Top Social Media Mistakes To Avoid

By on September 11, 2014

Nowadays, it’s important that businesses make use of social media since it facilitates communication with customers and can increase the reach of their brand, marketing, and promotion. But it is all too easy to make several common mistakes on social networks – mistakes which increase your costs and thus lower the ROI of your overall strategy. Increase your effectiveness by avoiding these top social media mistakes.

1. Not Having A Strategy

While it may be tempting to immediately jump in and start updating and connecting with other social users, it only rarely leads to results. Take the time to decide what your goals are, and what your business aims to achieve with its social media presence. Goals can be to increase sales, grow the number of email subscriptions or followers, or build relationships with other authorities in your niche.

Each of these goals may open your eyes to new markets or revenue sources, as well as the ability to analyze the type of content your readers appreciate and interact with. Remember, having 500K followers or fans means nothing if you get only 20 retweets or “Likes” per update. Not to mention the fact that the algorithms these sites use will minimize who sees your posts due to lack of engagement.

Social media will only bring you true organic growth and engagement if you have successfully targeted the right demographic with great content – content based on your business, location, and goals.

2. Updating Too Often or at The Wrong Times 

Following social media etiquette is critical to your success. This is especially true when brands are new to social media. Nobody should update one social profile 5 times in 5 minutes, particularly when all the content is self-promotional and of little educational value. For example, don’t tweet or share all your product or service pages in a short time span. This is likely to get you a ton of unfollows and engagement will be minimal.

Moreover, sharing the same update on different platforms can also be considered annoying by followers who connect with you on multiple sites. This can be made even worse if all your social profiles are interlinked and set up to share every update on each platform automatically.

Luckily, companies have conducted research on the best times to share, tweet, and pin, and you can leverage this information by using Buffer to schedule your social interaction.

3. Spreading Yourself Too Thin Across Multiple Networks

Social media can be challenging, but resist the temptation to create an account on every platform. When starting on social media, I highly recommend limiting yourself to 3 or 4 profiles. I suggest you start with the ubiquitous behemoths Facebook and Twitter, first and foremost. If you offer a professional service, add LinkedIn. Finally, for every niche industry, there is a mini community present on those platforms, such as a Facebook page, unique Twitter hashtag, or LinkedIn group. There may even be an independent forum or association for the industry.

In the end, it’s not about being everywhere. It’s about being at the right places, at the right times. Once you’ve identified those, you can truly start to build relationships with other bloggers, industry experts, potential customers, etc.

4. Focusing on Self-Promotion Only

All too often, brands tend to fall into the trap of using their social accounts as online billboards, sharing only updates about their own products without interacting with customers or passing along valuable industry information. Avoid having your business be a one-way street – it prevents you from being known as a credible resource in your niche. After all, if all I did during this article was tell you how great my websites are, would you really believe me?

I generally recommend businesses follow a 60/40 rule, in which a maximum 60% of your content on social media serves as promotional updates. The rest can be used to share content from fellow bloggers, promote useful online offers or coupons, build connections, etc. Maybe your brand should react to current news, a trending hashtag or a social cause. Social media is not just about you, and your potential customers will appreciate that.

5. Getting Complacent

Most businesses understand the importance of having a business blog and social presence, but merely having a Facebook and Twitter account is not enough. Even after you’ve built a following, you must maintain consistent engagement. Social media is real-time – traffic earned from past shares will not provide the same results a year from now.

Too often, we notice that brands will create their social profiles on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest, but then only sporadically update them. The results are abysmal, and the company writes it off as a useless traffic source. Without regularly allocating time to your social presence, your efforts will be futile.

If anything, referencing social media accounts that are rarely updated can actually hurt you because you are referring your hard-earned traffic to pages that do not further brand loyalty. In cases like that, you’ve just turned away readers. Unless you plan on integrating social into your overall digital marketing strategy, don’t waste precious space on your website.

6. Ignoring Mentions, Complaints, and/or Suggestions

Today’s social media era has brought customers new ways to reach out to brands with questions, complaints, and suggestions. Unfortunately, it is common for smaller brands and companies to ignore incoming messages, especially complaints.

Refusing to acknowledge social media as a way for consumers to get in touch with you or even send complaints is one way to destroy your reputation and even lose revenue. On the other hand, responding quickly and professionally builds loyalty, often resulting in word-of-mouth marketing, the most effective form of advertising.


While not everyone who runs a business should leverage social media (e.g. a company with confidential government contracts does not need to broadcast a social message), most B2C and B2B businesses can benefit from additional coverage. And if you are going to invest time, energy and human capital into developing a social presence, it’s better to start by learning from the mistakes of others. By avoiding these common social media mistakes, you will get results faster and more efficiently.

What are your top tips on improving a social media marketing campaign? Share them with us in the comments section!

About Gary Dek

Gary Dek is the founder of as well as a dozen other niche sites. He has been a full-time blogger and SEO expert for nearly four years, and is passionate about helping other bloggers, both amateur and professional.

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