25 Embarrassing Social-Media Mistakes You Might Be Making 😳

social media mistakes

What social media mistakes are you making? From major to minor, knowing a few (okay, 25) faux pas to look out for will help you refine your strategy for the better.

Here are 25 social media mistakes you might be making — and how you can fix them today!

1. Not Defining Your Target Audience

Social networks are about developing relationships. That’s hard to do effectively if you don’t know who you want to build relationships with.

You need to know your target demographic.

A great way to do this is by creating buyer personas. A buyer persona is a semi-fictional outline of your ideal customer based on data and informed speculation.

2. Spreading Too Thin

Don’t be a jack of all social networks. Master a few.

If you attempt to build a presence on more than a handful of networks, it’s likely your resources won’t stretch far. It takes a lot of time, effort, and understanding to build an engaged audience on any network.

Spreading yourself too thin is a sure way to reduce your impact. Choose the social networks most relevant to you.

Social media mistakes are apparent when you can’t keep up with posting and engagement.

Where does your target demographic hang out? Research that — and then build a presence where they’re most like to spend their time.

3. Inconsistent Branding

Strong brands are unified.

You need your images, taglines, profile descriptions, and voice to be united and integrated across your social channels. If they’re different, you’ll appear unprofessional, disorganized, and, therefore, untrustworthy.

Are you friends with people you don’t trust?

Trust is essential — remember, social media is all about building relationships.

4. No Differentiation

If your business is the same as your competitors, it will be difficult to fair well for long. The same goes for social media.

Why would anyone follow you if you just share the same things as other companies in your industry? If you don’t contribute in a unique way?

The easiest way to differentiate yourself is to inject your company’s personality into your posts. You are the only you.

5. Being Inhuman

Don’t white-wash your unique personality in an effort to appear ‘professional.’ Nothing will kill your social media efforts faster.

People don’t relate to companies. They relate to people.

Write in a normal voice and have employees sign posts with “Mark, Customer Happiness Engineer.”

It’s the human touches that make all the difference.

6. Treating Social Media Like Advertising

Social media is not a soapbox or a megaphone. It’s a round table. A community discussion.

Social media marketing is “permission based marketing.”

People have to want to follow you for you to be able to reach them. No one wants to listen to a company preach relentlessly about their product. (And if you go that route, it’s one of the biggest social media mistakes you can make.)

So, don’t treat it like an elevator pitch, but more like an ongoing drink with friends.

7. Looking for the Quick ROI

There is no quick ROI.

Relationships take time. You have to give to get.

Sales come after you’ve made a genuine connection. And, genuine connections only happen if you’re authentic.

If you don’t focus on developing genuine connections, social media is as useful to you as the dead spider under your kitchen sink.

8. Underestimating the Work Required

If you just build it, they won’t come.

Don’t just set up your profiles with fancy graphics and descriptions, and wait. That’s like setting up a sales stall in the middle of a business fair, and then not manning it. Pointless.

You have to engage, contribute, and share value. This takes work — because relationships take work. Did you get your best friend from occasionally texting them to ask if they want to make you dinner?

You have to show up, everyday.

9. Not Committing Long-Term

If you’re not in the game for the long-haul, you’re not in the game. You’re not even in the parking lot. You’re somewhere on the freeway in a traffic jam.

Trying to get somewhere, but not actually moving forward.

Once again, relationships take time. Commit, and start contributing.

10. Not Responding to Comments (and Fast)

When you ask your friend if she wants to get tacos, it’s pretty frustrating when she doesn’t text you back. Should you get tacos alone? Should you wait? (Should you unfriend her on Facebook?)

When a customer contacts you on social media, you have a golden opportunity. To make them feel special, appreciated, and cared for. Turning them into a customer for life.

All you have to do is message back in a human, helpful way, ASAP.

Or, you can message them back slowly, unhelpfully, or in an inhuman way. And lose them forever. While potentially generating a damaging review and negative word of mouth for years to come.

Your choice.

11. Not Delivering Real Value

Spin doesn’t work long-term. It’s not authentic — no one wants an inauthentic relationship. Also, spin without substance is damaging.

People aren’t stupid. They know when you’re wasting their time. And, with an infinite number of alternatives out there, their time is precious. Don’t squander it on spin. You’ll lose them forever.

You know what does work?

Substance. With or without spin.

12. Focusing on the Company Not the Customer

“Company announcement: We’ve just merged with Corporation Boring!”

So? How is this relevant to your audience? Why should they care? What’s in it for them?

13. Posting Too Much

People have a lot of information flying at them. If they’ve signed up to hear from you, you’re in a privileged position.

Don’t abuse that position by hijacking their feed.

Best case scenario, they’re mildly frustrated with you. Worst case scenario, they unfollow and you lose them (and their network) forever. Neither is good — and neither are social media mistakes you want to risk making.

14. Posting Too Little

If you post too little, you’ll miss out on the chance to build genuine relationships. You’ll sink to the bottom of the vast sea of posts and be forgotten.

So, how much should you post?

Use that often-ignored tool, common sense. Better yet, create a poll on social media and ask your audience.

Or better still, track engagement and experiment. It’s different for every company. Find your balance.

15. Not Utilizing Knowledge

You might be tempted to assign social media management to your newly hired, unpaid intern. Bad move. They know less about the company than the cleaner.

Use your knowledge and experience.

C-level execs might think social media is below them. They’re wrong. For many companies, social media is where the majority of PR, customer relations, and brand management happens. What effective CEO would say that those things don’t matter?

The most successful chefs share all their recipes and keep innovating. The unsuccessful ones hoard their knowledge.

Share your company’s knowledge and experience. Get experienced employees on board. Have a weekly meeting to create post topics and schedule them throughout the week.

16. No Real Marketing Strategy

You see it all the time. A company has 200,000 Facebook fans, and isn’t profitable.

What’s your strategy to convert? Have you set up a lead funnel? Are you drawing people through the inbound marketing process?

Don’t forget that social media mistakes include posting without purpose. Set goals and map out a strong strategy.

17. Not Tracking Metrics

Metrics are your map and compass.

If you don’t use them, you’re wandering around in the dark. You might arrive at your destination. But you’ll definitely arrive late, after walking in circles.

Decide on a destination and use your metrics.

18. Tracking The Wrong Metrics

Tracking the wrong metrics is like using a map of New York to navigate London. Some of the names might be the same, and it might even feel familiar, but you won’t get where you want to go.

Choose the right KPIs (Key Performance Indicators).

When reviewing data, ignore ‘vanity metrics,’ like the number of page views and ask: Where did they come from? What did you do to get them? How can you get more?

Use actionable metrics, like A/B experiments.

19. Selling Too Much

You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. Don’t pester people. They’ll buy when they’re good and ready. If you overdo it, you’ll lose them forever.

Give them value first. Build a relationship. Then, let them know about your product.

If you’ve done the first steps properly, and it’s useful to them, they’ll buy it.

20. Selling Too Little

You hear often about selling too much — it’s one of the social media mistakes that’s constantly in blog posts and articles.

But you can’t be too cautious either. Otherwise you’ll go out of business. Once again, ask your audience, and test.

As in all things, look to find the right balance.

21. Too Much Automation

Social media automation saves us a lot of work. But the tools you use should lighten the load. Not carry the burden.

Maintain your voice, and personalize every post. Contribute, and use emotion. 

People don’t want relationships with robots. (Unless it’s Jude Law in A.I.) So don’t let this be one of the social media mistakes that loses you customers.

22. Same Posts Across Different Platforms

No one turns up to Lilly’s 4th birthday party in black tie. So, don’t post questions on Instagram best posted on Reddit, or Quora.

People use each social platform in a different way. If you’re sharing the same content across multiple networks, reformat it for each one. Don’t cop out.

Take the time to cater to each platform’s strengths and individuality to show you care.

People don’t want a relationship with a company that doesn’t care.

23. Too Many Hashtags

#This #can #get #annoying. #Don’t #do #it.

#Use #only #a #handful #of #the #most #relevant #and #appropriate #hashtags.

#It’s #ok #to #do #something #silly #now #and #again #though.


24. Not Crediting The Source

When your friend John helps you paint your spare room, you don’t tell people you did it by yourself. That would make you a douchebag. Don’t be a douchebag online either.

Remember, you have to give before you get.

So don’t just credit when you have to, credit generously.

… Anne Hadley also advocates this in her wonderful book, “Everybody Writes.

25. Relying Solely on Social Media

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

Social media platforms don’t exist to give you a voice. They exist first and foremost to make money. And they change.

Like how organic reach for Facebook pages have been drastically declining for years.

Own the ability to connect with your audience by encouraging people to sign up to your mailing list. Then, if Facebook or Twitter ‘does a MySpace’ and dies, you’re safe.

Have you made any of these social media mistakes? Share your stories below.

About the Author

Tom Law

Tom Joseph Law is a freelance B2B marketing writer/blogger & content strategist. When he’s not helping businesses land more customers with strategic content, he’s chasing waves or trying to touch his toes in yoga class! Check out Tom’s work at killitcopy.com and say hi to him on Twitter.


  1. Shivam Sahu says

    Hi Tom,
    An informative article. This article has well-explained the mistakes that most of the businesses make in social media marketing. And I am completely agree with you, most of the businesses jump into social media marketing without any proper planning and end up doing most of these mistakes.

    Many businesses fail to interact with their clients and followers by doing all such mistakes. You should know your target audiences. You need to know the preferences of your target audiences. I’m glad that you have covered this topic in such a detailed manner.

    Thanks for sharing it with us.

  2. says

    Hi Tom,
    Amazing post. Of all of these mistakes, I am the most guilty about not responding to commenters. I work outside the home. With that and content creation, it’s hard to prioritize that and networking.
    I got a chatbot to respond for me, but no one talks to it!

    • says

      And here I am making the same mistake Janice! Like most things in life, they’re easier said than done. Thanks for your comment and I’m glad you enjoyed the article! Tom

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *