According to 2021 HubSpot Blog research on social media trends, 77% of social media marketers say social media marketing was somewhat to very effective for their company in 2021.
We often talk about the best strategies to use on social media but do you ever wonder about the top mistakes to avoid? In this article, we cover the top ones categorized by platform.
1. Ignoring new features.
Instagram is constantly evolving.
Just this year, the social network has announced several big features it’s either testing or fully rolling out, like the Creators Marketplace, supervision tools for teens, pinned posts, Reels up to 90 seconds – and that’s just to name a few.
What often happens when the platform rolls out new features is that it will prioritize accounts that use them. For instance, when Reels first launched, the algorithm would prioritize accounts that used them – earning them more reach and impressions – than those who posted videos on the feed.
With this in mind, it’s important that businesses stay updated on the latest features coming out and how they will impact the platform’s algorithm.
While a smaller change, like a new button on the Shop tab, may not affect your day-to-day, a new bigger change may warrant a strategy review.
2. Not live streaming.
Live streaming is one of the most powerful tools on Instagram.
In fact, the HubSpot Blog conducted a survey in November 2021 to discover social media marketing trends and found that it offers one of the biggest ROIs compared to other formats.
In fact, marketers surveyed ranked it #2 in the social media trends that brought in the biggest ROI in 2021, behind short-form videos.
In addition, 52% of marketers who invested in it last year say it performed better than expected.
Live streaming is a great way to engage your audience and get real-time feedback that can help you optimize your Instagram strategy.
3. Uploading videos with TikTok watermarks.
When Reels first launched, everyone believed it was in response to TikTok’s success.
This was unofficially confirmed when Instagram announced on its @creators account that it was making changes to its algorithm, specifically which Reels it recommended to users.
According to an article by The Verge, the network spokesperson said users have reported via survey that videos recycled from other platforms can provide a negative user experience. As such, Instagram will start deprioritizing videos that are clearly recycled.
One way to know a video’s recycled? The TikTok watermark. This appears when users upload a video to the short-form video platform, then save it. When it’s shared, the watermark appears.
The lesson here is if you’re going to cross-post on multiple social media platforms, make sure you upload the original content and customize it within the app. This will maintain your content’s quality and ensure it’s not shadow-banned when published.
4. Sharing low-quality content.
The head of Instagram recently said the platform is no longer a photo-sharing app.
While that may be true, visuals are still king and if you’re going to be successful on the platform, you have to produce high-quality content.
Just look at Twitter: Although you can upload images and videos, it is a text-based app. From threads to retweets, the main feed is designed to prioritize written content.
The same is true for Instagram. Visuals are everywhere on the platform and if yours is not up to par, you will struggle to retain your audience’s attention.
5. Forgetting about your bio.
Your Instagram bio is a very small section of your profile but it holds so much power.
For starters, it’s a major point of discoverability. When users search for accounts on the platform, the information on your bio will help them find you. From your username to your business category to your bio description.
Your bio is also a place to convert your users.
Instagram tries to keep users on the platform as long as possible. That’s why today, users can discover a brand and complete a purchase without ever leaving the app.
That’s also why the platform limits when and where you can share external links. One of two places is in your Instagram bio.
With a Linktree, you can include multiple links in your bio and lead your audience to your website, landing page, product page, and more.
6. Having a personal account instead of a business one.
Are you doing Instagram right if you don’t have a business account?
If you’re debating between a personal and a business one, here’s the reason why you should get it: Analytics.
When you have a business account, you have access to a slew of data that you wouldn’t know otherwise. Everything from how your users are finding you to which posts are driving the most traffic.
That insight will be invaluable in building out your Instagram strategy and gaining insights into what resonates with your audience.
7. Buying followers.
If you’re a small business on Instagram and you want to establish some credibility, or perhaps get more post engagement, you might consider buying followers.
After all, they don’t cost much and you can have thousands of followers overnight. But, there’s a catch – otherwise, everyone would be doing it.
Buying followers is like receiving a bad check – you’re promised something of value but in actuality, there’s nothing there.
While you may get a boost in followers, those followers will not help you in the long run. They’re often bot accounts that will not engage, share, or promote your content.
This will also significantly skew your data, making it difficult to know what strategies are actually working. The only way to ensure this is by growing your followers using organic methods.
8. Skipping captions.
If your picture or video is what grabs your user’s attention, your caption can get them to stay.
Many brands overlook the caption, focusing instead on creating great visual assets. However, both play an equal role in engaging the audience.
Your caption can offer more context to your post and drive conversions. So, as you’re prepping upcoming posts, make sure your caption isn’t an afterthought.
9. Being too promotional.
TikTok is a place for authenticity.
In fact, a 2021 study by Nielsen revealed that 64% of TikTok users say they can be their true selves on TikTok. In addition, roughly 56% of TikTok users say they can post videos they wouldn't post elsewhere.
If you go on the platform simply promoting your products and services, you may have a hard time getting any traction.
Focus instead on sharing a lifestyle – specifically the lifestyle of your target audience. Their challenges and pain points can make for relatable, funny content.
The more authentic your content is, the better it will perform on the app.
10. Using viral sounds in ads.
Viral sounds come and go quickly on the app.
The average sound has a shelf life of a week or two – that’s why it’s great to use in your posts. However, it’s not a great strategy for ads.
Why? Well, an ad will likely run for several weeks and by that time, the sound will no longer be popular. In fact, users may be tired of hearing the sound, and using it may hurt your likeability as a brand.
Don’t age your ad by including trends that are sure to die off. Instead, stick with evergreen content that will work any time.
11. Not using filters.
Just as sounds go viral on TikTok, so do filters.
From effects that expand your face to those that take you to space, there’s so much to choose from. For brands, this offers a lot of opportunities to be creative and have fun with your audience.
Of course, with any trend, it’s important to know when to join and when to skip. If something doesn’t align with your values or strategy, don’t participate – as there will be another one around the corner that will be a better bit.
12. Ignoring mentions.
Social media is a two-way street. You share, and your audience responds.
Too often, brands focus on sharing and forget to interact with their community. On Twitter, this is especially easy as a text-focused app.
Brands will Tweet away and forget to respond to mentions, which could hold valuable insights into brand perception.
This leads us to our next mistake, in the section below.
13. Retweeting too often.
When a user lands on your Twitter profile, they should have a good idea of what you’re about and know what to expect from your page.
If your page is 90% retweets, it makes it difficult to make that assessment.
Instead, have a healthy mix of tweets, retweets, replies, and threads.
14. Tweeting the same thing.
Imagine stepping into a store and seeing the same item displayed everywhere. Once you realize there’s nothing new to explore, you’ll lose interest and quickly walk out.
Think of your Twitter page like your store: The more variety you have, the more opportunities you have to attract your audience and encourage them to stick around.
While it’s valuable to repurpose high-performing content, the key is spreading it out over a long period so that it seems fresh every time. You should also try to find fresh angles to give a new life to your content.
15. Treating it like other social platforms.
Twitter is one of the few social networks where written content is king.
If you’re active on YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram, you may be tempted to use that same approach for Twitter.
However, the golden rule on social media is to adjust your content to the platform, not the other way around. This means that you’ll have to make sure you’ll likely have to swift from a video-first approach to a text- and audio-forward one on Twitter.
16. Having a low response rate.
When you land on a Facebook Page, one of the first things you’ll see is the page’s message response rate.
It creates an initial impression of the brand and its relationship with its potential customers.
A high response rate suggests that you have great customer service while a low rate signals that you are either not active on the platform or may struggle with customer service.
While this is a seemingly small part of your profile, it can leave a big impression.
17. Removing negative comments.
Negative comments are a part of every brand’s social presence.
There’s bound to be an unsatisfied customer or a frustrated follower somewhere and sometimes, they land right in your comments.
In an effort to protect your brand’s image, you may want to delete the comment altogether. However, having a solid response to your disgruntled follower may actually work in your favor.
Responding to negative comments shows your audience that you don’t shy away from difficult conversations. It can also appease other customers who may have similar concerns.
18. Not having a custom photo cover.
Everything on your Facebook Page can help or hurt your brand and as we know, the devil is in the details.
A custom photo cover is a great way to stand out from your competitors, who may use their logos or stock photos – or worse, nothing at all.
Instead, opt for something that says something about your brand, and speaks to your values or your culture. Using an image that has emotional appeal will likely have a much better impact than a simple stock photo that tells us about your product or service.
19. Neglecting your community.
Facebook is one of the best places to build community. From Facebook Groups to live streams, there are many ways to interact with your audience.
After all, that’s how you build brand loyalists. It’s not from sharing promotional content, it’s from consistent and genuine interactions.
Once you start seeing your Facebook Page as a community-building tool, you will start seeing results.
20. Ignoring your competitors.
One of the handiest tools on Facebook is the ability to learn about your competitors in your analytics dashboard.
Using inputs from data you’ve already shared, Facebook can compile a list of suggested competitors and tell you how you’re performing against them
This can then serve as a benchmark to determine how well you’re doing and what to strive for.
Knowing what not to do can be just as important as knowing what you should do. Although this list isn’t exhaustive, it’s a pretty good place to start and keep you on the right track.
Editor's Note: This post was originally published in Feb. 2012 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.