10 Rookie Social Media Mistakes You Should Avoid

According to a recent report from content marketing hub Shareaholic, social media is now driving the largest share of overall traffic to websites. While the dominance of search may be still be considerable, the report reveals that media consumption habits have changed dramatically over recent years in favour of social media.

We walk you through 10 beginner mistakes you should avoid when managing the social media accounts of your company.


  1.  Making It All About You

Selfish Social UpdatesOne of the biggest mistakes many brands make on social media is that they’re selfish with the content they share. While it may be a great idea to get the word out about your latest company offer, you need to nurture the relationships you have with your social audience by showing an interest in them.

Before you publish a social update, ask yourself whether or not your latest update adds value to the social feed of your customer. While an occasional funny photo or two can be entertaining, you need to keep in mind that your social reach will only grow if you can keep people engaged in your brand. Spamming your social following with sales messaging will rarely have a positive effect on engagement.

*Pro Tip* Engage with others by finding conversations within your industry that are relevant to your product or service. Try to focus on adding value by giving useful advice, rather than over promoting your own company. People will always remember someone that helped them so try to be selfless rather than selfish with your social activity.

  1. Trying To Be Everywhere At Once

Social Media ChannelsAre you a one man marketing team? Are you trying to keep an active presence on every major social media network under the sun? You’re not alone.

It’s often the case that companies will set up accounts across several social networks in order to protect their brand name from being used by someone else. While this may be a great tactic for brand protection, companies will sometimes try and fail to maintain an active presence across all of the social profiles they have set up. The problem with this approach is that these accounts will rarely prosper as they’re not getting the love and attention that they deserve. Be mindful of the social networks where the target audience for your business exist and focus on increasing your reach on it before you consider branching out to another social network.

*Pro Tip* Want to find out what social network your target audience lives on? You can use a content analysis tool such as Buzzsumo to find out which social networks people are commonly sharing content that is relevant to your company. As an example, if you owned a local bakery and wanted to find out what social network to get started on, a quick search on Buzzsumo for terms related to bakeries will show that people will generally share this type of content on Facebook.

  1. Broadcasting The Same Message Everywhere

Social Media BroadcastingHave you crafted the perfect 140 character update to share on Twitter? Are you thinking about sharing the exact same update on Facebook? Stop!

One of the biggest sins that companies are guilty of is that they share the same update across more than one social media account. While it may save a few precious minutes of effort every day, it’s unwise to think that your audience will appreciate being shown the same message in multiple places. This problem is exasperated when companies use a tool like IFTTT or Hootsuite to automate the sharing of the same social update across more than one account.

*Pro Tip* If you’re a little bit stuck for time, you can use Buffer to schedule your updates for the major social networks. You’re not limited to sharing the same post to each of your accounts so be sure to take the time to craft the perfect message for each one!

On Twitter, you should try to keep your message short and snappy. On Google+ and Facebook you can make your status update longer and include photos to capture higher levels of engagement.

  1. Tracking The Wrong Metrics

Social Media MetricsAre you tracking the metrics that mean the most to your business? While it may be nice to pat yourself on the back for having hit a new milestone in follower growth, the reality is that the number of followers for the company’s Twitter account will not mean very much to your CEO. You need to be able to attribute your time to something that moves the goalposts for your company if you want your work to be recognized.

*Pro Tip* The first step with social media marketing is to ask yourself, what are you hoping to get from it? Every company has different objectives with their social activity so if you’re unsure why you’re doing it, it will be very difficult to identify the performance metrics that you should be tracking.

For some companies they may be using their social accounts to improve brand awareness so tracking reach and impressions may be quite important to them. Other companies may use social media as a means of generating leads for the business so you should ensure that links are correctly tracked so you can measure the success of your campaigns in Google Analytics.

  1. Bad Timing With Your Social Updates

Social Media ScheduleAs they say in show business, “Timing is everything!”; and the same holds true for social media as great communication involves both sending and receiving messages at the correct time for your audience.

Do you only publish updates to your social accounts whenever you’ve a free moment? You may be missing the optimum time to capture the attention of your audience whenever they’re most engaged. The harsh reality is that most social updates have a very short lifespan, and it can be hard to reach more than a small percentage of your social following if you’re not being calculative about your social sharing.

*Pro Tip* You can use Followerwonk from Moz to find out the best times to post updates to your Twitter account and if you have a Buffer account, you can quickly export a social schedule across to it to help you share content at the times when your audience is most active.

  1. Misusing Hashtags

Hashtag UsageDid you know that tweets with hashtags will typically generate twice as much engagement than tweets without them? While you may now be excited to add hashtags to every update you publish, you should take a step back to think about whether or not your hashtag usage will add value to the content you’re sharing.

You can use a social media analytics tool like Topsy to identify how many people have posted a tweet with a particular hashtag over a specified date range. This will help to inform your choice of hashtags due to there being little point targeting words that are not generally used by your target audience.

*Pro Tip* Use a real-time Twitter analytics tool like Trendsmap to find out what hashtags are currently being used in your local area. The lifespan of a hashtag can sometimes be relatively short so take a look at what conversations are happening right now and become part of the conversation.

  1. Poor Spelling & Grammar

DictionaryHave you taken the time to carefully check the spelling and grammar of your latest social update before publishing it? Even the biggest brands are sometimes a little bit complacent with their spelling and grammar which can quickly tarnish your opinion of them. Every time you share an article, post a tweet or update your Facebook status, you have created something that will be shared with your audience and potential consumers. If you haven’t taken the time to check for spelling errors or grammatical mistakes then it will be quite hard to convince your customers to take you seriously.

*Pro Tip* Install the free spelling and grammar checker plugin by Grammarly to help you be more confident with the content you share through your social media accounts. It will check your content to see whether or not you have used words within the right context, highlight any grammar mistakes, suggest words to optimize the context of your update and flag any commonly confused words.

  1. Buying Love, Not Earning It

Earning LoveWhile money can’t buy you love, many digital marketers are still trying to rent it. Astute social media marketers have long known that Followers and Likes are simple vanity metrics; but a large proportion of companies are struggling to look past the size of their social following as a measurement of success. The major social media networks are playing catchup with websites like Fiverr.com that allow you to purchase fake Twitter followers and Facebook likes.

You need to focus your attention on improving the engagement you have with your social following by sharing useful, actionable and relevant content that adds value to the social feeds of your audience. Organically over time you will begin to grow your social audience with the types of people who will have an interest in your brand.

*Pro Tip* Want to find out how many fake followers you have? You can use the Fake Follower Check to analyse your Twitter account and those of your competitors to identify the volume of fake followers.

  1. Lazy Content

Content MarketingAre you exercising your creative muscles every time you post a weekly ‘Happy Friday’ update? Social updates like this have very little substance and will generally not feed back into a strong social media strategy. As a digital marketer you should be trying to share something that is unique to your company, adds value to your brand messaging, is memorable to your audience and ultimately captures their attention. While it may be tempting to copy your competitors, you need to invest time and resources into strong social media content if you want to grow your social following.

*Pro Tip* Have you tried BuiltVisible’s Content Strategy Helper Tool? It’s an incredibly powerful tool that will allow you to identify the types of content that are trending across social media, Google News and a number of other platforms. With this information you can begin to formulate ideas for content that will peek the attention of your audience when you share it through your social accounts.

  1. Thanks For The Follow

Thanks for the followDo you typically send pre-formulated direct messages and tweets on Twitter to thank every new follower? Stop it, stop it now! Nothing screams desperation more than template tweets and direct messages to each new person that follows your social media accounts. While some companies see this as a nice gesture to get to know their audience, it can often have the opposite effect by scaring them away.

*Pro Tip* Use BuzzSumo to identify the most influential people that are regularly sharing your content. Build relationships with them by reaching out with a personalized thank you email and follow-up with an offer exclusive to them or a small gift. The personalized approach will help your company be known as a warm and friendly brand that cares about its audience.