Social media moves fast, with posts from millions of accounts posting left and right. Users move even faster when scrolling through their feed, and missteps could cost you your place in the algorithm—and your audience. Avoid these nine social media mistakes to keep people interested and stay on top of your game.
1. Not Creating a Social Media Strategy
Why are you on social media? If your answer is “because everyone else is,” you need to reevaluate your goals and create a proper strategy. A strategy informs all your activities online and ensures you’re working towards concrete, achievable marketing goals. Having a social media plan lets you use time more efficiently by channeling your energy into the most important tasks, measure the analytics and data that matter, and streamline campaigns to the essentials. Not having a strategy means you go in blind. That’s exhausting!
2. Sharing Limited Types of Content
|@laurdiy's Instagram account has well-curated, eclectic posts that despite consistenting largely of brand partnerships, display lots of diverse imagery and behind the scenes lifestyle shots.|
Only sharing content about you or your company isn’t just boring, it makes your social media page look like a sales pitch. Both brands and influencers should balance original content with curated content. Find the best content (articles, photos, or videos) that aligns with your focus, share them on your social media pages (with credit!), and add your own insights to bring extra value to your audience.
3. Using Too Many Hashtags
One of the most common Instagram mistakes, abusing hashtags might theoretically give you wider reach, but it can look unsightly if there are too many crammed into the caption. Make them easier to read, too: according to Carmen Shirley Collins, Cisco’s Talent Brand Social Media Lead, “please use capitalization to make your hashtags easier to read and understand.” Additionally, H2H CEO Bryan Kramer adds: “Don't use hashtags on platforms that don't use hashtags. It looks automated.”
4. Deleting or Ignoring Negative Comments
Deal with negative feedback with grace, not panic. Eagle-eyed fans will notice if you’ve been trying to subtly delete away negative comments, and that harms your brand perception more than if you leave them up. Some tips for dealing with negative comments: respond within hours, engage in a dialogue while being helpful and polite, encourage customers to call or email you for further discussion, don’t try to hide information or lie, and don’t argue. It also helps to have a plan for this kind of situation ready.
5. Not Understanding Your Audience
|It's important to have a strong understanding of your social metrics so you can better understand your audience and cater your content to their interests, and increase your engagement rates.|
Take a look at your metrics, especially the demographics of the individuals who follow and engage with your brand. You don’t want to be shouting into the void because you’re out of touch with who your real audience is. Tailor your content to who your brand is targeting. If your followers are mostly young teenagers but your goal is to market to young adults, there may be a disconnect with the way you present yourself on social.
6. Saying the Wrong Thing about Trending Topics
Trendjacking is a marketing buzzword meaning jumping onto social media’s most trending topics and using them to your brand’s advantage. This can go wrong very easily though. One way to talk about social media trends successfully is to never compromise your brand’s voice and choose your battles wisely. Avoid controversial statements and do thorough research on what the trend is about and where it originated beforehand, lest you come off as callous, or even worse, desperate.
7. Removing the Human Touch
The ability to schedule posts in advance is a blessing for marketers who need to multitask at all hours of the workday. However, utilizing this too much sucks the social out of social media, and your account can seem hollow and lifeless. Social Media Trainer Nicky Kriel says “Building ongoing relationships is crucial for every company. While there is a place for scheduling, you also need to learn to listen and to have conversations on social media.”
8. Not Engaging with Comments or Messages
|@ellabrooksblog regularly responds to comments from followers.|
Tying in to the mistake about over-automation, one of the most common mistakes marketers and influencers make when handling social is to ignore comments and messages. Audiences love engagement and conversation, and for influencers especially whose personal brands are built upon them being relatable, responding to questions and compliments builds more loyal followings. For companies, social media is a customer service channel, and customers expect a response—and what you say can make or break the relationship.
9. Ignoring Metrics
Measuring ROI on social is a challenge reported by marketers and influencers again and again over the course of many years. How do you know what to do better next time if you don’t take a peek at the analytics section? To avoid social media challenges about data, know what you want to achieve, commit to making a report every month to benchmark your performance, and connect that to your business goals.