Nobody’s perfect.

In the age of lightning-fast social media, mistakes can happen fast. Even if you delete them or apologize, the effects can linger. Some social media mistakes are obvious, but there are other, more subtle social media blunders you may be making. Here are some social media faux pas you want to avoid:

Common mistakes include:

  • Overselling or being too self-centered on social media.

  • Posting when you’re tired/angry/intoxicated.

  • Failing to proofread and making silly spelling/grammatical errors

  • Hitting “reply all” in an email.

These are more subtle mistakes to watch out for:

  • Failing to realize that not all social media platforms are identical. Each has its own purpose, tone, and audience. Don’t automate posts or fail to customize your message for each platform.

  • Overextending yourself on social media. Some companies like to “reserve” their company name across platforms to make sure others don’t steal them (it’s your call) but be wary of setting up social media accounts just to let them languish in cyberspace.

  • Flying blind without a plan. Simply having a presence on social media and posting occasionally without a strategy isn’t enough. Decide what you want out of social media and craft an approach to achieve these goals.

  • Sharing second-hand material without vetting it thoroughly. If you’re going to Retweet or Share an article, make sure you’ve actually read it all the way to the end. You don’t want to misrepresent yourself or your brand.

  • Posting content too often or not enough. It’s hard to strike a balance, but try. Consider the platform and the response rate from your audience. Too much content feels like spam and too little feels like you don’t care.
  • Ignoring time of day and time zones. To maximize engagement, consider when your target audience is online. Don’t post when you’re supposed to be on the clock for someone else.
  • Believing your sense of humor is universally appealing. Too sarcastic, negative, or inappropriate for someone else’s taste can make you and your brand look bad.
  • Missing opportunities to reply to or interact with people. Social media is about being social, not just using it to amplify your own message. This is especially important with negative comments.

How can you make sure you catch these and any other kind of social media blunder? Follow these rules of thumb:

  • Don’t post anything you wouldn’t want your grandmother or prospective employer to see, even if you think your privacy settings are strong.

  • Regularly review and update your privacy settings to restrict your audience for personal accounts, and to be able to review posts/pictures that others tag you in.

  • After you decide to post something, take a few minutes before actually posting it.

John Bradley Jackson
Author, Entrepreneur, Professor
© Copyright 2014
All rights reserved
About the author
  1. Victor Nunez, Jr.

    Great tips and reminders to keeping your social media professional, consistent with your message and being successful.

    • John Bradley Jackson

      Thanks Victor. People are watching.

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