Social media can be an extremely valuable marketing tactic, allowing you to connect and communicate directly with potential customers.  You have the freedom to get creative with your content, be specific with your advertising, and reach an entirely new group of people.

But there are a few mistakes that we see businesses making on social media all the time that hinder their success and, ultimately, waste their time and marketing dollars.

Check out these 9 common social media mistakes to avoid:

Posting entire blog posts on Facebook.

This is one that I see far too often!  Facebook is a great place to share your blog posts, but you should be linking to them, not publishing the entire post.  I’ve seen plenty of 1000-word posts that should never have been posted.  Instead, create a great featured image, come up with 2-3 sentences that describe your post, and link out to it on your website.

Why?  If someone is interested in your post, they’ll go to your blog to read it and your website has calls to action, more blog posts, and information about your company.  This is a great way to keep them engaged and even drive sales!

Not creating captivating images.

Your social media images, especially if they’re on sites like Instagram and Pinterest, need to be eye-catching and engaging.  Make sure they’re high-quality and not blurry at all.  If you’re using them as an advertisement, include a call-to-action that uses action words like “buy now” or “get in touch”.

Find graphics that are simple and that fit with the color and style of your brand.  If you’re looking for great, free stock images, try:

Want to add compelling text or modify your photos?  Try for quick, easy edits, text modifications, collage creation, and more.  They even have templates to help stimulate great ideas!

screenshot of a facebook post with a URL

Forgetting to remove the URL from Facebook posts.

When you add a URL to a Facebook post, it auto-generates the meta description, title, and photo from the website that you’re linking to.  Then, you can easily erase the link itself, and still leave the great preview!  This keeps your post clean and to-the-point.

Using too many hashtags.

Hashtags are great and they serve an important purpose but too many of them can look spammy and detract from the message of your post.  And with valuable character counts on platforms like Twitter, they take up room that could better be used elsewhere.

Hashtags can also hurt your advertising efforts.  For example, Pinterest only allows promoted pins that have three or less hashtags, most likely for quality control.

Being too promotional.

Yes, social media is a great place to promote new products and services.  But it’s critical that you balance promotional posts with informational posts!

Think about the people you follow on social media.  Why do you follow them?  Most likely because they post photos, tips, stories, or blog posts that you relate to and are interested in.

Your top goal with social media should be to provide relevant, applicable content to your followers.  Yes, promote your products once in a while, but mix in blog posts (yours and others’), featured clients, fun pictures, quick tips, quotes, and other types of posts that will really provide value to your followers.

So what’s the balance?  A good rule of thumb is 20% promotional content and 80% content that’s unrelated to your product or service.

Spreading out your social media efforts too much.

It may seem like the easiest choice for your business is to have a social media presence on all of the social media platforms out there (or the major ones, at least). Don’t do this! Using all of the social media platforms spreads out your effort, and also decreases your effectiveness. You’ll see much better results focusing on 2-3 platforms. But which ones?

Check out the guest post that I wrote for for a breakdown of how to choose the right platforms >>

logging into a social media account

Posting too often.

Posting too often on social media can also come across as spammy or simply annoy your followers.  Remember, you want to engage your followers, not overwhelm them.  Here are a few signs that you’re posting too frequently:

  • You’re losing fans or followers.
  • Your engagement decreases.
  • You’re no longer posting quality, helpful content.

Your posting frequency and the timing of your posts is something that you can figure out over time, with your marketing team.   The exact science of this depends on a variety of factors – your audience, your industry, your content, the platform you’re using, etc.

Handling negative comments badly.

If you’re an online business, you’re going to get negative reviews or comments, whether they’re deserved or not.  It’s just the way things work.  And, trust me, the WORST possible thing you can do is respond negatively!  All that does is exacerbate the situation and make you look bad in the eyes of your followers and potential customers.

So what should you do instead?  Be quick to respond (after all, many people leave negative comments in order to be heard), acknowledge their point of view, apologize if it’s your fault, and take things to a private conversation.  This article from Salesforce has some excellent tips!

Targeting the wrong audience.

If you run Facebook ads (or any social media advertisements, for that matter), it’s so important that you choose to target the correct audience.   Otherwise, you might find yourself wasting valuable time and advertising budget!

Spend some time putting together buyer personas for your current customers and ideal customers.  Determine their gender, age, location, budget, occupation, etc. as applies to your business.  Then, learn where your audience spends their time; what social media platforms do they use?

Then, run ads on those social media platforms and choose an audience that fits the demographics that you determined are true of your target audience.

If you have a decent-sized email list, one of our favorite methods to create effective ads is to build a lookalike audience.  This allows you to run ads to people who share similar characteristics to those on your email list.  Do the following:

  1. Go to your audiences page here:
  2. Click Create a Lookalike Audience
  3. Click Create a new source –> Custom Audience –> Customer File
  4. Upload a CSV file from your email marketing tool or even import a list directly from MailChimp!

You can also create a lookalike audience from your followers, files from your CRM, or a Facebook pixel installed on your website.


What are some things that you’ve learned from your social media experience?  We’d love to hear!