Social media “rules” are always getting re-written. And if you aren’t paying attention, you could get left behind… or run the risk of your business appearing dated and out-of-touch.
The following social media “no-nos” should be avoided at all costs. (To help you curb any lingering bad social media habits, we’ve also included some advice on what you could do to keep up with the industry.)
1. Relying on auto-tweets/scheduled posts
Auto-tweets and scheduled posts were once lauded for their convenience. After all, people take days off work, and social media never sleeps. However, on more than a few occasions, scheduled tweets/auto-tweets have got brands in trouble.
For example, Tesco, a UK supermarket, had an embarrassing incident concerning a scheduled tweet when the company was working through a horse meat scandal in 2013, Business Insider reported. The scheduled tweet that published read: “It’s sleepy time so we’re off to hit the hay. See you at 8am for more #TescoTweets.”
People were understandably irritated with the tweet’s flippant tone. Although Tesco responded with an apology and full-page advertisement-style apologies, the damage the tweet caused was already done.
What to do instead: Stay on top of your social media’s tone. If your social media director or marketing manager is going on vacation, consider asking them to delegate their posting tasks to a bright, well-informed colleague; and maybe have the director plan a few generic, informative auto-tweets and scheduled posts in advance. This way, posts and tweets will remain relevant, on-brand and unintentional social media disasters could be avoided. Also, take Envision Creative’s advice.
“Best practices call for scheduling content for a maximum of 1 ½ weeks at one time,” Envision Creative reported. “Scheduling content for shorter stretches of time allows you to capitalize on relevant topics and trends that might occur.”
2. Publishing duplicate content across all social media accounts
We’re all guilty of this. You take a cute photo of your dog, and you post it everywhere—Facebook, Instagram, Twitter… You get the idea.
Although this social media faux pax isn’t that big of a deal on personal accounts, it can read annoying on professional accounts. Also: Each social media service tends to attract different followers and fans.
What to do instead: To be successful, each post you make on your company account should be optimized for each platform. This also is know as “pillaring,” Envision Creative reported. “Facebook and LinkedIn share similarities, but content on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and every other platform requires a custom approach,” Envision Creative added.
And if you think that you don’t have enough content to share across all platforms, you do. You can use “static images, videos, gifs, memes, cartoons and text posts. You can also vary your content’s tone by including inspirational, funny, informative, serious, and promotional messaging,” Forbes reported.
3. Hashtag overuse, jumping on a trending hashtag
We’ve all seen posts that are more hashtag than content. These hashtag hot messes can make your posts look bad for two reasons:
All the hashtag use makes the post hard to read. “… like a big blob of mashed up words,” Envision Creative explained.
Excessive hashtag use can make posts look like spam. The BLU Group reported that 91 percent of top brands “use seven or fewer hashtags per post.”
Also, If you think that using a trending hashtag could help you gain followers, think twice. First, using the tag won’t work unless it’s related to your industry. “Keeping a hashtag close to the interests of your brand really helps,” Krystal Gillespie, HubSpot’s social media community manager, said. “We try to use hashtags tailored for a specific topic and then narrow it down further—for instance, we’d use #SEOTips if our marketing post was mostly about SEO.”
And second, you could totally miss the mark. For example, DiGiorno Pizza “hijacked” the hashtag #WhyIStayed, a hashtag that allowed domestic violence victims to share their stories. When the pizza company used the tag, it tweeted: #WhyIStayed You had pizza.”
What to do instead: Make a list of what hashtags work for you and your brand. “Over time, you’ll see relationships between certain hashtags and your most popular posts, and this can help you decide which hashtags work best for your brand,” The BLU Group reported.
Also, consider following your brand’s own hashtag to connect with people using said hashtag. “On Instagram I actually follow the hashtag #hubspot so I can find anyone who talks about us and connect with them,” Gillespie said. “As long as your account isn’t private, people will be able to find you via the hashtag.”