13 Common Social Media Mistakes

Social media is the most versatile marketing tool for any business, brand and organisation. As social media platforms develop and grow, this versatility is matched with growing complexity. This results in many common social media mistakes.


There are more content channels than ever before. Media is king and every organisation on social media needs to be generating their own brand assets on a regular basis. Creating content, publishing to various channels and managing all these fragmented communities is difficult.

Get it right and you could become a world leader in your sector. Get it wrong and you could damage your brand forever.

Below you will find 13 common social media mistakes. In no particular order, these are mistakes we see on a weekly basis by most organisations trying to find their path within digital marketing.

If you find this blog useful please share it with your colleagues and feel free to tweet us with common social media mistakes you see.


1. Creating Content for Yourself

One of the most common mistakes we see involves one of the most prevalent failures in social media. That of vanity.

This is a failure common in the first stage marketing. It is natural to think about what you, as a person, would like to see from your business in terms of content. This makes a good starting position but for your social media to be effective you need to think like your target market.

What do they want to see? How are they using social media? Which platforms do they use the most?

Find out more on this subject. Read our blog post: “How Well Do You Know Your Target Audience?


2. Over Emphasis on Sales

Yes, as a business you are using social media to ultimately make sales. However, this should not be your opening piece of content let alone the entirety of your social media presence.

Think of your online presence in terms of the content mix. Social media is a way of communicating which includes a hint of entertainment. Imagine the profiles you enjoy following publishing update after update all about why you should buy their product or service. It would not be long before you stop following.

For every piece of content that encourages a sale or links to a product/service publish two other pieces of content that offer nothing but value to your market. Be of use to them. Give them something for free. Then you ask for something in return. It is only polite after all.


3. Lacking Courage to use New Ideas

It is common to see businesses within the same sector copy the activities of their competitors. In fact, we have even witnessed marketing people within businesses say, “we just look at what our competitors do, and we reword their content for ourselves.”

The above strategy is a shortcut with little benefit.

Develop your own ideas by looking at what your customers really value. If you can figure this out you can start to develop and improve your marketing message. This is how you position your business to be the market leader.

It all begins with confidence. Develop and use the ideas that make you truly stand out. Don’t worry too much about following the crowd. After all, if your ideas are wrong you can quickly change direction on social media. It is one of the advantages of the digital realm.


4. Only Using Platforms You Like

This is so common it is almost unbelievable how many times we see this.

You use Facebook and you know Facebook. So, regardless of where your market may reside online Facebook becomes the main platform for your business activities.

We commonly see social media managers refuse to use Twitter for their business because they do not understand the platform. Instead of learning how to use it or understanding the main functions and features they just resign it to the scrap heap. This can be a huge mistake.

If you are managing social media for a business, it is your responsibility to investigate all platforms to see if they would benefit your brand. Don’t gravitate to the one that is the easiest to use.


5. Like Bating

Competitions that are not genuine. Asking for connections to professional people that you are not serious about and publishing irrelevant content to generate likes. This is like bating and it is far more common than you realise.

When a brand is publishing content, it should be authentic and represent the brand truthfully. The purpose of your organisation’s social media should be to communicate with and add value to your target market. The results of this will be to develop a community.

Publishing content with the sole aim of generating many likes or interactions can, and most often does, distract from this objective.


6. Interacting with Yourself

You see this when a company or person has many profiles. If done correctly it can be an advanced method of promoting connected brands. Done poorly it is another way of generating a cluster of interactions with little value.

Once again it comes down to authenticity. It’s the difference between you praising yourself compared to being praised by your peers. The latter is far more powerful and in the long run, far more valuable.


7. Copywrite breach

Using images that do not belong to you. Yes, the likelihood of being caught is small but as a professional organisation, it is a risk not worth taking.

This does not mention the adverse effect it may have on your reputation. After all, the copywrite holder will not think highly of you if you use their content without asking.

The easy fix is to ask the person that has made the graphic, shot the photo or produced the video if you can share the content on your profile. Often this is agreed with a caveat that you promote them as the content creator.


8. Always Sharing Never Publishing

Mainly a mistake on Twitter. You know the accounts we are talking about. They RT all day but never publish their own content.

This is a great way of building friendship by promoting others, but you will be missing out on significant promotion for yourself.

Once again it comes down to content mix. By all means, RT other updates but make sure you are publishing regular content of your own so those you RT can reciprocate.


9. No Structure or Plan

There are many sayings about plans. Our favourite is “failure to plan is a plan to fail”.

Planning your social media can be as simple or detailed as you like. For a quick guide, we recommend you have the following in place to help structure and plan your social media activities.

  1. Set your objectives. What do you want to achieve from your social media?
  2. Set your monthly, weekly and daily goals. Targets are a fantastic way to drive productivity.
  3. Decide how much content you want to create. This is a question of quality over quantity and how much needs to be published to make sure you are constantly present to your target market.
  4. Design a content plan. These can be excellent guides for the types of content you need to be creating on a regular basis.
  5. Set management goals. How many minutes or hours a day are you going to spend interacting with your community? If done right this can be extremely effective. If not, it can cost a huge amount of time.
  6. Do the above and then review regularly. On a weekly or monthly basis venture into the analytics section of each platform and see what content has performed the best. Use this to develop and enhance future plans.

Explore this subject further with our blog post: “6 Tips for Keeping Your Content On Brand


10. Over Complicated Strategies

Running before you walk. Social media is complex and encompasses many content channels. As a result, trying to do everything can often result in a return that does not match the effort.

Start with the basics. Learn to write compelling and engaging updates to be published every single day. When these are working look at adding amazing visuals. Once these visuals are performing well start producing videos.

Remember, social media is a marathon. You need to take part in the whole race and be prepared for the long haul. Do not set off in a sprint. Learn to walk and then run.


11. Lack of Optimised Publishing

Creating content is one of the most time-consuming parts of successful social media management. One of the biggest mistakes we see is the failure to optimise the publishing of content.

From copy to photography, graphic design and videography. Be sure to make full use of any digital assets produced. If you are spending a full day shooting a video create one feature video and several smaller ones. If you are taking a photo of a subject capture a range of photos.

Breaking the content into smaller chunks gives you more content to work with. This way you can stretch these costly pieces of content over a few days, weeks or months.


12. For the Sake of Content

As a business, brand or organisation you know that it is important to publish content regularly. However, sometimes you run out of ideas. So, you resort to profiling local weather or promoting a national day.

For example, on the 22nd February 2020, Real Bread Week began. This is good content if you are a bakery but not if you sell insurance. This also applies to weather. Your market does not care if it is raining outside or if it is sunny (unless you are a business that provides outdoor activities).

Make sure your content is relevant and carries actual value for your online community. Too much small talk about irrelevant subjects adds little to your brand over time.


13. Too Much Linking to Websites That Are Not Yours

It is great to provide genuine value to your online community but there is a big win if that value comes from your website.

Since social media began one of the biggest value points has been that of driving traffic to online locations. Build a strategy that consistently points to your online real estate and make sure this destination provides something of value.

This is far more advantageous to you than sending all your hard-won audience to third-party websites.


BONUS: The most common Social Media Mistake

As a thank you for reading this far we thought it prudent to leave you a final and common social media mistake.

The biggest and most common mistake we see from businesses, brands and organisation is the failure to use social media.

There are still many organisations that are not present on social media. Sometimes they have profiles they use so little that they become an empty entity online.

This is a huge loss and by far the biggest mistake. So, as long as you are not guilty of this, you are making good progress. Keep pushing, keep trying and never give up on your social media adventure.