By now we all know that being active on social media platforms is a great way to increase your online presence and engage with your potential customers – but jumping in without knowing some best practices may mean that you are doing more harm than good!

We have put together a few things we see businesses doing on social media that could be anti-productive to their goals, and tips on what to do instead.

 Inappropriate Use Of Hashtags On Social Media

Hashtags simply make it easy for people to connect to a common topic and form communities through a searchable link. It’s these keywords that follow the hash symbol that help people join trending conversations, keep track of topical discussions and organise content.

Hashtags are more relevant on certain social platforms. When Instagramer’s began to cross-platform share their happy snaps on Facebook, a lot of people were confused and annoyed by the infiltrating ###. These hashtags are very useful search tools on the predominately visual short form Instagram platform, but not so on Facebook.

Excessive use of hashtags is distracting, effects readability, looks spammy, and from a business point of view screams desperate pushy marketing. Other inappropriate uses include irrelevant, generic, duplicate, long and complex hashtags.

Tip – Focus on keeping your hashtags short, simple and in context. If you need a reference point of how many you should include per post, here is what we recommend:

Instagram 2-4

Twitter 1-2

Google+ 3-4

and refrain from using them on Facebook altogether.

Read more about hashtags here

 Overly Automated Posting

Auto-publishing is great for posting at high engagement times, covering for people on leave, targeting people in different timezones and from a workflow point of view. This feature can be set-up in the backend of some platforms or via sites such as Hootsuite.

Hootsuite makes our list of top tips for small businesses, read more here.

However, the flipside is that if this automation is overly relied upon social updates can come across as boring, robotic-like and predictable. Too many time-poor small business owners fall into this trap, and the essence of being truly ‘social’ is lost with the brand messages set on loop. Generic and thoughtless looped content is a sure way to lose followers.

It’s a good idea to build a repository of evergreen content to schedule, but ensure you save room for time-sensitive last minute content opportunities. There is something authentic about real time in the moment posting.

Tip – Don’t get all gung ho with scheduling too many posts; consider that your followers don’t wanting you clogging up their news feed. Also don’t set and forget, you still need to track the insights of your automated posts.

 Overtly Salesy‘ In The Brand Message

People trust people! It has long been reported that people are more likely to value recommendations from peer reviews than the brands themselves. Social media isn’t a selling platform, it’s a place for businesses to share their brand identity and build relationships with followers.

Facebook is now penalising posts that throw promotions and products down the users throat. Usually out of context and not in the spirit of social platforms, these posts will experience less reach as a penalty. Facebook in particular is a place to connect with people and is a forum of self-expression. People don’t want to be sold to or told what to do in their social circles.

Tip – Ditch the disruptive messages and adopt a native approach. The best yard stick is whether you would personally enjoy consuming, engaging with and sharing the content.

 Promoting Duplicate Content On Each Social Platform

If you want to drive more traffic and reach new customers it’s imperative to amplify your content on a variety of social channels. That said, there are nuances such as structure and audience to consider before pulling the trigger. Savvy marketers become super-efficient at remoulding original content to fit the various platforms.

Small businesses under the pump to produce regular content fall into the duplicate dump trap without adapting the piece to suit the consumer. Give people a reason to follow you on multiple platforms by diversifying your content.

  • Linkedin is a platform to display expertise and thought leadership. Share a single post that is educational to promote discussion within industry groups. For more specific information on leveraging this incredibly useful platform check out this blog article How To Optimise Your LinkedIn Profile
  • Twitter structurally speaking limits you to 140 characters, so be factual, topical and share-worthy to earn a retweet. Use abbreviations and Bitly to save on characters.
  • Tell a story on Facebook; be more personable, upbeat and positive with the content.
  • Don’t forget Google+ which is geared towards long form content pitched at a more tech savvy audience.

Tip – It’s good practice to alter the headings of re-postings. Use Coschedule to test the potency of your revitalised heading. Change it up by extracting a quote, laying down a fact or asking a question to get attention.

 Not Being Social

All of these bad practices are a result of becoming anti-social. Don’t lose focus, social media is customer-centric and all about audience engagement. Show you care about them by actively engaging with them and tending to their needs. Exhibit the personal side of your business and interact with your community. Brands that nurture customers on social media as people and not as numbers will build better businesses.

Interested in learning more about social media marketing for your business? We offer customised strategies to guide you and ensure that you’re getting the optimum exposure and benefits from social media activities, find out more information here or contact us at