Say you’ve got a small business and you know that social media is where it’s at right now when it comes to marketing. But just having a social media presence is not enough; you have to do it right, and that means avoiding certain behaviors at all cost. What are the worst mistakes you can make on social media? Some of them are pretty straight-forward, like being rude to customers, but others may be less obvious, like posting too often. Here are 9 things you should never do on social media.
- Post too often
It sounds strange – you’d think that there is no such thing as posting “too often” as a brand on social media. After all, a social media presence increases engagement, right? Well, like all good things, posting on social media must be done in moderation. Once a day is great, twice a day is acceptable, but three-four times a day and more is just overkill and can actually work against you, instead of helping.
Here’s why: When someone sees you on their feed all day, it becomes tiring and annoying. Much like that one friend who won’t stop posting pictures from her wedding three months ago, there’s a point where it stops being cool and starts feeling more like spam. If you get on their nerves, people might mute you or even unfollow.
- Post personal content
When you’re running a brand account, you absolutely must keep things all-business. That includes the topics you’re allowed to cover, the content you share, the way you write a post, etc. Personal content has no business showing up on the company account, no matter who’s running it.
Especially when your business is small and you identify so completely with it, it can feel like your business is your whole life, and the other way around. But don’t allow that line to become blurred or cross it.
Here’s why: Posting personal content on a commercial page can make things super uncomfortable for your audience, at worst, and appear very unprofessional, at best. No matter what the post is (news of a wedding, a baby, a personal tragedy, a setback, etc.), this is not the place to share it.
- Post duplicate content
This is a mistake a lot of companies make, so you may be surprised at its inclusion on this list. Do you know that thing companies do when they share the same post across multiple platforms? Yeah, don’t do that. It seems like a totally natural thing to do, but in reality, it might be driving your followers batty.
Here’s why: First of all, a good chunk of your audience probably follows you on multiple (if not all) social media platforms and seeing the same post everywhere can get really annoying. Second, every social media platform is different and requires tailored content.
Twitter has a different vibe than Facebook, which is different from Instagram. They all reach a core audience with different expectations and your content needs to be especially created to suit the platform. Otherwise, it feels like it’s low-effort and out of place.
- Post without engaging with your audience
Another one a lot of companies are guilty of: limiting themselves to posting with minimal to no audience engagement. It’s way easier to just schedule your posts to go live whenever you need them to and just let them do their thing, but that’s just not enough.
Here’s why: When you post on social media but fail to interact with your audience and respond to comments, the account comes across as impersonal, which might put people off and drive them away. The account needs to remain professional, but that doesn’t mean it needs to be cold or robotic.
When you engage with your followers and reply to comments, people feel more connected to the account and the brand, by extension. They will feel like you care and will be more invested in the company.
- Post without planning or double-checking
The thing with social media is that it makes it very easy for people to post their thoughts instantly. Have something to say? Post it on social media. Someone was rude to you on the bus? Rant on social media. Feeling excited? Tell it to the people on social media.
However, this kind of impulsive posting is completely unacceptable coming from a company account. Every single post should not only be well thought out and planned, but it also needs to be proofread and spell-checked.
Here’s why: The internet is forever, and it never forgets. It only takes a second for someone to take a screenshot of a blunder and then you have to live with the consequences. Whether that’s an inappropriate post, an incorrect fact, or a misspelling, it’s better to catch it early than after it’s too late.
- Post if you’re the owner or CEO
This one’s tricky, so you’ll have to keep an open mind, but it’s better not to run the company’s social media account if you’re the owner of the company. Ideally, you’d have a social media manager, but in absence of that, someone else can do it – even an intern.
Here’s why: Your company is your baby, and that makes it extremely difficult to retain objectivity and clarity when it comes to criticism. On social media, people feel extremely comfortable sharing dissatisfaction and criticism, especially when there’s been a mistake of some sort.
Now, someone whose job is to handle customer feedback will have an easier time managing that kind of criticism, whereas an owner may feel personally attacked and tend to become defensive. You probably already know that’s not a good look.
- Respond rudely
Following from the previous point, responding in a rude, sassy, or otherwise “cheeky” manner to customers is completely out of order. Yes, it’s difficult to maintain composure sometimes, and some followers will absolutely test your patience, but under no circumstances is it appropriate to reply in any way that is not professional and respectful.
Here’s why: The way you conduct yourself on social media greatly impacts your brand image and what people think about your products and services. Followers should only ever see your “customer service” face, and that you rise above the criticism or rude behavior.
- Ignore a crisis
It’s bound to happen at some point or another: you have a social media crisis. Unfortunately, when this occurs, a lot of companies seem to make their blunder worse by hiding away and essentially ignoring the pitchforks. But that’s far from the most appropriate way to manage a crisis.
Here’s why: The only thing worse than creating a social media crisis is failing to address it. There will be a lot of angry people looking for answers, and not replying or failing to issue a statement casts a bad look on you, as a company.
The right move, here, is to hire a PR person who will be able to help you out with your next steps. You’ll write a statement or apology, you’ll reply respectfully to people commenting, and you’ll move past it soon.
- Make all your posts sales-y
If you think that social media is there to sell your products or services, think again – it’s a tool that can lead to that, but it’s not a sales platform. Mentioning your brand, products, and services once in a while is fine, but making every post about that is not.
Here’s why: People get really sick of being sold to and making every post salesy. It makes you sound like a shill and nothing else. In order to connect with your audience, you want your posts to be relatable and helpful; your content should bring value to the reader, whether it’s information or entertainment.
Social media can be an extremely powerful force for your business, but only if you manage your presence correctly. Running social media for a company is more of a science than it seems, and there are some very strict no-no’s that you need to keep in mind, when planning your social media strategy and running your pages. From how much you can sell to how to handle a crisis, there’s an appropriate course of action for every situation.