Seven social media fails your business should definitely avoid

By on May 19, 2015

By Joanna Drake

Social media is a marketing platform businesses can’t ignore – most are giving it a go. But if you haven’t seen the results you’d been hoping for, you could be falling into one or more of the most common pitfalls when it comes to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the rest.

I could write a novel on what makes good and bad sense in social media marketing but, for now, here are seven of the most common mistakes that businesses make – and some tips to help you avoid the traps so many still fall into.


Automated messages asking followers to look at your site, or congesting their feeds with dozens of mundane posts throughout the day, could irritate them and have quite the opposite intended effect, causing them to unfollow/unlike you. A badly timed post could also potentially cost you your business’ reputation.


While it’s a good idea to avoid talking about only your business, it’s also important to keep the content you share relevant to your brand and the industry it’s in. Linking your brand with topics it isn’t associated with can waste time and runs the risk of damaging it in the long run.

Stick to what your brand knows and spend time showing your consumers that you are experts in your field, rather than trying to push your brand name into areas that it doesn’t or shouldn’t associate with.


Maximising your business’ social media potential means realising which platforms are relevant to your business, rather than engaging with every platform possible. Facebook and Twitter work brilliantly for business to consumer (B2C) businesses wanting to receive direct feedback from their consumers. If networking and building your relationships and partnerships is a priority for your business, then LinkedIn should be your number one platform.

eBay created an Instagram account solely for the promotion of its Walk the Red Carpet buzz campaign, but has since found no use for it. The profile still remains live, but should have been closed down at the end of the campaign, aptly demonstrating just how easy it is to get it wrong. Think about where you will find your target market and how to best use those platforms to maximise your social media efforts.


Just like when you reject a potential job candidate who has demonstrated poor spelling, your consumers are put off if you lack even the simplest spelling and grammatical skills on social media. For example, in a brand battle survey conducted by Grammarly, Pepsi made 3.6 mistakes every 100 words compared to Coca Cola’s 0.9 every 100 words. It’s crucial that each post is properly proof read before it is uploaded.


You feel that you’ve really connected with your Facebook and Twitter fans this past week – great! But what about those neglected Instagram or LinkedIn connections that haven’t heard from you lately? In 2013, British Airways failed to keep an eye on its Twitter account and took a whopping eight hours to respond to a complaint that had been seen by over 70,000 Twitter users.

This shows just how important it is to use management tools to keep track of all accounts at once. Using tools like HootSuite or Buffer can help you to see all of your social platforms in one space and spread your contact with consumers across each of them evenly (relative to their importance). Avoid using autofollow tools and instead analyse any new followers for yourself to determine if they are relevant or appropriate for your business.


Social media opens up an opportunity for customers to openly give their opinion of a brand, so businesses need to focus on responding to these in the right way.

Something that all businesses should do is respond to negative feedback; but in a way that calmly addresses the issue and doesn’t upset consumers any further – even if you don’t completely agree with what they are saying. When responding, react in a way that could potentially save the relationship rather than harm it.


Make sure that whoever has control over a business’ social media accounts is fully aware of how to handle the aforementioned situations and provide any training they might need in order to do so. It’s simple and it can save your business from losing relationships with current customers, as well as preventing potential ones from losing interest.

There are plenty more disastrous attempts at social media management out there, but I’ll end on a positive note and look at a brand that handles their social media outstandingly well – Nike. Nike’s dedication to their consumers’ feedback has led to the separate, very active and quick to respond account, which provides each and every consumer with the help they need – it’s the perfect example to learn from to improve your own business strategy.

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