11 Social Media Mistakes to Avoid

I love social mediaSocial media, love it or hate it there are ways to make it work more effectively for you. But there are simple mistakes (that everyone can easily avoid) to make it work better for everyone.

Many people use Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest and check them daily, they go to interact and catch up with their friends, and whilst it’s an opportunity to reach your target market place, it’s not where your prospect goes to be sold to. Trust me when I say no one logs into Facebook saying “hmm I wonder what I can buy today, I wonder what sales pitches are going to be sent my way”.

But there are some deadly mistakes that can really cost you and even kill your social media campaign if you’re not careful.

Here are the top 10 worst Social Media mistakes you could make and how to avoid them in 2013

10. You Are All Over the Place – The Status Butterfly

Stick to things that are of interest to your brand. It’s okay to go off on a tangent and post off topic once in a while to show your human side, but for the most part stick to things your fans care about. That’s why they became fans in the first place, to learn and interact with the subject of your page. If you find that you get off topic too much, then set up a new page for the topic you keep slipping back to. Get a new Twitter account, set up some new boards, but stay on your subject.

9. Inappropriate Comments

Remember Kitchen Aid and Obama’s dead grandma? Social media platforms are used by human beings, mistakes happen. Whenever you’re logged in, you need to be extremely self-aware. Every tweet, every status update you write or make reflects upon your brand and your business. Show your human side but don’t get too personal.

You want to look like a brand owner and this requires a little bit of professionalism. It’s hard to get the balance, but you should strive for it at every opportunity and be vigilant for the moments when something slips through the net.

8. Wallflower

Don’t wait for people to visit your pages and profiles. Get out there and socialize the best you can. Make friends, spend time on other profiles, and get to know people. You’ll be surprised at what a difference this makes. Join like ladders on Facebook, interact in other communities and don’t be afraid to leave the communities that sap time but give nothing of value in return.

7. Me Me Me…

If your page does nothing but talk about you, your products and your services, and promote your own blog posts then people won’t be interested.  I’m involved in such a page and it makes me cringe. And if it makes me cringe, it will make the fans inwardly shiver as if a spammer has walked over their grave…. You need to find other pieces of content on the same theme that your fans would like and share this with them.

6. Fighting Words

No matter what anyone says about you or your brand, never be negative or nasty to them, bite your tongue. Don’t make your Brand look like a pillock. Always be considerate, polite and friendly. Keep things positive even when you’d love to give someone a piece of your mind. If you have to rant, write an email rant and send it to yourself. However, if the negative things appear around one theme it is worth investigating and not dismissing things out of hand.

Remember, if you can’t respond neutrally on your page it’s okay to get another member of your team to respond in your place. Diplomacy skills help. But remember you don’t have to use social media 24/7, that someone can give you a break.

5. Social Media Tumbleweed

Maintaining several social media sites can be a never-ending job. You should devote a little time to it every day. The brands that are most active on social media do the best with them. Carve out a little social time and add it in your schedule. You can do social media on your own terms, you can do as much or as little as you like, but if you are not there at all then you are not going to feel the benefits. Don’t let your pages fill with tumbleweed. If you cannot maintain them you have two options – outsource the work or close them down.

4. Nothing to Do

What makes a social media site popular is its interactivity. Think Facebook fan page here – an active engaging page will always catch your eye because it will be in your friends streams, you’ll see their comments and you’ll get curious. If yours just presents information about your brand and doesn’t give them anything to do there, people won’t stick around.

  • Use the apps and widgets available to make your site interactive,
  • Ask questions
  • Invite conversation
  • And listen carefully.
  • Invite fans to share photos and video

3. One-Way Exchange

Don’t be the Brand or business that lets people post to their wall and promptly ignores it. Better still don’t be that business that deletes comments that they don’t like. When people comment or ask questions on your page, you’ve got to respond, you might not like what they are saying but a response is needed.

You need to reply to your fan and make them feel welcome, that their thoughts are valuable to your business. When you respond it shows that you’re an approachable, responsive brand that cares what people think.

2. Buying Your Friends

As I told my young daughter once, when she she had “Boyfriend” on her Christmas list… there are some things you should never buy, boyfriends and fans are at the top of that list. Over at Fiverr.com and other freelance sites, you’ll find people selling friends for social media sites, I’m sure these people would sell their own grandmothers if they had the opportunity!

It may be tempting to bolster your profile with paid for fans, but this is a deadly social media mistake. In most cases, the ‘friends’ aren’t even real people. It’ll be obvious to the real people who show up on your site. It doesn’t take a lot of work to start growing your following and getting some social media support in to help you when you start out is perfectly acceptable, but buying fans is like your mum buying your boyfriends…

1. Shameless Self-Promotion

By far, the worst thing you can do is use your social media site as a permanent sales pitch. People on social media sites don’t want to be marketed to. They want to socialise, network and share common interests. No on logs in to Twitter thinking “ooh, I wonder what fab offers I’ll be pitched today?”, they may search for offers but having them thrust under their nose is going to put people off. Try and limit yourself to two tweets a day that are promoting a product.

But the absolute biggest mistake you can make with social media sites is ignoring them altogether.

Does this count as 11?

Experts predict that social media sites will become the search engines of the future. To some extent they already are. Sign up to each new social media site that comes along because it might be the next great branding opportunity but remember to drop the site if your target market isn’t there. All the visibility in the world will not help if your target audience are elsewhere.

Over to you – what social media mistakes should businesses avoid in 2013?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Will you do me a favour, and give me a share?
Buffer this pageShare on Facebook33Share on Google+6Email this to someoneShare on LinkedIn27Share on TumblrTweet about this on Twitter218Share on StumbleUpon133Pin on Pinterest2

Sarah Arrow

Blogging an issue for you? Social media not quite working how it should be?That's okay I understand. I started blogging back in 2006 and grew into a kick-ass blog coach as well as creator of Birds on the Blog (listed 3 times by Forbes as a top 100 website for women), I'm frequently listed as both a top content marketing expert and as an influential marketer.
You want your blog to make a difference, so subscribe hereand stay in touch, my updates will help you achieve content marketing success.


  1. Hello Sarah,
    I agree with all your points, especially appropriate comments and shameless promotion which leads to spamming…!!!
    There are many programs available in the market by which we can share the link in the hundreds of groups so these programs are very bad it leads to spamming. So if we are able to write Good Content so no need of promotion because we know that in blogosphere Content is King.
    Happy weekend Sarah :)
    Thanks for the sharing

    • Hi Praveen, thanks for your tweets and your comment :)
      Good content is like cream, it will rise to the top. So spamming isn’t needed or required!
      Thanks for stopping by :)

  2. Hi Sarah,

    Thanks for the useful tips on what not to do with social media, the one that really puts me off staying on someone’s page is when they start ‘vomiting’ about their business opp or their product.
    And like you say, who goes to a facebook page looking for a bargain?

    best regards

    • Hey John, welcome :)
      I see numerous status updates a day about business opportunities that are not real business. Drives me nuts. I prefer the Cute kitty pics over “business” opportunities any day of the week

  3. Hi Sarah
    First off – well done on using a reversed ordered list, nice one.
    Second – good to see that I have made it to your list of commenters.
    And finaly – useful info particularly like…
    “No matter what anyone says about you or your brand, never be negative or nasty to them, bite your tongue.”
    Nothing to be gained getting involved in a comments feud.

    And finaly finaly – good to have you back

    • Afternoon Keith,
      It doesn’t take much to be on that list :) and they are do-follow links as well.
      I was getting a bit fed up with the usual list posts, thought I’d do something a little different :)

      • Thanks Sarah
        Appreciate the link love.

  4. Nice twist on a subject that so many people have turned into a snorefest! Status butterfly and tumbleweeds should be the new social media buzzwords for 2013. I admit I’m one of those people who jumps on “the new thing” pretty quickly then gets bored or overwhelmed. There’s a bit of tumbleweed in my life so thanks for the reminder :)

    • Thanks Carol, I shall look forward to status butterfly and tumblewords entering the social media dictionary :D. I’m a lover of new, shiny platforms too and when that happens I have to look at what time it will take to build friendships and then compare it to the places I already am…

  5. Keeping yourself involved in social media, but not limiting your time for other things; that’s the toughest one I find. Social media causes us to spread ourselves a bit too thinly in my opinion. Great post. Thanks for sharing.

    • Thanks Sandy, yes we can spread ourselves too thin, that’s the downside to social media :(
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  6. I’m glad you mentioned buying your friends Sarah. Around the holidays I came across a forum post with a marketer wannbe that was showing people how he managed over 20 thousand video views on his YouTube channel by paying for them on Fiverr. I clicked over to his channel and got the standard ’404′ we see when they’ve deleted someone’s account, “We’re sorry, the page you requested cannot be found”.

    Not only is buying followers, likes, links, views, etc. very deceitful, it can get you into big trouble. I’ve heard of bloggers getting penalized by Gooogle for buying comment links over their too.

    • Oh boy! 20k of views on fiverr, who would take him seriously? What kind of result is that for the client?
      I’ve not heard of bloggers buying comment links, so I’ll at that to my next list of things to avoid :) thanks for the heads up.

  7. I love your site Sarah!
    Your tips are always powerful simple and to the point.
    I realize I need to invest time in connecting and engaging with all the stream of friends I have and I still need to find a smart way to have people join my list without pushing.
    Because I do not like pushing or selling I tend to forget to promote the good stuff I offer.
    Your tips are wonderful and I am book marking your post!


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>