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Social Media 101: 30 Things You Should Avoid Doing on Social Media

Social media is a great way to promote your brand, expand your reach, and increase followers who will hopefully become customers. However, it can also create trouble when not used correctly. One mistake on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Google+, and your brand is suddenly dealing with a serious reputation issue.

Since we don’t want you to experience that migraine-inducing nightmare, here are 30 things you should avoid doing on social media:

1. Only Focusing on Facebook

When you think of social media, the first social network that comes to mind is probably Facebook. With 71% of adults online using Facebook, it’s easy to believe you can join Facebook and handle all of your social media needs from there.

The problem is that Facebook may not be reaching your audience. There are a number of social media platforms better suited for different audiences. LinkedIn is for professionals, Vine is for the cool kids.

While having a Facebook account should be a no-brainier, it shouldn’t be your only social media network, either.

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Image Source: Pixabay

2. Jumping on Multiple Social Media Networks at Once

Even though you should be on other networks besides Facebook, having too many networks at once can be just as detrimental. Creating accounts on Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, and Instagram and letting them remain dormant isn’t going to help increase traffic to your website or followers on social media. Not to mention – how are you planning to manage all those accounts?

Instead, find out where your audience spends most of their time. If they have a large presence on Twitter then you may not need a Pinterest account. In fact, your industry may not require image-based social media networks, so joining Pinterest or Instagram would be pointless.

3. Making it Only About Yourself

Think about that annoying friend or coworker (we all have one) who only talks about themselves. It gets old really fast, and it makes you not want to spend time with that person.

The same thing applies to social media. If all you’re doing is selling your product or service, then that’s a huge turn-off for people. Remember, social media is first and foremost social. 

Although starting out on social media can be a challenge, keep in mind it is about starting a conversation with people. Use social media to ask a questions or request feedback from visitors. It’s these small actions that will make people follow you or your brand.

4. Not Thinking Twice Before Posting

It’s really tempting to post an update when you have a fight with a loved one or employee. It’s tempting to start rambling about politics after a couple of drinks. But, once you update your status or send out that offensive tweet, it’s there forever.

Being disciplined is difficult at times, but it’s absolutely necessary. The last thing you want to do is to offend someone. It’s only going to reflect poorly on you and your brand.

Always think twice before sharing something on social media. And if you’re angry or a bit tipsy, then make sure your phone stays in your pocket.

5. Posting in a Hurry

Whether you just had a brilliant thought or want to be the first person to break some juicy piece of news, take a breath and think for a moment. Is the message appropriate? Is it legal to share? Are the sources trusted? While this may not be as devastating in some fields as in others, you just want to post with a clear head and not getting overly excited.

For example, you were in a bathroom and heard people discuss that a major merger was going to happen. For starters, they shouldn’t be sharing that in public, but it’s also not your place to tweet that information. You’re not Lois Lane.

We’re not saying you should ponder posts for days. Just take a moment and think before sharing juicy bits of information with the world.

6. Not Spell Checking

Including abbreviations, acronyms, and slang may be fine to use on a personal account with friends, but not for a professional. Customers want to deal with someone who will actually take the extra second to spell out “you”. It’s a simple and effective way to prove that you’re a professional.

Furthermore, double-check your spellings. Between human error and auto-correct, that one misspelled word can do major damage to your reputation. Keep in mind that people love to point these sort of mistakes out, and that one little incident will live on in infamy.

7. Responding Unprofessionally

Because you are conversing with people—again, social media is not a one-way street—you will most likely encounter a person who rubs you the wrong way. Whatever you do, don’t go all Amy’s Bakery on them. That’s completely unprofessional and will only tarnish your good name.

Always be polite and respectful. Even if you’re not at fault, it’s a whole lot easier to kill them with kindness than to do damage control.

8. Being Impersonal

Show people there is actually a human being behind the account. Most of us actually want to do business with other people and not with calculating, emotionless robots.

Give visitors a better understanding of who you are by sharing your interests and values. In other woods, make people a “fan” of yours.

You can do this by being lighthearted or witty. Think Taco Bell, Oreo, DiGiorno, or even being more serious and sponsoring something like a charity run.

9. Hiding From Negative Comments/Controversy

Unfortunately, you can’t just run away whenever you’re faced with a challenge. Let’s say you had a typo or accidentally sent out a tweet that was meant for personal use. It is important to own up to it. People will actually respect you for admitting you made a mistake and have a learned a valuable lesson.

The Red Cross faced a situation like this, but actually made light of the scenario, instead of ignoring it or posting one of those tired apologies.

10. Not Listening

Part of creating a community and actually communicating with your followers is taking the time to read what people are saying about your brand. There are a wide range of free tools that can achieve this task for you. These include Hootsuite, Social Mention, TweetDeck, Topsy, Icerocket and Google Alerts.

Albert Costill
Albert Costill is a co-founder of evolvor.com and a freelance writer who has written for brands like ForRent.com and Search Engine Journal. When he’s not writing and brainstorming content ideas, this New Jersey native spends his time traveling, blasting music, and keeping his chocolate lab at bay.

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6 thoughts on “Social Media 101: 30 Things You Should Avoid Doing on Social Media

  1. Great advice but I just have to point out #6, It begins with the word “no-branier” in #1 and continues in other areas throughout your article. When I read the no brainer it immediately caught my eye, as you point out in #6. Just thought you might like to know. But again, great advice on all points!

    1. Thanks for the notice Diane! Looks like the outstanding editorial team made the corrections on my behalf – so a special thanks to them as well. Glad you enjoyed the article otherwise!

  2. Great article! As a social media manager I’m always amazed at how many people do not understand the difference between a profile page and a business page. Again, great tips. #24 stood out for me. This weekend I was watching my son and his girlfriend check their Facebook and they both noticed how one of their favorite pages hadn’t posted yet that day. They were actually looking forward to their next post. You never know who’s watching and waiting for your next piece of motivation, inspiring photo or brilliant tip. :)

    1. Thanks for the comment Carol. It is amazing how much we rely and look forward to the content posted on social media. It’s become a part of our daily lives. Matter of fact, not just social media. For example, when Feedly went down last week I was a wreck!

  3. Great tips! We totally agree, especially with #17. Businesses should always respond to comments, whether positive or negative (in a polite and professional manner). Addressing the problem will be beneficial to both the business and the consumer. The consumer will know that they’re concerns are being heard and it will show other people that the business values its customers.

  4. You’re definitely correct. Not all sorts of things must be added to social media profiles. For the business purposes only business related things should be shared. The same thing goes to businesses who uses social media platforms. Just off the topic, every heard of http://postific.com/?