The online world is tough to navigate when you’re a business trying to grow on social media. The markets are saturated and it’s hard to be seen.
However, whilst there are plenty of social strategies you should be undertaking to gain an online presence, there are also a handful of social media practices that you should avoid like the plague.
Let’s take a look at what you shouldn’t do on social media if you want to build a valuable, engaged following and an impressive brand reputation. How many social media sins are you guilty of?

1. Buy followers

Please don’t buy followers – you risk your accounts being suspended and the ‘followers’ you are buying are not going to increase your engagement or buy from you, making this process both ineffective and detrimental. As Search Engine Journal iterates, “A single person who engages with your brand is better than a hundred who ignore it.
Followers that are bought are often fake profiles or bots – not your potential customers.  It’s a no from us.

2. Post without proof-reading

Whilst you may trust yourself to write well, we all make mistakes. Bad grammar, incorrect punctuation, and weak essay structure are not going to impress anybody, even if you are more of an informal, relaxed brand. There are several free tools you can use to help you perfect your grammar and spelling across social media, such as Grammarly – so no excuses!
Another social media tip we have is drafting your captions, product descriptions, or blog information before posting on your social channels in a note app with an English spell-checker.

3. React with your emotions

Whilst freedom of speech is invaluable and being honest and having authenticity in marketing is important, using a flurry of emotions and expletives across your social media accounts is not going to help your brand’s image. Think first, react later.
Furthermore, remember that sadly all businesses will experience a negative or hurtful comment or review from time to time. Try not to be overpowered by the emotions this evokes and deal with comments calmly and professionally.

4. Ignore negative feedback

This leads us nicely to dealing with negative feedback and unfavourable reviews. You should aim to respond to any negativity quickly and efficiently, without being reactive and emotionally charged.
Meet negative reviews and comments with solutions and sympathy.
You can read more about this in our guide to successful communication with customers online.

5. Be too robotic and formal

Social media is used by real people, so make sure your content is relatable and appealing. Humanise your brand and use your brand’s personality and voice, rather than trying to be overly professional or formal.

6. Forget to use insights and analytics

You are not going to improve your social media marketing if you aren’t using data. You can use data acquired from running existing marketing campaigns and apply the knowledge and insights gained from it to your social media marketing strategies going forward.
Use your insights – which are accessible to business users on social media channels – to uncover when you should post, who your target demographics are, which posts acquire the most engagement, and which posts bring in conversions, and so on. You can use the data acquired to create more successful social advertising campaigns and supercharge your social media marketing plans.

7. Try too hard to sell products and services

Whilst we are all here to make money, if you’re too pushy when it comes to selling products, you’re going to drive followers away.
Social media is primarily used for connecting with friends and family, so you want to come across as more of a friend than a salesperson.
Instead of focusing on hard-selling, knuckle down on showing off your brand’s personality and building a relationship with your audience – you’re more likely to produce sales that way.

8. Use redundant and irrelevant hashtags

Whilst it’s tempting to use hashtags that are hugely popular with a gigantic following – take #instadaily as an example – don’t! Your content will get lost in a vast content sea, and using unrelated hashtags won’t help your posts reach your target potential customers, which will not benefit your business at all.
Instead, do your hashtag research, and brainstorm bespoke hashtag lists that are relevant to your niche, and hashtags that your target audiences are going to be searching for and following.
Whilst you should mix up your hashtags slightly on each post, every hashtag you use should be related to your industry, your niche, your business and what you are posting about. This will enable you to reach the right people.
Why not read our guide to correct hashtag usage?

9. Post generic content

What you post needs to have your unique spin on it if you want to build your brand online. You cannot churn out generic, unoriginal, and tedious content which doesn’t appeal to or relate to anybody, and expect superior results. Brainstorm unique content marketing ideas to improve your social media strategy.
Ideas can include videos, reels, Q&As, polls, behind-the-scenes previews, sneak product peeks… there is no end to what you can do! Have a look at your favourite brands online and see which content strategies they use – it may spark some new social media content ideas for you.

10. Jump on the band-wagon

You don’t need to jump on every single trend, this includes viral videos, memes, current news, popular culture, and so on. Whilst it’s great to be current and agile, if you cannot relate something to your brand or business, don’t waste your time creating content off the back of a trend just to receive a few likes.
Concentrate on adding value to your audience, instead of noise!

11. Regurgitate the same content across your social media channels

You should repurpose or alter every content piece you do for each channel. You can do this by using different images, reworking a caption, adding different hashtags and tags, or repurposing content into different mediums e.g., a video into an infographic, etc, to name a few options. Don’t post the same content across all your channels, because although this saves time, it’s not going to help with your engagement and you’re putting the same, repetitive content out in front of your audiences across channels which no one appreciates.

12. Have ‘No DM’s or messages’ in your bio

Would you have an open shop with a closed sign on the door? Nope! Requesting ‘no DMs’ tells people that you aren’t interested in, or are heralding yourself above, new business opportunities. In the world of convenience and instant messaging, this is a major turn-off for potential customers, so turn your messages ON!

13. Post too much – or too little

Before you ask, there is no right answer regarding how often you should post – it’s dependent on your audience, their activity, and your business. There are guidelines you should adhere to, but posting frequencies are not set in stone, even though some marketing agencies may say they are.
We know for sure that posting too much means you’re likely to be churning out low-value, low-quality content that doesn’t engage your audience. Put more time and effort into your social media content – it may mean you’re not posting every single day, but you will reap the rewards.
With content, you should remember the principle of ‘quality, not quantity.’ Use your social media insights tools to uncover the most popular times your audience is online, and whilst you need to maintain a presence, you should aim to post at a frequency that is manageable for you.
Of course, leaving it too long in between posts can cause you to lose momentum. Try to be present infeed every 2-3 days – perhaps posting again as soon as your last post stops generating likes and traction. Story-wise, a lot of brands find it useful to post every 24 hours as this means they always have a presence, ensuring that the activity ring around their profile picture never disappears.

14. Follow accounts just for a follow-back

Whilst it’s good to do this a little if you’re after online allyship and business collaborations, it’s ineffective for sales – especially when you follow larger accounts who may not even notice.
We hope this has helped you, our reader, but if you’d like more advice and tips, follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook.
We also recommend regularly brushing up on your social media marketing with these industry-leading and free social media courses.

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