As marketers, we are constantly being advised on what to do to help build our brands, increase audience engagement, and drive more leads. Social media is no exception. It offers a fantastic opportunity to do all those things. But with the ability to reach thousands of people with just one click, what not to do is just as important.

Being authentic is a must in today’s social world, and everything you post is a chance to strengthen that message or tarnish it — from a lost customer to a damaged reputation. But that’s why we’re here.

That’s why we’ve put together a helpful list of things that all brands should make sure to avoid on social media. Check it out.

Let’s start with the basic DON’Ts — all of which should also be pretty obvious:

  • Abusive language of any kind
  • Negative comments 
  • Too many hashtags
  • Clickbait posts 
  • False information / data 
  • Content that’s not proofread 
  • Content with no context 

To summarize, negativity, deceit, lack of clarity, going overboard… that about covers that. Ok now, let’s dive a little deeper into the less obvious things you shouldn’t post.

    1. Non-social Content
      Even if what you have to say is really interesting, how you present it makes all the difference. Social media was designed to be social — and that means it’s not a place for a one-way conversation. Too much text without the reprieve of a line break or emoji tend to deter people from reading on. Likewise, videos, images, GIFs are all opportunities to grab a user’s attention and get a message across in a more interactive way. For example, instead of telling potential customers what you do; show them a behind the scenes look. The more engagement you get, the greater your reach will be, so give them a reason to react.
    2. Links to content you haven’t read
      Rule of thumb: if you haven’t read the content yourself, don’t share it with others. There are so many ways this can backfire; it could be misleading because your caption doesn’t align with the content (clickbait!), the content may be unhelpful or uninteresting which only makes you look unhelpful and uninteresting, or heck, the link may not even work!

      While posting curated content is a great way to establish brand authority and offer value to your clients without investing a lot of time, it can also do a lot of damage if you’re not taking at least some time to check it out.
    3. Blurry or unoptimized images
      There’s a huge difference between being authentic and being sloppy. We know that followers find trust in brands that feel relatable and human, but they also won’t trust a brand that doesn’t look professional or put together. Blurry, pixelated photos or those not optimized for specific social channels just look novice and lazy. And in a crowded newsfeed, those posts stand no chance against those that are visually pleasing and high-quality.You don’t have to be an expert photographer either. While having a design team can certainly help, there are platforms like Canva, Crello, and Desyner that make branding design and social optimization for your photos and videos easy.
    4. Too much self promotion
      Sometimes it’s totally ok to not have a CTA! It may just be a nice opportunity to interact with your audience without a sale driving the conversation.“Read our blog.” “Watch our interview.” “Subscribe for our newsletter.” If this is all someone sees in your newsfeed, you won’t be successful. Engagement is what will eventually lead to sales, so no need to force it.Maybe it’s a post that they can relate to or laugh about, a message they want to share with others, or a helpful tip that will improve their day-to-day. People are looking for content that brings value to their lives, so don’t just make your page all about you.
    5. Politics & religion
      Remember a time where talking politics and religion in public just wasn’t a thing? Well, that’s certainly changed. But for businesses, it’s still a good rule to follow. Of course, your values are important in showing who you are and what your business is all about, and those matter. But at the risk of alienating a large part of your customer base, regardless of what that may mean, keep your focus on what you can do for your customers. What do they want? What are their pain points? What do they need? By keeping the focus on your customer and finding their voice, you can avoid some of the unnecessary drama.
    6. Info you can’t validate
      We touched on this in the ‘obvious don’ts’ section, but it felt important to say again. In the era of fake news, being accurate and thorough has never been more important. The balance of your integrity lies in the ability to get validation on the facts and information you share with your audience. Even if it’s curated content from another source, as soon as it’s on your page, you’re responsible for the impact it has. Moral of the story, no posting or sharing until you get confirmation.
    7. Negative Stuff About Clients or Competitors
      A little positivity can go a long way. No matter what industry you’re in, people aren’t coming to your page for more bad news about the world. And you certainly don’t want to be associated with the negativity out there. Understanding those pain points of your customers is so important, but the reason for that is so that you can be the brand that provides a solution (see a negative turned positive).Staying positive also means taking the high road, so keep the negative comments about competitors and not-so-nice customers out of your messaging. Even a bad review is a chance to turn a crappy situation into a show of compassion and concern for every type of customer. Be the brand that people look forward to seeing on their page.For more information on how to build an engaging and successful social strategy, shyft is here to help. From finding your most authentic voice and utilizing competitor research to avoiding all the major no, no’s, contact us today to discuss your goals.

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