Fact: Smart businesses know that social media marketing, done correctly, leads to massive growth. On the other hand, it’s genuinely surprising how many brands repeatedly make common social media mistakes, costing them both followers and sales.
It can be stressful trying to keep up with the ever-changing world of social media.
If you feel like your efforts are going unnoticed, today’s your lucky day!
That’s because I’m going to show you how to avoid these social media pitfalls so you can breathe a sigh of relief as you improve your marketing efforts online.
By gaining more exposure, more leads, and more sales. Oh! And let’s not forget, more satisfied customers or clients.
These are the precise social media strategies I used to double my blog traffic and increase my engagement in under a year.
The right approach creates awareness, builds trust, and draws loyalty between your brand and paying customers.
While some brands have a foolproof strategy in place, others aren’t quite cutting the mustard.
That’s because social media marketing requires a particular set of skills. No, not the Liam Neeson kind, but a specific skill set that requires messages that inspire, resonate, and pack a punch.
The trick is to nail your branding and social media marketing to get the one thing you want from your customers.
And that’s to choose you – and only you.
Every. Single. Time.
Want to know how to do social media marketing the right way?
17 Social Media Mistakes to Avoid
- #1 The Spaghetti Method
- #2 Inconsistency
- #3 Missing the Mark on Your Market
- #4 Not Being Platform-Specific
- #5 Throwing all Your Eggs in One Social Media Basket
- #6 Your Social Media Profiles are Self-Absorbed
- #7 Underpromoting and Selling Yourself Short
- #8 Failing to Engage or Relying Heavily on Automation Tools
- #9 Ignoring the Importance of Influencers
- #10 Lack of Planning & Organization
- #11 Missing the Big Picture
- #12 Ignoring Data & Analytics
- #13 Selling a Product vs. a Lifestyle
- #14 Lack of Social Media Integration
- #15 Not Investing in Paid Promotion
- #16 They’re Bored to Death by Your Copy
- #17 Failure to Provide a CTA or Next Steps
- Final Thoughts on Social Media Mistakes
The 17 Biggest Social Media Marketing Failures (And how to fix them)
Ready to avoid costly social media mistakes and take your business to the next level? Let’s get going, there’s no time to waste!
#1 The Spaghetti Method
Pretty much everyone running a business these days knows that social media builds brands up.
Happy to jump on the bandwagon, they hit social media platforms with the spaghetti approach.
No, it’s not mealtime, I’m talking about one of the biggest social media blunders you can make.
Basically, it means throwing anything against the wall and seeing what sticks.
Without a strategy.
Without a plan.
The end result?
Let me tell you, it’s not great. The importance of social media marketing should never be overlooked.
With no strategy in place, that spaghetti is going to quickly slide down the wall and onto the floor in a big, greasy mess.
Whether you’re a social media manager, digital nomad, or small business owner intent on improving your digital marketing, you need to be considering the fundamentals like:
- Your target audience: Who they are and what their wants and needs are. Google Analytics is your best friend here.
- The right platforms: Where your target audience hangs out online.
- Content: How your content will provide value for your target audience. Have trouble getting inspired? Try Exploding Topics for some ideas.
- Analysis: Measuring whether the content you offer is reaching your audience and how it’s converting them from followers to paying customers. Again, Google Analytics will tell you everything you need to know.
Once you have that figured out, your social media marketing strategy will need to cover elements such as:
- Buyer personas
- Content channels
- Influencer marketing
- Listening to your audience
- Content promotion strategies
- Data & Analytics (tracking your progress)
I could go on…
You also need to remember that creating a great social media strategy is just as much work as your other business strategies. And just as important.
But not having one is quite the recipe for an entrepreneurial disaster.
This is one of the most common social media mistakes brands make, and it’s also one of the most deadly.
Your clue is in the title. It happens time and time again and goes something like this:
You’re intent on bettering your social game. It’s what the big brands are doing. Nike, the Kardashians, and Red Bull, just to name a few.
So, you start to post for a few days. You’re on top of things; your feed looks fresh as a daisy.
But then day sixteen rolls around, and you’re hit with another project, side hustle, or babysitting your godson. So your activity on social media dies down.
And then you come back to it in a few days. And stop again.
This cycle continues until you find yourself in this chaotic social media hamster wheel, trying for the life of you to keep up.
After a few months of doing this, you check your engagement, and it’s not great. It’s uninspiring. It’s actually abysmal.
That’s because social media engagement relies on the long game.
Brands who put in the hard yards for months, even years consistently will reap the benefits of social media marketing.
The algorithms these social platforms are based on always promote, and show more love, to accounts that regularly post fresh content and interact with others.
Are you already sweating at the prospect of committing for that long?
News flash: there are a million apps for that. For instance, grab a calendar (such as the Full Focus Planner) and plan a few months in advance. Or read up about how you can increase your productivity—there, sorted.
#3 Missing the Mark on Your Market
Not understanding your audience is one of the worse social media marketing mistakes you can make. If not THE worst. Ever.
This is when businesses are too focused on the masses and NOT trying to understand their target market and specific customers.
The first step to getting your customers’ attention is understanding your target audience.
Because if you don’t know whose head you’re trying to turn, you probably aren’t turning any at all.
In other words: You need to succeed at being specific before you can get away with marketing to a more general audience.
What you need to do is market research. Think content audits, competitor analysis, and buyer interviews.
You must do your homework and dig deep to truly understand your industry, customers, and competition.
From there, you will have your unique value proposition, aka, what it is that sets your brand apart.
That will provide all the insight you need to draw in the right people.
#4 Not Being Platform-Specific
While it can be a major time-saver to share the same posts all over your socials, every platform has its own personality – and your posts must reflect that to be effective.
This can be tricky to master, especially in terms of time management for small businesses with limited employees.
But, trust me, it has to be done.
The simple truth is you need to personalize your content depending on the platform you’re posting on.
Here’s the deal:
Linked-In is professional. It’s best to keep things simple, but you can always add a sprinkle of your personality to spice things up.
Facebook is fun and begging for personality, so your Facebook social media marketing should reflect that.
Twitter is all about being a great place to have a chat or even a debate.
Instagram needs to have a great visual strategy to move in the right direction.
But more on this in a moment.
Don’t forget: it all depends on the tone of your content. You’re not going to talk to your best friend the way you would to their grandparents, would you?
The same goes for social media platforms.
#5 Throwing all Your Eggs in One Social Media Basket
Sticking to just one platform? That’s a problem.
Contrary to the point I made above, if you just use one social media channel to promote your business, you could potentially isolate a huge chunk of your audience.
Let’s take a closer look at each platform and its characteristics.
- Largest age group: 25-34
- Sends more website referral traffic over all other platforms
- Focused on both news and entertainment
- Strong emphasis on video content
- Largest age group: 25-34
- Visual network that works best for still images and videos
- Best suited for strong visual brands
- Largest age group: 30-49
- Presents itself as a news platform as much as a social network
- Curation and retweeting are popular and encouraged
- Excellent place for brands promoting blog posts or website content
- Twitter accounts can also be used to make connections with influencers
- Largest age group: 30-49
- Popular amongst shoppers, researchers, and those selling goods
- Highly visual
- Often used as a way to find inspiration
- Largest age group: 46-55
- Career-driven and B2B content works best on this professional platform
- Allows businesses to gain credibility in their industries
- Largest age group: 15-25
- 2nd largest search engine after Google
- Videos are often shared on other social media platforms, like Facebook and LinkedIn
- Ideal method for capturing the physical and emotional attributes of what you’re promoting
- Highly optimized for mobile devices
If you aren’t running a large company with at least one dedicated social media marketing employee, it’s virtually impossible to promote on every platform properly – and that’s OK.
But also, sticking to just one can be disastrous for your content marketing strategy.
Instead of only dedicating yourself to your Facebook page or solely relying on Instagram, choose a few platforms that are laser-focused on your target audience as well as your brand.
#6 Your Social Media Profiles are Self-Absorbed
You’re at a friend’s house party, and he’s introducing you to some new people. Out of politeness, you strike up a conversation with the guy to your left.
His name is Steve.
Now, Steve seems cool at first, but the more he talks, the more you notice he’s doing all the talking.
There’s no back and forth. There are no questions directed at you.
It’s all about Steve.
Don’t let your social media accounts be Steve.
Nobody wants that.
Because Steve will only ever talk about himself. He won’t share some exciting or thought-provoking content from other sources in the field. Or even have conversations with others.
So, how can you avoid being Steve?
Publish value-driven content that’s relevant to your audience. Make it about them because they’re the hero of this story, with your brand guiding them to be that hero day in, day out.
Think about where your target audience is most active online and what they want to learn?
Maybe they’re searching for something?
Or do they have problems they need solving?
Answer these questions, and you can bridge the gap between what they want and what you’re offering.
And create content about that.
Remember: It’s not about me, me, me – it’s about them, them, them.
#7 Underpromoting and Selling Yourself Short
On the other hand, you don’t want to underpromote your brand.
This should be obvious, but many businesses attempt to humanize their content and, in turn, neglect what it is they’re there for.
What you really want to do is create a balanced content strategy.
While your content shouldn’t oversaturate your followers in terms of self-promotion, each post should be carefully constructed to direct the conversation back towards your business.
There’s a delicate balance between aggressively selling & promoting and solely nurturing your audience to the point that they don’t know what your offer is.
Learning social media marketing isn’t impossible, and you just need to find the sweet spot somewhere in the middle.
#8 Failing to Engage or Relying Heavily on Automation Tools
If someone has taken the time out of their day to comment or ask a question about one of your social media posts, please have the decency to reply to them, human to human.
They could be a potential customer. And a paying one at that.
This includes any negative comments and messages as well. Regardless of whether someone is leaving some solid constructive criticism or they’re just looking to pick a fight, ignoring negative comments can be detrimental to your image. Address them for all to see. That way, other potential customers aren’t impacted by your lack of a response.
When it comes to marketing and social media, consumers rely on emotions much more than information when evaluating brands.
The simple truth is, people buy from people. Not robots.
While you think it might be better to reach more people with automated responses, your audience can smell it a mile away.
They’re not stupid. And they don’t like it.
The person on the other side of the screen doesn’t want to be talked at; they want to feel special.
They want to be heard and acknowledged, like the individual they are.
Sure, it takes time, but so does building relationships and creating trust.
So, hear them and chat with them.
Also, and I cannot stress this enough, always interact with your followers. But drop the automation tools.
Make them feel special.
They will love you for it.
And they’ll probably recommend you to everyone they know.
Free advertising, anyone?
#9 Ignoring the Importance of Influencers
If influencer marketing isn’t on your radar, you’re making one of the biggest social media marketing mistakes.
It really should be.
Reality check. We’re living in the age of the influencer. In reality, many old-fashioned marketing techniques just aren’t enough anymore.
People have become increasingly cynical, and they don’t just believe what brands are telling them anymore.
Take the skincare industry, for example. Some beauty brands have been accused of using filters when promoting their product.
Who can you even trust anymore?
Enter the influencers.
While the concept of using celebrities to endorse your product isn’t necessarily new, it’s no longer restricted to only the most successful brands in the world.
Small businesses can now engage with their audience using influencers and leverage their credibility to forge lasting relationships with potential customers.
You should be able to tap into their list of followers as well. Win-win.
#10 Lack of Planning & Organization
Planning and scheduling your social media marketing is crucial.
Because if you don’t keep up, you’re most likely lagging behind.
Having your social posts prepared and ready to go, weeks, if not months in advance, is key to conquering your social media fails.
Because realistically, you might not have the inspiration to think of a brilliant and witty post last minute. Or find the right image.
On the other hand, if you’re constantly ahead of the curve, you’ll be able to produce quality content rather than rushing to deliver every post last minute.
Another highlight of scheduling well in advance is that you can reach your target audience at a time when they’re most active, even if you’re sleeping or ill.
They say content is king. It’s not. Quality content is king – and scheduling is your best tool in achieving it.
#11 Missing the Big Picture
The importance of quality images and the use of videos in your social media marketing strategy cannot be overlooked.
Visuals like infographics, photos, and videos not only complement your material but also support the point you’re making.
Whether we’re talking Facebook, Instagram, or any other social media platform, that scrolling thumb is most likely to stop when users see an image that piques their interest.
Videos are a goldmine when marketing on socials as it adds a personal feel to your message and will also go a long way in establishing authority.
I’d go so far as to say if you’re not using video, you’re falling behind the times. This is because most social media algorithms reward creators who regularly post video content.
Are you an introvert? Hate being in front of the camera? That’s OK; you can still create captivating video content without being in the spotlight until you get used to it.
You’re more likely to capture your audience’s attention with video than any other content. It’s that simple.
Your videos should be clear and no longer than they need to be. People do love video content, but they love short ones even more.
Start with something that your viewer identifies with. As soon as that happens, they’ll be hooked.
#12 Ignoring Data & Analytics
Stop Ignoring your numbers. They are crucial to your success.
Your data and analytics are your own personal marketing goldmine.
Find helpful information like where your followers live, what age they are, and when is the best time and day to post your content.
You can even see when your audience is most active on specific platforms and what type of content performs the best. Do they prefer inspiring quotes, or do they find images of people more appealing? Or perhaps, they are more drawn toward actionable tips and advice.
This can help to inform what content you’ll focus on moving forward.
Additionally, you’ll gain valuable insight into the psychographic information of your audience. Such as what type of content lights a fire under your audience’s belt. What are their specific interests, and what leads them to take the next step?
And this data will change. Constantly. It’s the nature of the beast.
The good news is that you’ll start to see patterns emerge over time that will strategically help you with your marketing efforts.
So, if you want to make conversions and create meaningful transformations for your audience, you’ll want to continue testing and measuring what you’re putting out there.
You have all the answers.
So use them.
The proof really is in the pudding – or rather – the data. Don’t ignore it, or you and your brand will ultimately lose out.
#13 Selling a Product vs. a Lifestyle
One way of staying ahead of the curve is to stop selling all of the time.
In doing so, your audience will develop a preference for your product and what your brand represents. This goes beyond their age, income bracket, or even location.
It’s what keeps your audience hanging around for the long term.
So, instead of pushing your product 24/7, showcase your values, and align yourself to the things your brand stands for.
You want your social media posts to address your followers’ aspirations and not just focus on their pain points.
Think Red Bull. Imagine if their social media marketing strategy solely revolved around its core product – an energy drink.
The themes of the posts would center completely around its caffeine content or other completely dull topics.
But they haven’t gone down that route.
No, Red Bull has aligned its content with its carefully defined audience, selling a “bigger idea” instead.
What does that even mean? Check out their socials a little. Snow kayaking, dirt bike racing, cliff jumping.
They have affiliated themselves with adventure and extreme sports – which is precisely what you associate Red Bull with, isn’t it?
And that is how you sell a lifestyle rather than just a product.
Want to succeed?
Be like Red Bull.
Moral of the story?
Focus on benefits over features.
#14 Lack of Social Media Integration
Let’s pretend for a moment that you’re writing a book. It takes you what feels like forever to research, write, edit, and print.
There, all done.
Now you take your new, shiny labor of love and put it on a bookshelf.
No marketing plan, no strategy, no preparation. Just a small piece of real estate for the passerby’s to hopefully gain interest.
That’s what you’re doing when you don’t integrate other mediums with your social media. Things like email, your website or blog, your YouTube channel, and even other social platforms.
And remember, if you’re posting on Instagram, not everyone has the time to scroll through their feed. So put a preview of your newest post in your stories. And throw in a link to your site for good measure.
If their interest is piqued, you need to make it easy for followers to hop from one channel to another.
This is how you get maximum exposure for minimal effort.
#15 Not Investing in Paid Promotion
Look, you might be posting regularly, using exquisite images, your copy is sharp, but you’re just not growing your sales.
Something is not adding up with your insights and data, but what?
You aren’t putting your money where your mouth is.
Believe in your product or service? Invest in it.
Paid content will reach as far and wide as you want it to. But be sure to optimize your ads towards your target audience.
Focus on their:
- Marital status
- Income level
- Education level
- Behavioral patterns
Not sure how to find your target audience’s demographic or affinity groups? Book a call with me, and I’ll show you the ins and outs of how to market on social media and avoid these common social media fails.
#16 They’re Bored to Death by Your Copy
Listen, you don’t want your copy to be the cure for insomnia.
You want it to pack a punch.
So that readers cannot tear themselves away from their screen.
Like you, right now.
But what constitutes engaging, reel-your-reader-in copy, I hear you ask?
If you have something to say, then say it. However, don’t be that annoying friend that talks at you without ever pausing for a second to breathe. Or letting someone else speak.
Here are some more copywriting tips:
- Use bullet points to avoid dense chunks of copy. Like this.
- Don’t write huge paragraphs. Keep them up to three sentences tops.
- One thought per sentence.
- Edit out extra words
- Use emojis to further break up your message (if appropriate)
- Stop using jargon
Imagine your brand was a person – how would you describe it? How would they dress? Where would they hang out? How would they talk?
Embody your brand. This is one of the basics of social media marketing.
Now use that same tone of voice to address your audience. But write to just one person, not the masses.
And talk to that person as if they were your best friend at coffee. Don’t choose fancy words, and remember to ask questions where you can.
It feels engaging, doesn’t it?
Mull that over.
#17 Failure to Provide a CTA or Next Steps
A lack of call to action (CTA) is social media marketing suicide.
Essentially, you’re just letting your followers leave.
That’s a fact.
Your only option is that you need to tell your audience exactly what to do by providing the next step. And making it obvious.
It all boils down to this. You know what you want your customer to do. So then tell them what you want them to do.
Simple as that.
Sure, it might appear as though we rarely speak to people commandingly, other than in emergency situations or when talking to children.
But don’t stress too much.
There’s a difference between being assertive and being rude.
In fact, it’s excellent social media marketing etiquette to provide transparency and clarity.
Let’s take a walk down memory lane for a second.
Remember in high school when you were learning something new?
If there were no instructions from your teacher, you probably had no idea what homework you needed to do.
And I’m willing to bet you didn’t take it upon yourself to do extra work without those instructions, right?
The same goes for social media. People must be guided in order to get them where they need to go.
The chances of them doing that on their own is minimal to non-existent.
In the great words of Nike: “Just do it.”
A great CTA needs instructional words such as:
- Go here
- Keep reading
- Learn more
- Sign up
And guess what? The simpler, the better. Because people visiting your social media profiles want to be led.
Click by click.
Final Thoughts on Social Media Mistakes
There’s no doubt about it; social media is a tough nut to crack.
And as a business owner, you’ve got a lot to think about. Branding, content, target audience, buyer personas, images, influencers, platforms…
It seems as if the list is never-ending.
It’s not, I promise.
The truth is, many businesses, big and small, continuously make the same social media mistakes and fail to get the most out of these platforms.
They go rogue with their content, thinking they know best, all the while ignoring tried and trusted methods that have proven successful on social media.
Methods that mean increasing your engagement and conversions. But even the methods you used successfully last week aren’t guaranteed to work tomorrow.
You must adapt to the ever-changing algorithms that social media platforms are designed upon.
Is it essential to be creative and test your own unique methods? Of course.
But avoiding the above-mentioned social media fails will save you a lot of time and energy, not to mention followers & sales in the process.
And while you should follow the marketing strategies and formulas I’ve mentioned in this article, you should never just blindly press on without listening to a more important group of people.
So check your metrics, and see which posts have high engagement and which ones are missing the mark.
Then ask yourself why this might be. Can you improve?
And since we will update it regularly, be sure to come back to this article every now and again, even when you feel you’re on top of your game.
Just to keep yourself in check and stop yourself from committing these social media mistakes.
Now I’d like to turn it over to you. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about social media? How has this helped you with your marketing?
I’d love to hear from you. Let me know by leaving a comment below.