don’t make the mistake of only posting when inspiration strikes.

And instead treat social media like your blog, with success built on informative, useful and valuable ‘consistent’ posts.

Takeaway: Accept ‘content is king’ and you are going to need to produce it consistently yourself (or with help). And to help you, Christian Galbato outlines 10 ways to be more consistent on social media here.

Person writing on white paper

4. Not Speaking to Your Target Audience

As spoken about in this 60 second tip video, you can only satisfy your audience (back in 1. have a strategy) by:

  • Narrowing down who your ideal customer is
  • Giving them what they already want.

And to do that you need the right tone of voice on social media, that is:

  • Friendly but not unprofessional
  • Outspoken but not insensitive
  • Personal but not too casual.

Note: Using auto-DMs to welcome new followers on Twitter would be an example of not speaking to your target audience effectively.

Takeaway: Start by understanding what is a social media target audience and how to find it and then learn how to reach your target audience on social media more.

White and red ceramic mug

5. Not Promoting Your Brand Effectively

Promoting your brand in a ‘salesly’ and ‘one-sided’ way (where you’re more into your brand than your audience) are big nos on social media.

Because as we mentioned (back in 1. not have a strategy) you are building real relationships with real people.

And real people don’t want to follow a brand consistently:

  • Pushing them to buy something
  • Where it’s all about them (it should be all about the audience – as discussed here).

Takeaway: Michigan State University summarises (here) the importance of building effective relationships on social media: “This increases that party’s sense of belonging, self-worth and security, in turn, makes them more comfortable and more likely to invest in your relationship.”

Deer behind grass

6. Not Listening

As a brand, it’s critical all staff master the art of listening (10 steps to effective listening here) because brands benefit when consumers feel heard.

And the same applies for whoever oversees social media, a listening approach must be taken to content creation that:

  • Listens
  • Analyses
  • Acts.

Takeaway: A listening approach adds value to your brand and means you prioritise social customer service. And for more, check out this awesome resource by Sprout Social – the complete guide to online social listening.

Brown wooden blocks on white surface

7. Not Trying to Make a Difference in People's Lives

Making a difference in people’s lives is fundamental to any brands success.

And this goes back to your strategy (in 1.)

Because:

  • 88% of consumers want you to help them make a difference (as reported by Forbes here)
  • The brands that survive will be the brands that make life better (as reported by Fast Company here).

Takeaway: Don’t reinvent the wheel and start by checking out the top 10 brands that make people happier on social media for inspiration. 5 ways to make a difference with your business is also a useful resource to add to that.

 
athletes running on track and field oval in greyscale

8. Not Embracing Your Competition

Don’t fear your competition when creating social media content.

Embrace your competition, much like you do in blog posting. Because any high-quality blog post will link out to other useful resources (competitors) around the web to ‘add value’ to the post.

And so, the same goes for your social media content.

Takeaway: All business should have competition, otherwise you have a problem.  So embrace your competition and do not fear them – here’s 3 reasons why you shouldn’t (according to Inc).

Low angle photography of drop lights

9. Not Choosing Quality over Quantity

A ‘less is more’ quality approach (following these 12 great tips by Online Marketing Institute) must be undertaken with social media content creation, as social algorithms prioritise relevance over quantity.

Because a quantity approach, only brings you one step closer to ‘information overload’, which can affect your target audience’s:

  • Personal well-being
  • Decision making
  • Innovation
  • Productivity.

More on that in this great resource by Harvard Business Review: death by information overload.

So no posting about your next vacation or business trip!

Note: Avoid posting the exact same message on all social media channels.

Takeaway: Take the time in 1. (have a strategy) to figure out what your target audience really wants to hear from your brand and refine this by listening, analysing and acting (discussed in 6.)

Woman placing sticky notes on wall

10. Not Diversifying Your Content Styles

Using the same content medium (like images for e.g.) consistently is a big mistake!

Because as reported by Medium (here), a variety of content styles:

  • Ensures freshness (keeping your audience interested)
  • Appeals to different types of people (with each social media user being different).

Takeaway: ‘Sameness’ never creates a competitive advantage. So instead mix it up, and embrace content style diversity, by checking out the top 12 types of social media content to create (according to Mailchimp).

Round life buoy

11. Not Getting Help (others/influencers/ads)

Growing your business means what focusing on what matters.

And social media matters but do you really have the:

  • Experience / skills / expertise
  • Time to dedicate to it.

Engaging others: If you hire the right people (4 secrets here from Forbes for doing so) you can achieve your goals quicker, which maximises success.

Engaging influencers: A powerful strategy that offers huge ROI when done right here.

Engaging ads: As you risk falling behind as a brand if you don’t. Here are 7 reasons to consider paid social media advertising.

Takeaway: Don’t be afraid to ask for help with social media and instead focus on 4 ways to grow your business here (with 13 secrets to doing it even quicker here).

Person holding yellow and white pen writing on white paper

12. Not Being Up-to-Date with Current Trends

Successful people allocate time each day informing themselves on what’s happening in their industry (the trends).

They know by doing this (and having their finger on the pulse) they can stay one step ahead of their competition and maintain their competitive advantage.

So, it’s critical for your brand to stay informed on trends to:

  • Build credibility
  • Demonstrate value
  • Show where you (as a brand) are heading in the future.

Note: Also, you don’t want to forward date a post in the future (using hootsuite for e.g.) and later find out after posting that the post now has a ‘negative’ impact on your brand – all because you were not aware of a current trend.

Takeaway: Ensure you stay on top of current trends and here are 8 easy ways to do so according to Square. And for further reading, be sure to check these 6 low-stress ways of staying up-to-date on current industry trends, courtesy of Forbes.

USA flag waving on white metal pole

13. Not Taking a Stand (when needed)

You may be thinking it’s a bad idea to speak out on social and political issues, but with 70% of consumers saying it’s important for brands to take a stand, think again.

Because while staying ‘silent’ may seem like the safe choice it may not be perceived well by your brand’s supporters – who want to support brands that have similar values to their own.

Takeaway: It’s critical to know when to take a stand and when not to. And the best way to do this is to evaluate the overall long-term impact on your brand – by outlining the pros / cons and then making an informed decision.

not-playing-by-the-rules

14. Not Playing by the Rules

Social media rules are made to be followed. 

So ‘play by the rules’ or risk serious long-term damage to your brand (that could be difficult to repair / irreparable).

And if in doubt, read the social media platform’s terms and conditions.

Examples of not playing by the rules include:

# Rule Broken
1.
Copying material and using it as your own
2.
Changing the meaning of a tweet when you retweet it
3.
Adding people to groups without permission
4.
Tagging people on improper pictures
5.
Sending out 'like' invitations to your fan page
6.
Hijacking someone else’s Facebook post and making it all about you
7.
Posting a private comment made in person
8.
Post links to your brand on someone else’s Facebook business page
9.
Like pages with sole expectation of reciprocity
10.
Posting illegal stuffs

Note: Be careful not to trust everyone online – this includes being friends with strangers and clicking on links you don’t trust – because while you’re striving for long-term gain (with your brand) there are always (unfortunately) people after short-term gain.

Takeaway: Play by all social media rules to build your brand better long-term. 
Cubes in row with magnifier and fern leaves

15. Not Proofreading All Posts

Not proofreading all your social media content before ‘publishing’ is a big no.

Because it only takes one post (even if unintentional) to cause serious damage to your brand.

So be sure to proofread all posts for:

# Item to Proofread For # Item to Proofread For
1.
Spelling mistakes
16.
Incriminating content
2.
Incriminating content
17.
Offensive content
3.
Negative opinions
18.
Abusive content
4.
Controversial statements
19.
Adult content
5.
Referencing insensitive material
20.
Rude content
6.
Changing the meaning of content
21.
Drugs related content
7.
Linking to inappropriate content
22.
Illegal content
8.
Resharing or reposting links

(without checking)
23.
Sexual references
9.
Comfortable sharing
24.
Racial Slurs
10.
Protecting your privacy
25.
Harassment
11.
Taking a political stand
26.
Threats
12.
Argumentative content
27.
Lying
13.
Snarky content
28.
Abuse
14.
Profanity content
29.
Spammy
15.
Embarrassing content
30.
Scammy

Takeaway: Proofreading all posts is not wasted time. Because not only does it save damage to your brand’s image but it allows you to improve posts to make a better connection with your target audience (building your brand).

Person holding grey video camera near green leaf plant during daytime

16. Not Posting with Photos & Video

Visuals (photos and video) are everything with social media content creation.

When done right, they can weed through the ‘noise’ of social media and grab attention.

Social Media Today summarises it best here when it says: “Image and video posts on social media receive more likes, shares and engagement than text updates.”

But with photos, never:

  • Doctor a photo
  • Post or repurpose it without permission
  • Represent an original photo as your own.

Takeaway: Understand the unique benefits of videos and images in this resource by Inc. Both have their time and place for use. But then know that video is the hottest growth hack right now according to Later.

not-using-hashtags-effectively

17. Not Using Hashtags Effectively

If you’re not using hashtags (or effectively) you’re missing out on a golden opportunity for more users to find and engage with your content.

And this content attention can engage real conversations on social media (that were previously untapped) to build your brand better.

Note: Make sure the hashtags you use are relevant to your post / understandable because as Hydate Marketing reports, poor hashtag use can hurt your brand.  

Takeaway: For how to do use hashtags effectively, check out this quick and simple guide from Hootsuite.

not-responding-to-all-feedback

18. Not Responding to All Feedback

You must respond to all feedback – good and bad.

Because while it may seem ‘easy’ to ignore negative feedback, it won’t be so easy to ignore when it has a ‘snowball’ effect and damages your brand (leaving a bigger problem to clean up).

And some tips for responding to negative feedback are:

  • Address the reviewer
  • Say thank you
  • Apologise and sympathise
  • Take responsibility
  • Make things right
  • Take the issue offline
  • Ask for a second chance.

Takeaway: Embrace all feedback, with 5 reasons why customer feedback matters here, even if it’s negative (with reasons why detailed by In-house Research Ltd here).

Composition of pink paper clips isolated on blue background

19. Not Linking Your Social Media and Home Page

It’s critical to connect your social media and home page (through linking) to increase:

  • Traffic
  • Conversions
  • Revenue.

So your Facebook and YouTube should link to your website and vice versa.

And this is because your website is the core of your sales funnel.

Takeaway: While your web presence is made up of every platform your brand takes part in, your website is the core, and the best websites focus on their conversion funnel.

Eyeglasses with black frames on cement by pool

20. Not Monitoring Automated Tools

Automation does not equal set and forget – never!

Because while automated tools like Hootsuite and Buffer let you schedule posts to multiple platforms, they are not perfect.

  • Technical errors
  • Bugs
  • Human error can occur.

Takeaway: ‘Control’ measures must be put in place in strategy (1.) to ensure regular checks (at least monthly) are done to prevent a mishap that may cause damage to your brand.

Person holding blue and clear ballpoint pen analysing data

21. Not Analysing the Data

You can’t measure the impacts of your social media marketing efforts until you analyse the data.

Simply:

  • What’s working?
  • What’s not?

And while the data can be overwhelming, you are not alone – with Forbes reporting here that today’s companies are overwhelmed by data.

But if you (or a staff member – if you get help) regularly review your social analytics, then it will help you to make better strategic decisions inside and outside of marketing.

Takeaway: Understand your free and paid tool options for social media analytics, and if you’re not an ‘analytics’ person then get help (like we discussed back in 11. not getting help). And to move forward with confidence you can’t go past Neil Patel’s 5 easy steps to measure your social media campaigns.

Water ripple

22. Not Evolving

Maybe you’re not:

  • Revisiting your strategy (as and when needed)
  • Getting the right help (to propel your brand forward)
  • Making the use of data (to formulate actionable insights).

Whatever it is.

  • Humans are still evolving (in as little as a generation here)
  • Social media marketing is constantly evolving (how it has over the past 12 years – here).
  • Brands must evolve (5 companies that prove it here).

Takeaway: Your social media marketing campaigns must always be evolving (like your brand) to maintain a competitive edge and ensure maximum return on investment.

conclusion

Conclusion

Social media is great for building your brand better.

But it’s just a buzzword until you come up with a strategy (discussed in 1.).

So spend as much time as you need in the ‘strategy’ phase (1.), because this sets you up for success.

But then be sure to follow the other 21 things you should never do on social media to become a brand that is talked about for all the right reasons, maximising your results.

Over to You…

Do you agree with 22 Things You Should Never to Do on Social Media? Or is there something missing, or you would like to add?? Would love to hear from you in the comments – any feedback is greatly appreciated.

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