Common social media mistakes and how to avoid them

By Pelican Consultant David Anthony

3 minute read

Key takeaways:

Having personal social media accounts is very different to running a social media marketing campaign for your business. You need a clear strategy, but researching the most appropriate platforms are crucial steps that are often overlooked. 

Social media should be an integral part of every marketing strategy, but because most people have their own Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts it’s easy to think we’re all experts. 

This leads to a number of common social media mistakes you might not even know you’re making.  

Here are five of the worst offenders, along with tips on how to avoid them in future. 

Not having a strategy 

Too many organisations set up social media accounts without a clear set of goals. A comprehensive strategy is needed from the outset, detailing what you want to get out of your social media marketing so you can understand how well it is performing. 

People invest a huge amount of time writing and posting content across their platforms but often don’t dedicate enough hours to finding out if it’s actually paying off.  

The solution: Identify outcomes you want to accomplish with your social media activity, ensuring these are aligned with overall business goals. 

Your goals should be SMART; specific, measurable, attainable, and realistic and time-specific. 

Use built-in tools such as Facebook Insights and Twitter Analytics, third-party tools and measurement of social traffic and conversion with Google Analytics to track and measure your progress. 

Using the wrong platform 

Spending hours every week posting and monitoring social media accounts that aren’t relevant to your customer base is a common mistake and a drain of resources. You may be tempted to set up an account on every platform, but if your audience isn’t using it, you’re wasting your time. 

The solution: Before becoming active on a social media channel, do the research. Who is your target market? What are your competitors doing? Most importantly, use surveys, polls and publicly available reports to identify which social networks your customers actually use. 

Posting irrelevant content 

If you can’t say anything relevant, don’t say anything at all. If what you’re posting is uninteresting or simply irrelevant, it will be ignored.  

The solution: Before you post anything, give it the re-share test. Would I want to click on this information? Would I share it with others? Also remember that the same piece of content on different platforms won’t be seen by the same audience and therefore won’t be universally successful. Create tailored content for each platform to meet user expectations. 

Misjudged content and comments 

In a Sprout Social survey of more than 1,000 Facebook, Twitter and Instagram users, respondents said the most irritating thing brands do on social media is over-promote. 

As a business you obviously want to use social media to sell your product or service, but only posting content that focuses on your own offering can drive followers away. 

It’s also a turn-off for followers when their comments and complaints are ignored. The temptation might be to delete negative comments or even argue back. But disregarding comments, especially legitimate complaintsis another common error. 

The solution: When it comes to content, follow the rule of thirds. Make one third nonpromotional content that relates to your product or services, one third promotional content that includes a strong call to action, and the remaining third engagement. This includes sharing posts with added comment, commenting on other posts and of course, responding to comments. 

Take negative comments seriously and resolve the issue as quickly as possible. They are an opportunity to improve the quality of your service and your response could turn the complainant into a loyal customer. 

Buying followers 

Most people now realise the outright purchase of followers is likely to bring in negligible business results and increase the chances of getting your page deletedBut many still attract followers with competitions or freebiesWhile this isn’t quite the same as ‘buying’ followers, it still has the effect of attracting people who are not genuinely interested in your product or service. 

The solution: Use social platforms to offer valuable, useful content that is of genuine interest or help to your audience and watch your follower count grow organically. 

If you need help with any aspect of your social media marketing, get in touch today to speak to one of Pelican’s experts. 

Pelican Communications is a specialist in the environment & CSR, food, packaging & logistics and trade association sectors and offers a range of services such as strategy, design, content creation, public relations and people development. Contact us for marketing and communications expertise. 



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