Are You Committing The 7 Deadly Social Media Sins?

by Josh Amidon

Admittedly, this blog title is a little dramatic - but it got your attention! 

Everyone knows social media has great potential for businesses looking to increase their reach, traffic and leads. Although, when it’s not used properly, it can actually damage your brand’s reputation.

This article will walk you through some social media marketing mistakes you should avoid at all costs.

1. Not responding appropriately to negative feedback

Negative feedback is going to happen. You can choose to ignore it, fight back or take it in stride. How you respond says a lot about your brand.

Some brands operate under the assumption that they can simply delete negative comments without repercussions (they would be wrong). Others believe that ignoring negative or inflammatory comments is the way to go (they would be even more wrong).

Rather than avoiding, why not use these situations as opportunities to shine? Respond thoughtfully and promptly to negative comments, and use them as opportunities to showcase your commitment to customer service. After all, I believe social media isn’t just a marketing vehicle for your company, but an extension of customer service as well.

2. Buying likes or followers

Did you know there are companies who’ve created millions of fake social media accounts and you can pay them to have their fake accounts follow you? Instant followers! What could be wrong with that?

Buying fans or followers is risky business. Some brands still believe that padding their numbers by paying for fictitious fans is a harmless endeavor. But did you know that buying Facebook fans can actually hurt your brand by decreasing your overall reach?

Fake fans will never interact or engage with your page, signaling to Facebook that your content isn’t interesting or valuable to your audience. This leads to an overall algorithmic decrease in your post reach and visibility. You could also find your account being closed, banned or deleted should Facebook find out about your schemes.

It’s far better to focus on attracting real, interested fans who will engage with your posts.

3. Being a one-trick pony

When you get hung up on posting the same types of content again and again, your followers will become less engaged and are more apt to think you simply don’t care about posting engaging content.

If you’re really stuck, try posting a photo of your dog/cat…everyone likes photos of cute pets

People in my office are assuming I only wrote that last sentence as an excuse to show you a pic my dogs, but I don’t care because they’re adorable.    

4. Promoting your products … constantly

There’s a time and place for promoting your business or products, even on social media. However, too many brands are still using social media as a channel for pushing their marketing message.

Social selling is all about building relationships and trust that will ultimately lead to sales. Don’t abuse the platform by using it as billboard or commercial. The 70/30 principle is a good rule of thumb: post engaging, high-value content 70 percent of the time and promote your products no more than 30 percent of the time. Better yet, think about how you can move your social media fans and followers into your online marketing funnel -- then you never have to directly promote on social media.

5. Being inconsistent in use and messaging

Do you have a schedule for when and how often you post? Do you have a consistent voice that you use across all your social media profiles? Do your profile and cover photos convey what your brand is about? How do you respond to negative feedback or criticism?

The best way to be consistent in your social media marketing is to have a strategy in place. This will include, among other elements, guidance about how and when you’ll use social media:

Guidelines for how to respond to negative comments
A frequently asked questions document that various team members can refer to. This will help ensure consistency in messaging.
A repository of brand-related images staff can use for profile photos, cover photos, etc.
A posting schedule for each social media channel 

6. Offering too many canned responses

Having a social media plan in place will help you to respond to questions and comments in a consistent manner. But the "cut and paste" method of responding to comments -- particularly to criticisms -- can lead to some pretty significant backlash.

In 2013, Kmart was heavily criticized for using this strategy to respond to criticisms about their holiday hours and staffing policies. Using a handful of generic responses didn’t go over well. But in all fairness, Kmart has MUCH bigger issues than their social media presence.

While having prepared responses in place for commonly asked questions can certainly save you some time, use them with caution. Keep in mind that criticisms, negative feedback and specific questions should generally be met with thoughtful, personalized responses.

7. Spreading yourself too thin

This is my BIGGEST social media pet-peeve. Just because a social networking site exists doesn’t mean you have to use it. Spreading yourself thin by committing to too many networks can mean you’re not using any of them effectively.

I would rather have a client do one social media platform amazingly well, than 4 of them inadequately. It’s better to fully commit to a regular posting schedule on a few networks than letting many lie dormant.

Avoiding these mistakes all comes down to ensuring your team is properly trained, using your resources wisely and responding to your fans and followers in a professional manner. My best social media advice – treat your social media followers like you would your onsite clients/customers.

If you want to discuss social media further or tell me how cute my dogs are, you can always reach out to me at or (315) 258-8780.