5 Social Media Mistakes You Probably Don’t Know You’re Making


Using social media as an individual is easy – you just say whatever you feel like saying. A corporate social media account requires a bit more tact than that. A number of people just starting out in the corporate social media world fail to realize this and make a number of mistakes without knowing it.

Here are 5 common mistakes that brands make on their new social media profiles without even realizing it!

1) TMI: The Too much Information syndrome

A personable social media account for your brand is always great. An account that goes too far, and gets a little too personal, is a terrible idea. You need to maintain some semblance of professionalism. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun.

The basic rule of thumb is if you wouldn’t say it to your boss, or at a shareholders meeting, you should probably hold off. Do you tell jokes to your boss? Sure! Do you tell your boss about your wicked hangover from last night? Not so much…

You need to make a clear distinction between social media messages that will help your business, and those which won’t.

The two accounts below always seem to be up to some sort of goofing around. They have a unique style of information sharing, and I always have a laugh at their content. I pay attention to them in my newsfeed, and that’s important:

Follow that whole exchange on Twitter and you’ll see @BestVPNs post a picture of a cat, and Cryptostorm post a picture of Kim Jong Il as he appeared in Team America: World Police. They stayed on brand by keeping their (silly) comments to their world of online security.

2) Promoting your brand too much

You are PUMPED about your company’s products. Great. You should be! But if you want others to join in on your brand messaging you have to stop shoving it in people’s face non-stop.

The general rule to follow is the 80/20 rule: 80% of your messaging over social media should not be about your company, or about marketing. 20% is left for your marketing and personal content. That 80% can be content shared from other brands, or it can be the jokey, fun to engage with content like @BestVPNs had above.

If your brand page looks like this one from Cubana’s, a restaurant chain, Facebook page you have failed. Everything they post is about a special they’re having, or a meal they’re selling. This post, with no engagement, is typical:


They could be having fun talking about Cuban music. They could talk more about the history of Cuban food. They could be posting images of their fans partying it up on a Friday night. Instead they’re posting sections of their menu over and over again. It is the worst thing it could be on social media: BORING.

3) Ignoring your followers when they make comments

Your followers and fans are the only reason your social media accounts have any relevance. You could be posting The Most Interesting Content Ever, but if no one is there it doesn’t matter. A quick way to get no one to care is to stop caring about them.

SocialBakers is a website I like to stop by frequently. They have some incredible stats on engagement ratios for brands. It never fails – the brands with the most fans are also the brands that engage the most with their fans. Take a look at this stat on some of the most popular brands on Facebook in my native Canada:


This ranks them by engagement with their fans. Rogers is a cable company. They are just as hated on as any other cable company. Rather than ignoring their 569,000+ Facebook fans, they actively engage with them, even when things are nasty:


If you’re not responding 93% of the time, you’re not working hard enough on your social media channels!

4) Thinking that if you ignore it, it will go away

I was just talking about engagement in general, with a side of negativity. I now want to focus exclusively on negative comments on social media. People will tweet, comment, and reply to you in the meanest of ways. You need to determine who you can help, and the few that you can’t.

JetBlue is an airline. It is a rare day when someone has something nice to say about an airline, and few have reservations about cursing at them. A prime example is when a customer swore (yes, with the ‘f’ word) at them for not having bagels at their JFK terminal. Their response was perfect:

She then complained that she didn’t like those bagels and that the lines were too long. She’s hopeless, but they tried to help!

You have to be sure that you don’t take negative comments personally. They’re not attacking you; they’re attacking an injustice they perceive in your company. You can help them out best by coming at them with customer service rather than vengeance.

Spreading positivity from other people is also a great way to drown out the negativity. Including great online reviews as part of your plan can do this. Every now and then we like to share good reviews like the one on this site. These reviews are highly shareable online over social media, and can help drown out all those negative comments.

5) Having No Social Media Plan

The Internet is forever. A bad newspaper review? That’s in the garbage by the end of the day. A magazine takes a shot at you? It’ll be forgotten the moment the next issue comes out. That bonehead Facebook post? One screenshot stores it forever digitally.

What you need to figure out is:

  • What you want your social media marketing to do – engage with customers, work as customer support, find new fans, etc.
  • Who can actually do it, and how much time you want to dedicate to it, based on the above goal.
  • The type of content you want to share – just text, or do you need original images and video?

YouTube is a social media platform. Most brands realize this and treat it as its own social media channel. They also use it as a way to support their other social media accounts with brand content.

Red Bull thought of this long before they started and have planned for content that ties together with everything they do. Here’s a typical video:

They have a plan from top to bottom of appealing to their youth market on YouTube, and they share these videos across their other social channels. Your plan should be this cohesive for maximum impact!