Social media moves fast—what’s cool on Monday might be passé by Wednesday afternoon. So here’s a list of things you should avoid doing on social to keep your channels current.
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1. Using too many hashtags
Because hashtags will make your content more easily discoverable on platforms like Instagram and Twitter, social media users sometimes use them excessively.
Why you should stop doing this: Too many hashtags can make you look spammy or desperate if you’re using ones that aren’t relevant to your post. Even if you gain followers, it’s often the wrong kind of follower—like bots or people only interested in being followed back.
What you can do instead: Focus instead on being deliberate when it comes to choosing hashtags. A good rule of thumb: don’t have more hashtags than words. Have your followers focus on what you’re saying instead what you’re hashtagging.
For more on how to properly use hashtags on social media, read our post on The Do’s and Don’ts of How to Use Hashtags.
2. Trying to jump on every trend
Brands often jump on trending topics and popular memes to force themselves into a conversation or appear in-the-know..
Why you should stop doing this: Just because there’s buzz around a topic, that doesn’t mean people want to hear from you on the topic. If it’s not relevant to your brand and target audience, your efforts will fall flat and you might turn people off.
What you can do instead: Make sure your brand can actually add value to the conversation and to your audience. Ask yourself: Is what you’re sharing really relevant to your brand and audience? If not, you shouldn’t post it.
3. Publishing the same message across all platforms
We get it, social marketers are busy and need to save time wherever they can. But don’t do push out the exact same message on every channel.
Why you should stop doing this: Not every platform supports the same kind of content—Instagram supports disappearing “Stories” but Twitter does not. And of course, different audiences live on different social networks.
Even for your fans that are following you on multiple networks—imagine how strange it is to see the same message over and over again?
What you can do instead: At Hootsuite, our social team uses a distributed content strategy, which is about creating unique content for each platform. This ensures we are delivering the kind of content that resonates with a specific audience to ensure maximum engagement.
It’s easy to get stuck when creating social media content—here’s our post on Not Sure What to Post on Social Media? 10 Content Ideas That Work for a tune-up.
4. Not responding to and engaging your audience
Too many businesses are still using social strictly as a promotion tool. That’s not what it’s about.
Why you should stop doing this: Social media is a two-way conversation. It’s not the place to broadcast how great your business is—at least not all the time. Social networking platforms are place for people to meet and interact with your brand.
We should have clarified: we're eating a Vegemite and cheese toastie. ????
— Slack (@SlackHQ) June 20, 2017
What you can do instead: When planning your social media posting schedule, don’t forget to include time for engagement. Ask your followers questions, encourage them to share feedback, and always facilitate discussion about your business, products, and what you’re sharing on social media.
And if you’re already asking the right questions, make sure you’re doing a proper follow-up:
#MarvelQuestionoftheWeek: Which of these Marvel comic heroines are you looking forward to reading more of?
— Marvel Entertainment (@Marvel) March 31, 2016
As seen above, a good example of engagement are Twitter polls. They’re easy to create and are a surefire way to increase engagement with your followers. Read how it’s done in Using Twitter Polls to Boost Audience Engagement.
5. Keeping your social media accounts private
In the past, businesses might have done this simply to secure a branded handle. But if you have the account, you should use it.
Why you should stop doing it: A private social media account can convey many things—laziness? Hiding something? Or, you don’t think social media is worth the investment?
Just because a user isn’t following you on social media, that doesn’t mean they’re not searching you up on Google to see what your social media activity is all about.
What you can do instead: Use it or lose it. Social media is a great way to grow and engage your audience..
And if a particular social media channel isn’t ready to be launched, but you’d like to secure a handle, post an update stating you’ll be online sometime soon. A simple, “Thank you for following us! We’re working on some updates for you!” says a lot more than a closed-off account.
6. Sending automated thank-you messages
There was a time when an automated message was a nice and easy way to make your followers feel special.
Why you should stop doing this: An automated message can come off as impersonal—it’s like being subscribed to a broadcast messaging list nobody asked for.
Plus, nobody likes talking to a robot. If they did, why hire someone to manage your brand’s social media handle?
What you can do instead: Take some extra time to dig a little deeper into your new follower’s social media profile. See if you share anything in common or if there’s something to connect with.
Just look at our blog writer Dara Fontein’s Twitter profile—you might send her a message with a cat GIF or meme (spoiler alert: she told us she’d welcome it too).
Like we said, people are on social media to interact. Consider doing some added research and including it in your DM when reaching out to a new follower.
Do social media the right way using Hootsuite. From a single dashboard you can easily schedule and publish all of your social media posts, engage with your followers, and track the success of your efforts.