Social media is a powerful marketing tool that enables you to connect with your customers in an authentic, engaging way: with the right social media, you can nurture and grow your online community, acquire customers, and turn brand enthusiasts into brand ambassadors, further enhancing your bottom line. That’s why social media mistakes are a big deal. At best, they can cause you to lose followers; at worst, they can negatively impact your entire brand or business.

Cover your eyes, because these social media content mistakes are the scariest! (But really, don’t cover your eyes — keep reading to learn what not to do!)

The Scariest Social Media Content Mistakes (and How to Fix Them)

Posting about a national holiday when that holiday doesn’t exist

“Happy National Wear a Costume to Work Day!” Oh, wait… that’s awkward, because it’s actually National Pizza Day, and National Wear a Costume to Work Day is not a legitimate day. Celebrating weird national holidays is a great way for any brand to create fun and engaging content. However, there are a lot of made up national holidays.

How to avoid this: Research all fun national holidays in advance of planning to post, and make sure at least three different sources all have the same date.

Ignoring platform features

Maybe you want to show some behind the scenes (#BTS) content of a brand campaign or video shoot on your Instagram channel — but is a static image post really the best way to capture that? And do you really want that content hanging around on your account’s profile page forever? Consider platform features like Instagram Stories or Facebook Live your savior. These two features are a great way to show audience snippets of your brand in a more casual, authentic way—and in the case of Stories, it only lasts for 24 hours. It’s also a great way to maximize engagement across all facets of any given social platform.

How to avoid this: Stay abreast of new platform features, and don’t be afraid to give them a try!

Instagram stories are a great way to showcase in-the-moment, authentic content. (Photo via Instagram.com)

Using the wrong links, or using links at the wrong time

Perhaps a blog post you shared on Facebook is supposed to link to your website’s home page. But instead, it links to a Food Network recipe because you just happened to be browsing for tonight’s dinner while you were working (hey, it happens). Whoops! Or, maybe you have the right link in your hands, but you’re sharing it at the wrong time — remember, links in an Instagram caption are not clickable. We repeat: Links in an Instagram caption are not clickable! Which renders them pretty much useless, unless a user is willing to manually copy the link and enter it into their browser. Hint: They’re not willing.

How to avoid this: Double-check all links in any given piece of content, and avoid including a link unless it’s easily clickable for a user. In Instagram, never use a link in your caption. Rather, put the link in your profile page, and direct users to it accordingly!

Engaging in off-brand or inappropriate conversations

Part of a community manager’s job includes engaging with other brands, business, and users — social media is a two-way street! However, community managers need to be choosy when it comes to the types of conversations they’re having online on behalf of a brand or business. As a general rule, business shouldn’t enter petty fights or rousing political battles. What’s more, community managers also need to fully read a comment—and a user’s profile name—before they engage. Case in point: Perhaps someone has something insightful or relevant to say, but their Instagram or Twitter handle name is totally NSFW. Do you really want to include your brand in that conversation? Probably not.

How to avoid this: Take care to only enter relevant conversations that don’t include overly controversial topics or profane language. Also, be sure to read a user’s handle and bio before conversing.

Not varying your content…

You know those brands that always post a still, predictable image on Instagram? Maybe with text over top marketing their business? And then they post that exact same post —image, copy, and all— on Facebook? And then again on Twitter? Brands and businesses doing great things on social have a consistent voice but aren’t afraid to vary their content. It keeps things interesting, and keeps users engaged.

How to avoid this: Mix up your content on any given platform, including a mix of videos, galleries, still images, and animations where appropriate. Vary your language and copy (while keeping a consistent voice and tone) across channels like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

…or posting just for the sake of it

Every post to your social media accounts should serve a purpose and mean something to your business or brand. Now, this doesn’t mean hard marketing for every single post. Rather, it means making sure that the content you’ve posted reflects your goals, engages users, and is tailor-made for a specific channel like Facebook or Instagram. Posting for the sake of it isn’t a good strategy. Don’t do it!

How to avoid this: Building a content calendar in advance to make sure every post has a purpose and a preferred timeline.

Over-filtering an image on Instagram

We all know this person. The friend who crops the image to a wide angle, turns the brightness all the way up, adds the XPROII filter and then randomly throws in a blurry addition after having already run the picture around in a third-party photo editor app. Now your eyes are burning, and your followers are terrified!

IMG_0565 IMG_0566

How to avoid this: Try to stay as absolutely natural looking as possible while also making the color pop and the image more eye-catching. If you are going to edit your image in a third party app such a Snapseed, VSCO Cam or Afterlight, don’t you dare even touch it on Instagram. Just run right past the filter options and publish.

Not spell-checking before publishing

This is an extremely common mistake in social media world. Your brand is trying to send out a fast tweet in order to jump on a trend. In the rush of emotions, you accidentally tweet:


When you meant to say “cologne.” Ouch… (Screen grab via Twitter.com)

How to avoid this: There are a lot of ways. First, read it to yourself about three separate times. Also, try sending it over to a co-worker for a second set of eyes. Apps like Google’s “Grammarly” can also help you make sure your content is grammatically correct!

Jumping on a trending hashtag that has nothing to do with your brand

Every brand wants to be up with the trends. However, before jumping on a hashtag that you think is a fun play on words, you MUST perform quick hashtag research. Or you might regret it, as DiGiorno Pizza did when they engaged with the hashtag #WhyIStayed, meant for women to share harrowing stories of domestic violence.


DiGiorno Pizza had no business incorporating this popular hashtag into their social media strategy. (Screen grab via Twitter.com)

How to avoid this: Click on the hashtag or use the Twitter app on your phone. Twitter now provides you with a quick bio of what the hashtag is for so when it comes to making this big mistake, you no longer have an excuse.

Not tracking or evaluating your content

If you don’t measure your content, you won’t know what’s working or how to move your brand forward. Analytics are your friend!

How to avoid this: Implement tools like Google Analytics, Report Garden, or Sprout Social —they’re just a few of the many programs available to track how many people saw, liked, and engaged with your content. We recommend reviewing content success on a weekly and monthly basis.

Don’t make scary mistakes with your content!

Need help creating content that draws your potential customers in, rather than making them want to run for the hills?

Contact FSC Interactive and ask about a comprehensive content audit and strategy. We’ll take a holistic approach to developing a content strategy that aligns with your business goals— and there’s nothing scary about that.

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