Five common social media mistakes — and how to correct them
Managing social media accounts can be a daunting task. Whether you’re part of a global corporation or a mom-and-pop shop, fully utilizing your company’s online presence through social media is part of ensuring you’re doing all you can to create success for your business or organization.
It’s important to put social media best practices to work in your favor, including creating engaging content that’s seamlessly integrated with your customers’ user experience.
Here are a few common social media mistakes you might be making, and more importantly -- how to correct them.
Mistake #1 - Misusing #hashtags (or not using them at all)
One of the most common social media mistakes I see is misusing hashtags.
I get it. Hashtags are confusing. How many should you include, what specific terms are they and on which platforms should they be used? Social media managers often have too many hashtags on Facebook but not enough on Instagram. Hashtags are a powerful tool to reach a broader audience, so not using them simply isn’t an option.
On Facebook, hashtags used to be a no-go, but they’ve more recently become recommended. Just don't go overboard. Posts with one or two hashtags perform better than posts with more, so it’s best to just use a couple of hashtags that are relevant to your brand and business. Know your audience, though — if they might not understand hashtags on Facebook, don’t use them. Make the hashtags work for you.
Like Facebook, it’s important not to overuse hashtags on Twitter. Include just a couple of hashtags per Tweet. Only use them when they’re relevant, even then, only if you have the extra characters available in your Tweet.
Instagram is the best place to maximize your use of hashtags. Instagrammers post their hashtags as a comment on their posts, instead of in the caption. Use more than 10, but don’t go to the limit; stay under 20 hashtags per post; 11-12 is a good rule of thumb.
Use hashtags relevant to your brand and industry. Shift your mindset to consider them as search tools.
Mistake #2 - Ignoring your audience
Interacting with followers might seem obvious but it can also be difficult to do. It’s vital to engage with your audience on social media.
Yes, you reply when a client comments on your post, but it’s also your job to get them to comment in the first place. Post interesting content so your audience wants to engage.
Especially on Facebook or Instagram Lives, Stories, and Reels, it’s easy to provide open-ended questions for your audience to get involved. Don’t just give them content. Give them something to think about and to pique their interest. Give your audience direction.
Ask followers what they think about what you’re saying, selling or offering;
Give them tips, and ask for other topics they want to hear about;
Tell them your favorite thing, and ask about theirs;
Get them involved in your business. Ask them what they want to see or how you can help;
Lead an “ask me anything” session on Instagram or Facebook;
Don’t just hope they comment, ask them to contribute to the discussion or tag a corporate partner.
Mistake #3 - A cluttered, non-cohesive feed
Your Instagram account should feel cohesive — putting all the images together should give your audience an idea of your company’s brand.
On a personal social media account, you post photos of whatever is going on in your life. From one day to the next, you might post a darker photo of a cupcake in a cute bakery, then a trendy, light image of some florals in your backyard. While this is fine for a personal account, a business needs to show a prospective client or customer what that business’s brand is before they read your caption.
Scrolling through someone’s feed on social media and understanding what the account is about is as easy as using similar colors, lighting, and subject matter. Find a few words you want your account to reflect. Choose colors and a theme, and use those to help define what your graphics and images should look like. Don’t be afraid to try new and different things, but stick within your defined style and branding guidelines.
Mistake #4 - Not using Stories, Reels, or Lives
If you’re using social media but only posting to your timeline or feed, you’re not fully using social media. Even Instagram recently announced that they’re no longer a photo sharing app; instead, they’re all about the videos now.
Add to your stories on social media regularly. They’re like a minute-to-minute update, while posting is a more permanent showcase of business. Going live can make even the most outgoing employees nervous. It gets better with practice and when done more frequently. Use live video options for sharing announcements and news.
Reels are fun, short and sweet videos, and the pressure for high-quality production is low. Anyone can quickly and easily create Reels. Start slow, and get more creative as you go on.
Mistake #5 - Posting too much or too little
Each social media platform has its own specifications for how much you should or shouldn’t post. Dedicate time to your social media. Quality matters over quantity. If you can’t curate high quality content as often as needed, develop your own standards to post when possible.
Post most frequently on Twitter, second most on Facebook, and least on Instagram (in addition to Stories, Reels, or Lives).
Twitter is great for quick updates, and some of the top accounts post more than 100 posts in a day. You don’t need to post that much — but at a minimum, post a couple times a day on Twitter to keep your audience engaged.
On Facebook, you should post at least once a day. You can post twice a day, but give several hours in between posts to give your audience some breathing room. More than twice a day is too much, and post at least three times a week to keep up with your page.
Instagram posting can be less frequent. We recommend posting a maximum of three times per week to keep followers engaged but not overwhelmed. Posting more than once a day on Instagram will do just that, so just don’t.
Finally - The most important thing
Remember, these are all just guidelines and a place to start. The most important tip I can give you is this: pay attention to your page insights, audience engagement and overall how your posts are performing, and keep doing what works best for your audience.