10 things not to do on social media

We all know the best practices for managing a brand on social media. But are we sure we also know what shouldn’t be done when it comes to communication and branding on social platforms? In this article, we list 10 practices to avoid to successfully promote a brand on social networks.

There is always a tendency to talk about best practices on how to use social media to promote your business – important lessons to always keep in mind. However, it is equally important to keep in mind what not to do in order to be successful on social media and avoid causing damage to the brand reputation. In fact, social media platforms can be a double-edged sword: if, on the one hand, they help us to expand the visibility of our brand, on the other, if not used with common sense, they can cause more damage than one might think.

So, here are 10 behaviours to avoid to ensure our brand and our followers have a smooth and pleasant experience on social media.

1. Not being up-to-date

Social media, as well as the entire digital world, are in constant turmoil. New features, new formats, new platforms – sometimes it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all these novelties.

However, staying up-to-date with the latest from the social media world is essential to be able to easily adapt our communication strategy, follow trends and anticipate them.

Many marketing sites are usually updated daily with the latest news. We also do our best to bring fresh news to those who follow us: every Monday, on our Instagram, LinkedIn and Facebook channels, we publish a compendium of the most important updates released by the platforms. In addition, once a month, we send out a newsletter summarizing the latest news from the digital world. If you like to receive it, you can sign up here.

2. Wanting to take part in every trend at all costs

Staying up to date does not necessarily translate into participating in every trend launched on social networks. In fact, what becomes popular online does not always match the tone of voice, style and reputation of our brand.

So, let’s not get caught by FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). The risk is to sound insensitive, out of place and off topic.

3. Confusing the company account with a personal one

To this day, despite the fact that social media management has acquired a key role in the digital landscape, there is still a tendency to think of it as a light-hearted activity, which requires little time and not too much planning.

Truth is, it is quite the opposite: although updating social networks can certainly be more fun than many other more monotonous activities and although social networks lend themselves to a more direct approach, one must never forget the professionalism and planning required by the communication of a brand.

You can choose a funny and ironic tone of voice but this should not distract from the fact that we are still speaking on behalf of a brand. Everything that is said must be in line with the values and vision of the brand and not reflect the opinion or personal style of those who manage its social networks.

In addition to having a professional approach, it is also important to carefully plan your content with an editorial calendar. Otherwise, the risk is to post too sporadically or massively and without a real strategy.

4. Not providing truly useful content

Selling is the ultimate goal of any business but our followers don’t follow us just to hear about how great our products are. Therefore, let’s avoid sounding like a salesman. Rather, let’s use social media to promote our products while also providing ideas and tools that can be useful to those who follow us.

Let’s think, for example, of tutorials, video training, white papers, checklists, interviews and testimonials.

5. Not interacting with the followers

Social networks have been created to connect people. Only later did the platforms expand to include company pages and businesses.

However, the same rule applies: we must not think of our company pages as mere showcases but as a meeting place for people sharing the same interest. A virtual place to build and nurture our community. For this reason, it is important to interact with those who follow us, actively encouraging participation in the conversation.

So, let’s provide feedback to comments and DMs, even in case of critics.

6. Being impersonal

This sixth point is closely related to the previous one. If we want to build a community and encourage engagement, those who follow us should feel like they’re interacting with real people and not with an impersonal brand.

So, let’s not confuse being professional with being cold and “all business”. Let’s show instead moments of our everyday working life, what it means to work for the brand and our face: this will facilitate the process of identification and loyalty to the brand.

7. Wanting to be everywhere, every time

There are many social platforms and sometimes it feels like they pop up like daisies in the sun. Only in the last years two new platforms have been launched – Clubhouse and BeReal, for instance – which add to an already well populated panorama.

Therefore, it is unthinkable to be present on every platform. Not only would it be counterproductive in terms of time and resources but also useless target-wise: there is an overlap of users between platforms. This means that having a channel on the two/three main platforms actually allows us to potentially reach the entire pool of social users.

Furthermore, it is always better to think in terms of target rather than platform: TikTok is certainly the social network of the moment but if our target is not among TikTok users, our presence may be superfluous.

8. Buying followers

Buying followers is a more common practice than one might think and the matter is complicated.

Although it is not illegal per se, it is certainly an incorrect practice and could actually prove to be counterproductive.

Often, in fact, these followers are bots which accounts get suspended by the platforms, engaged in the fight against fake accounts. So, the risk is that our “investment” would be for nothing.

More importantly, buying followers means creating a fictitious following and for what? Increase the mere number of followers? But what’s the point of increasing this number if the engagement rate remains the same?

The advent of influencer marketing, combined with a systemic decline in engagement, has generated much more awareness on how to read the so-called “vanity metrics”, that is, the number of followers, likes and comments. Since it is very easy to cross-check these metrics and notice if there are fake accounts among the comments and followers, the risk is to ruin the reputation of our brand just to satisfy our craving to see a few more zeros in the follower count.

If you want to learn more about this topic, Hootsuite has run an experiment on the effectiveness of buying followers. You can find the report at this link.

9. Forgetting the content mix rule

Sometimes there is a tendency to share only one’s own content. However, adopting a content mix strategy is always a winning choice.

This allows us, in fact, to differentiate the content offering not only by drawing on authoritative and recognized external sources, but also by exploiting user-generated content, which strengthens the sense of community and the relationship with one’s audience.

10. Forgetting to listen

On our blog we have often talked about social listening and we will never tire of repeating how important it is. It allows us to better understand our audience, market trends, the positioning of our brand and consequently implement a more effective marketing strategy.

The first thing to do to implement an effective social listening strategy is to evaluate, in addition to quantitative and statistical data (vanity metrics), also qualitative data, which are usually more difficult to understand precisely because they are not linked to metrics.

To obtain these data we must ask ourselves why, how, how much and when. We have to analyse topics, hashtags, conversations and keywords relevant to our brand. We have to observe how people interact and discuss a certain topic. We have to launch polls, interviews and collect testimonials.

What do you think of these things not to do? Would you add something else to the list? Let us know with a comment and contact us to get to know our digital marketing and social media management services.

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