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  • Ishbel Macleod

Nine social media mistakes you’re making and how to fix them

Are you making any of these common social media mistakes?

Everyone knows how to use social media – right? With 90% of social marketers agree investing in social media has a direct impact on their business revenue (SproutSocial Index 2019), it’s an important area for marketers to focus on: but there are still common mistakes we see over and over.

If you’re not seeing results from social media, or aren’t sure where you’re going wrong, take a look at these common nine errors and see if you’re making any.

No social media strategy

Having social media platforms and posting just ‘so you’re on social’ is a common mistake that brands make – especially when they are starting out.

However, you wouldn’t run a TV ad ‘just so you’re on TV’: it would be part of a wider marketing strategy to make sure that you support your business goals at various stages of your marketing funnel, whether that is raising awareness, driving engagement, or delivering sales.

Just having an overall marketing strategy isn’t enough either: take time to think about what you want to achieve from social media, who your target audiences are and what channels they will be using, and what type of content should be shared where.

Without a social media strategy, your social media won’t be as effective or efficient as it could be.

The Fix: Work with your marketing team and/or a social media agency to create a social media marketing strategy.

Treating social media as a silo

While your social media marketing may be different from your overall marketing plans, with a slightly different tone of voice, it is wrong to think of social media as a silo.

Think about the marketing ‘Rule of Seven’: a potential customer needs to hear or see your brand’s message at least seven times before they’ll take action to buy. Not all these touchpoints may be on social media: display advertising, email marketing and direct marketing could also form part of your marketing – but all tactics must have similar messages.

Put simply, your social media should have the same key messages as all other marketing channels.

The Fix: Make sure your social media messages and editorial calendar is the same as all other marketing channels.

Social media is the job of the intern

Don’t punt social media to the youngest person in your team because ‘social media is for young people’. Even if your intern is amazing at their own social media, if they don’t understand your brand, it can go badly wrong.

This ties into the points above: your social media should match your tone of voice, and with GlobalWebIndex’s 2019 review finding that 28% of people have discovered a brand or product on social media, it’s too important to leave to someone who doesn’t know the ins and outs of your company.

This isn’t as cut and dry as some of the other points though: if your intern is switched on, understands your brand and is comfortable with your tone of voice, they may be a good fit to run your social media at a basic level. However, don’t give them the log ins on day one…just to be sure.

The Fix: If you want your intern to handle social media, that’s fine – but make sure they are trained in your tone of voice, and all posts are overseen by a professional. However, in most instances, it is better to have a trained professional running your social, especially if you are looking to run paid advertising.

No tracking of social media links

If you are looking to drive people to your website, it’s important to be able to track these link clicks. How else will you be able to qualify the success of social? However, this is something that a lot of companies don’t do.

At a minimum, you should have Google Analytics or a similar system in place. To be able to track in more detail, consider adding UTM codes to your social links.

It’s also worth utilising tools such as the Facebook Pixel to be able to see the journey that people have taken – and be able to set up Custom Audiences for future advertising campaigns.

The Fix: Implement basic tracking tools such as Google Analytics and the Facebook Pixel so you can discover if your social media posts are driving people through to your website.

You’re not analysing results

How do you know what works for you if you don’t analyse the results?

There are so many different things to analyse which it comes to social: from followers, to post reach and engagement, all the way through to sales. Not all metrics may suit all companies, but here are five basic social media metrics you should be tracking.

By analysing results on a monthly basis, it will make it a lot easier to track where you stand against the objectives and KPIs you set as part of your social media strategy. It can also help you to spot trends: for example, some companies will see a spike in December and then a fall in sales for the first quarter of a year. If you know this is a consistent curve, you will be able to predict when you need to try to sell, and not be shocked when numbers dip.

The Fix: On a monthly basis, take note of the key numbers from your social media performance, and see how these change. As well as the overall figures, consider which posts worked best, and if there is anything you can learn from these.


Want to find out how your social media ranks against competitors on over 40 different factors? Discover how Hydrogenetics can help you.


You don’t know what your competitors are up to

There’s room for everyone to learn – which is why it is surprising that some companies don’t look at what competitors are doing. By this, we don’t mean copying their style, but more simply seeing what works well and if there is anything that can be learned.

Before we begin working with any client, we carry out a social media benchmarking report, looking at where the company sits against direct and indirect competitors. This is then useful to go back to after six months or a year to see how the landscape has changed.

The Fix: Carry out a basic social media audit of your competitors. What do they do well? What channels do they use? However – don’t get too caught up in the day to day!

There’s no social listening

Many brands respond to direct queries on social media – but a lot don’t look into those who mention them on social media without actually tagging the brand. This can be a huge opportunity – especially with research from Convince & Convert finding only 3% of people use a Twitter handle when tweeting about customer service issues.

By carrying out social listening at all stages of the social media funnel, businesses are able to see exactly what people are talking about, solve customer service issues, and even get involved in conversations with potential customers.

The Fix: If using a tool such as Tweetdeck or Hootsuite, set up saved searches for your brand’s name. This is easier said than done for some brands (e.g. digital bank Monzo will be able to track mentions a lot easier than digital bank B) but you could also add keywords to find your brand in context.

You just use social media to sell

Social media can be used successfully as a sales platform, yes, but if you just try to push sales messages constantly, you are not using it correctly.

Try creating content that engages with your audience: how-to articles, customer testimonials, sneak peeks, and even just generally asking questions. For most companies, it’s good to have about an 80/20 split – with only 20% of content looking to sell or promote a specific item. This will vary from company to company, but with SproutSocial’s State of Social Media report stating that 35% of consumers have unfollowed a brand on social media for posting too much promotional content, it’s something worth considering.

The Fix: While sales messages can and should make up part of your social media content, ensure that it only accounts for roughly one in five posts.

You’re not using the right assets

How many times have you seen a picture cut off on Twitter, too pixelated on Facebook or a video that’s just too long on LinkedIn? It’s a common mistake for brands, especially if they are in a rush to get a post out, but where possible all assets should be created with social media in mind.

Our design team has pulled together a basic guide to social media video creation, but for simplicity, work to a 2:1 image ration on Twitter and LinkedIn, and a 1:1 ratio for Facebook – with the opportunity to even go 4:5 for vertical posts. For Facebook and Instagram, the ratio should be 9:16.

The Fix: Take a look at the image and check to see if it fits the best practice sizes for each platform. For videos, try to keep them short, and use subtitles as up to 85% of Facebook videos are watched with the sound off.


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