[Updated] Top 15 Crucial Social Media Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

  • UPDATED: 30 November 2023
  • 9 min read

Reading Time: 9 minutes

However crowded the marketplace becomes, every marketer hopes to get their brand out there in front of as many eyeballs as possible.

No wonder many love to leverage the power of social media. In an attempt to stand out in these networks, it is not unusual for marketers to make some mistakes.


Bonus Content

 👉 Customer Lifecycle Marketing Campaigns: An In-depth Guide [Download Ebook]

What Are the Common Mistakes in Social Media Marketing?

Social media users can be unforgiving; keep making the same mistake and you will see your following dwindle by the day. The following are 7 social media marketing mistakes that every marketer should avoid.

1. Not Having a Social Media Marketing Strategy

Creating a social media marketing strategy might seem like an obvious thing to do, yet many companies fail to do so. They fall into the trap of just posting things on social media without any real social media marketing plan in place. You should take social media optimization with the same seriousness that you do as with any other marketing effort.

Come up with a list of specific objectives you want to achieve, then create a budget and an easy-to-follow plan of action. This should clearly outline what you hope to achieve, how you intend to measure your results and the number of resources you might need.

One of the most celebrated online marketing strategies of all time is the 2010 Old Spice marketing campaign that, essentially transformed the company into a hippie brand. They did a video ad that they called The Man Your Man Could Smell Like using Isaiah Mustafa, an NFL player.

He appeared shirtless on screen speaking to women who would “happen to be watching the Super Bowl”. The NFL player simply asked them to buy Old Spice so that their men could smell like a man should smell. The video went viral.

The brand succeeded because, among other reasons, it changed its old tactics (pun intended) and embraced a new strategy that would get them noticed by people who would never have thought about using the product.


2. Posting Less or Posting More for Reach and Engagement

Don’t get too post happy!

One of the crucial social media mistakes most social media accounts make is being ‘post-happy’ i.e. either posting too much content, or too little. So how much of posting content is too much and how much is too less?

Well, every platform comes with a specific need – like at least one time per day on LinkedIn, for Twitter you can go up to 3-5 times and for Facebook page, you can post up to 1-2 times.

For Instagram, well, the best thing to do is post at least 2-3 times per week and at least once a week. It is also important to post customized content on each channel. For instance, you might want to share your business cards with your audience on Linkedin, but on Instagram, it might not make much sense.

This is one of the major social media mistakes to avoid!

3. Not Defining Your Target Audience

Not everyone on social media will fit your brand. Defining your target audience will let you concentrate your social media marketing efforts on people who are genuinely interested in your product. However hard you work, if you do not know your audience, you will record lackluster results.

Convince & Convert, a social media strategy company does this quite well, largely because its founder, Jay Baer understands that he is in the B2B space and not the B2C space. He makes sure that all the content he publishes has LinkedIn share buttons instead of just the more popular Facebook and Twitter share buttons.

Common social media marketing mistakes

The brand knows its target market and the social network this audience is engaged in. The interesting thing is that most of the shares are usually from LinkedIn users.

4. Failing to Engage in Conversations

It doesn’t matter how many updates you add to your social media channels; if no one comments or shares them, it is all a waste of time. That is why you should take time to create relevant content that people want to engage with — content that elicits conversations.

If your updates get no engagement, perhaps it is time for you to think long and hard about the social media marketing approach that you have taken. And when you finally get your audience to react to your updates, be sure to engage back. A conversation is a two-way street. Respond to negative comments too. And remember to keep it cool; be polite and friendly.

It is important to add that while it is good to encourage your followers to engage with your brand in conversation on social media platforms, you must ensure that these conversations are positive engagement factors. Negative conversations about your brand will only damage your reputation.

A good example of this is the “Race Together” Starbucks campaign that was meant to encourage conversations about race relations but was badly executed resulting in a growing negative vibe towards the company.

Common social media marketing mistakes

Many ridiculed Starbuck’s failed attempt to engage their followers in a conversation that while current, is often divisive and too hot to touch (pun intended).

5. Not Acknowledging Mentions

Honestly, stories work. If you want to grow, ‘stories/reels’ are the shizz. But one of the common social media mistake is not responding to the ‘mentions.’

A few other ways that you can use the story mention reply of Instagram are:

  1. Host giveaways
  2. Escalate things to customer support, if there’s a feature issue reported
  3. Quickly follow up with a personalized message
  4. Send customer satisfaction surveys and address issues
  5. To answer questions of your audience

Not responding or acknowledging story mentions is one of the most common pitfalls when it comes to a social media marketing campaigns.


6. Relying too Much on Automation

Automation can be a lifesaver. Indeed, a tool like Social Growr that helps brands grow organically on Instagram is often the difference between being average and thriving on these social media channels. Yet, if you become too dependent on automation, you might lose the human touch around which your brand persona thrives.

The New England Patriots found itself in trouble back in November 2014 when its automatic bot tweeted a racial slur via the team’s official Twitter handle. The team was celebrating its success in reaching a million Twitter followers, so it asked users to retweet a message from its Twitter page and users would be rewarded with an automated tweet featuring that fan’s Twitter handle on an image of the team’s jersey.


Common social media marketing mistakes

Unfortunately for the New England Patriots, someone took advantage of the situation, essentially making the robot tweet out a racial slur.

Common social media marketing mistakes

It took over an hour for the social media team to realize the mistake and take down the tweet, but not before over 2,000 people retweeting it. The team apologized. It had relied too much on automation.

social media marketing mistakes

As you can see, relying too much on automation not only makes your brand lose the human touch, it also can result in embarrassing moments. This is especially the case when you use traditional rule-based automation tools.

Advanced automation tools are preferable because they use triggers, allowing brands to engage customers based on their behavior. This way, brands can leverage the micro-moments recorded by social media users.

7. Promoting Yourself a Lot… and, We Mean a Lot!!!

To stand out on social media you must be sociable. If all you do is promote your content, many social media users will grow a disliking for your brand. Instead of increasing your following, you will watch it dwindle like a candle in the sun. Brand promotion is important, but be subtle about it.

8. Not Tracking or Using Analytics software

Your social media marketing strategy book should be a living document. You have to keep improving it. But for you to do this, you must be in a position to see the impact of your past actions.

The actionable insights will provide what you have done in the past and the results you got out of it will help you plan for the future. Find a good tracking analytics tool to understand key marketing insights and assess your social media performance.

By tracking your analytics, you will be better placed to create targeted marketing strategies that will improve the quality of your brand following. Monitor customer engagement, conversions, buying trends, and your growing influence in your eCommerce niche on social media.

9. Treating All Social Media Platforms the Same

Each social media platform is unique. You must learn the language of each platform so that you can speak to the users in a language that they will understand. Just the same way you can’t speak Norwegian in China, you must speak the same language as the users of the social networking site on which you intend to grow your brand.

Seek to understand how each social media platform works so that you can make the most of the opportunities therein.

When you learn to see each social media platform as an entity on its own with its unique opportunities, you will start to discover brand new ways to leverage these opportunities to grow your business or increase its exposure.

This is what San Chez Bistro, a tapas bistro, and restaurant implemented back in 2010. The restaurant, located in Grand Rapids, Michigan, encouraged its patrons to reserve a seat at the restaurant via Twitter in a campaign they called “Tweet-Ahead Seating”.


7 Social Media Marketing Mistakes to Avoid by Marketers


The restaurant’s management understood that by design, Twitter would be the perfect platform to do this. They would definitely have achieved dismal results using other platforms like Facebook.

10. Deleting Comments and Mentions

This is a strict no-no.

When it comes to common social media mistakes, one thing that is often seen is that many brands go and delete comments or mentions, especially if they are negative. While this may make sense if you are dealing with it in a professional way and removing negative comments, racial slurs or even abusive or slang language, any other forms of removal may affect your business goals.

11. Not using Multiple Forms of Content

Another problem that most small businesses do is not using multiple forms of content for their social media.

A good social media policy demands different forms of content – videos, blog posts, and along with images. The way to go about this is to post content by following insights and your social KPIs. For example, if high-quality content is what works for your business, then post videos on your social media profiles.

12. Using Foul Language in Posts

There’s a saying, any publicity is good publicity. But that’s not often the case.

Using foul language or even abusive language can often lead you to lose followers. So, even if your competitors are doing it, avoid using such formats to communicate about your brand.

13. Creating Profile on Every Platform

The success of your social media marketing campaign is not directly proportional to the number of platforms you use. Define your social KPIs and then use social media activities that best suits your needs.

Have a B2B business – maybe stick to Twitter and LinkedIn.

Looking for market research for a product – Reddit and Quora can help build that customer base.

Want to share quick tutorials – Ticktock and Instagram reels are certain networks that will help connect with your audience faster.

Don’t create a profile because other brands are. Create a profile on social platforms that will help grow your business and get you potential customers.

14. Not Experimenting Enough with Square Images and Videos

One of the common mistakes that most small businesses do are not experimenting enough when it comes to landscape images and videos.

While stats say that landscape images and videos work best, it’s often a good idea to experiment first and then use a template that works.

15. Not Boosting the Right Post

Most brands are often skeptical to boost the right post to your audience. The best way to do this is to figure out which post receives the highest engagement and then, with the help of marketing tools, boost the post with the right demographic filters.

This will help your brand grab eyeballs and sell your products faster.

5 Things to Avoid Failure in Social Media Marketing

If like some of the brands discussed in this piece, you have been making these social media marketing mistakes, there is a remedy. Where to start? 

The five things to avoid failure in social marketing are 

  1. Delete customer feedback or comments, etc. unless its a slang or abusive language.
  2. Not respond, especially to questions or doubts.
  3. Spam everyone with repetitive content.
  4. Think that all the platforms work the same. 
  5. Lastly, not showing the real person or the real persons behind the brand

If it happens that you are unsure of how to go about this, then it is time to hire an SMM expert. Perhaps doing this can be your way out of making these and other social media marketing mistakes that might get you negative publicity.

Here’s What You Can Read Next

Here’s What You Can Read Next