20 Social Media Mistakes Businesses Make (and How to Avoid Them)

Social media has become one of the most powerful tools for businesses to build relationships, engage with customers, and promote products or services.

However, there are some common mistakes that can derail your success on social media.

20 social media mistakes to avoid

In this article, we’ll break down 20 of the most common social media mistakes businesses make—and how you can avoid them.

By avoiding these mistakes, you’ll save yourself hours of wasted time, money, and legal troubles.

Read on to learn how to make the most out of your social media presence.

Mistake #1 – Using a Personal Account

Using your personal account for business purposes can be a major mistake.

First, on most platforms, it violates their terms of service to use your personal account to promote your business.

You risk getting your account shut down, losing all your content and followers, and having to start over from scratch.

mistake 1 using a personal account

Second, having two separate accounts allows you to keep your professional and personal lives separate, as well as manage different types of content more efficiently.

Creating a dedicated business account is the best way to ensure that your business messages are communicated in the right context.

Third, a business account is free and includes many benefits, such as:

  • Analytics: Most social media platforms offer built-in analytics tools for businesses that allow you to track engagement, reach, and other valuable metrics. These insights can help inform future marketing strategies.
  • Credibility: A well-maintained business account demonstrates professionalism and dedication to potential customers or clients who visit your page.
  • Scheduling Features: Many platforms have scheduling options specifically designed for businesses, making it easier to plan out consistent content ahead of time.
  • Promotional Opportunities: Business accounts often come with additional advertising options not available on personal profiles, such as sponsored posts or ads targeting specific demographics.

Mistake #2 – Not Optimizing Your Bio

Your profile bio is a great opportunity to introduce your company and let people know what you do, and entice them to take action.

Once you’ve created a business account on all of your social media platforms, make sure your bio is optimized to capture leads or drive traffic back to your website or your storefront.

mistake 2 not optimizing your bio

Make sure to include relevant keywords, provide an accurate description of your services, and link back to your website or a landing page so you can capture their contact information.

These simple tweaks can help boost your visibility and encourage customers to take action.

Mistake #3 – Using Bots to Increase Engagement

Using bots to increase engagement on social media is not a good strategy and can lead to serious problems for your business.

While bots may seem like an easy way to boost likes, comments, or followers quickly, they often create more harm than good.

For one, bots are rarely able to engage in meaningful conversations—which makes them ineffective at creating relationships with customers.

Second, many networks have strict rules against using bots and can levy serious penalties for businesses that are caught using them.

mistake 3 using bots to increase engagement

Finally, bots may lead to a decrease in organic engagement as people become aware that the interactions they’re having aren’t real.

Rather than resorting to purchasing followers and likes, alternative strategies for growing an engaged audience organically include posting consistently, sharing valuable content that resonates with your target demographic, utilizing hashtags, partnering with influencers, and engaging in genuine conversations with users who show interest in what you have to offer.

Growing an engaged audience takes time and effort, but it leads to stronger connections between you and potential customers.

Mistake #4 – Not Being Consistent 

Consistency is key when it comes to social media marketing.

Posting too infrequently or inconsistently won’t help you build relationships with potential customers or engage your current followers.

If people don’t see new content on a regular basis, they are likely to forget about you and move on.

Plus, the algorithms on each platform favor accounts that are active and engaging, so if you want your content to be shown to more people, you need to post consistently.

mistake 4 not being consistent

To help with consistency, set aside time each week and schedule your posts in advance.

Additionally, use a tool like The Social Media Content Club, which provides content ideas, fill-in-the-blank captions, done-for-you posts, hashtag lists, and professionally designed images for every day of the year.

This will help you stay organized, ensure that you’re sharing valuable content, and save time by planning ahead.

Mistake #5 – Having Unrealistic Expectations

Having unrealistic expectations when it comes to growing your social media accounts can be a major mistake.

Many people expect overnight success, but building an engaged audience takes time and effort.

If you don’t see results right away, it doesn’t mean that what you’re doing isn’t working—you just need to give it more time.

mistake 5 having unrealistic expectations

Don’t get discouraged if your posts don’t get the traction you expect right away.

Instead, find ways to optimize your strategy and experiment with different types of content.

With patience and a bit of trial and error, you’ll be able to grow an engaged audience that will help take your business to the next level.

Mistake #6 – Stealing Images

Using images that you don’t own the rights to can be illegal and lead to serious consequences.

This includes using copyrighted material or photographs of people without their permission.

It’s important to always double-check the copyright information of any image you want to use before posting it online.

You should also ask for permission from anyone featured in your photos before sharing them, even if it’s a selfie.

mistake 6 using illegal images

If you receive permission to use another person’s photo, make sure you give proper attribution by naming the photographer and tagging them if possible.

If you want to be extra cautious, take your own photographs for use on social media or invest in stock images from reputable sources.

By following these simple guidelines, you can help avoid potential legal issues and protect yourself and your business.

Mistake #7 – Not Using or Abusing Hashtags

Hashtags are an essential part of any successful social media strategy.

They can help you reach more people, increase engagement, and even acquire new leads.

For instance, using relevant hashtags allows users searching for those tags to discover your content.

Including a few popular hashtags lets you join larger conversations happening on social media, boosting visibility and engagement with your post.

However, it’s important to use hashtags strategically. Overusing them can come off as spammy and make your content hard to read.

You should also be sure to include a mix of popular and niche tags that are relevant to the topic you’re discussing in order to reach more people.

mistake 7 not using or abusing hashtags

To get the most out of each post, research trending hashtags and use ones that are related to your industry or niche.

Ultimately, cultivating an effective hashtag strategy can help draw more people to your social media profiles, create meaningful connections, and boost engagement with your content.

If you need help researching trending hashtags, sign up for a free trial of the Social Media Content Club. Each month you’ll get a list of popular and trending hashtags!

Mistake #8 – Bad Grammar or Spelling

Grammatical mistakes can be distracting and make your content harder to read.

In some cases, they can even lead to misunderstanding or confusion.

Additionally, using incorrect spelling can damage your credibility as a business.

To ensure that your posts are clear and professional-looking, take the time to proofread before you post.

mistake 8 bad grammar or spelling

You may also want to use a tool like Grammarly to help check for any spelling or grammar errors.

Just keep in mind that you still want your content to feel conversational. Good grammar on social media is more relaxed than what you would find in a research paper.

By putting a bit of extra effort into crafting well-written (and conversational) posts, you can create content that builds trust and authority with your audience.

Mistake #9 – Not Disclosing Paid Partnerships

To avoid legal issues and ensure the integrity of your relationship with followers, it is important to be clear and upfront about any sponsored content you share.

Being transparent about your business relationships and advertising efforts not only helps you stay compliant with FTC guidelines but also fosters a sense of trust between you and your audience.

By being upfront about sponsored content, you demonstrate that you value honesty and integrity – qualities that customers appreciate in any brand.

mistake 9 not disclosing paid partnerships

Here are a few examples of appropriate disclosure statements:

  • #ad: One simple way to disclose sponsorship is by adding “#ad” at the beginning or end of your post caption. This hashtag clearly indicates that the post contains promotional material without detracting from its overall message.
  • [Sponsored]: Including “[Sponsored]” within brackets before your caption text provides another straightforward method for disclosing paid partnerships on social media platforms like Instagram or Facebook.
  • “In partnership with [Brand Name]”: For a more personalized approach, consider mentioning the sponsoring company directly within your post copy using phrases such as “In partnership with [Brand Name].” This type of disclosure feels less formal while still effectively communicating the nature of your relationship with the sponsor.
  • Instagram’s Paid Partnership Feature: If you’re using Instagram to promote sponsored content, take advantage of their built-in Paid Partnership feature. This tool automatically adds a “Paid partnership with [Brand Name]” label above your post image, ensuring that followers are aware of the promotional nature of your content.

By being open and transparent about these relationships, you can avoid legal trouble and maintain trust with your audience while still effectively promoting products or services that align with your brand values.

Mistake #10 – Skipping Captions

No matter what platform you’re using, captions are an essential part of a good social media strategy.

They provide context for your photos and videos, create a stronger connection with followers, and even help improve your search engine rankings.

Captions also give you an opportunity to add personality to your posts and explain why you’re sharing something in more detail.

mistake 10 skipping captions

Crafting compelling captions involves being concise yet informative, using appropriate hashtags for discoverability, and including a call-to-action when relevant (such as asking followers to share their thoughts on a topic).

If you struggle to write compelling captions, then use a tool like The Social Media Content Club, which provides pre-written captions that can easily be customized for your unique business.

Mistake #11 – Posting Only a Caption

Posting content on social media without any accompanying visuals can be a major mistake. Without an image or video, your post is likely to go unnoticed.

The human brain is wired to process visual information more quickly than written words—so including relevant visuals with your posts helps capture the attention of readers and increases engagement.

Additionally, research has found that posts accompanied by visuals generate higher engagement, clicks, and shares.

mistake 11 posting only a caption

For best results, choose images or videos that are high-quality and relevant to the topic you’re discussing.

If you don’t have access to professional photography or video footage, consider using stock images or videos or a tool like The Social Media Content Club, which provides hundreds of new images every month.

Mistake #12 – Not Replying to Comments

It’s important for businesses to take the time to reply to comments on their social media posts.

Not only does this show that you care about your followers and appreciate their feedback, but it also helps create a sense of community and connection with them.

Responding to comments demonstrates that you are there to listen to their opinions and respond thoughtfully—which can lead to an increase in customer satisfaction and loyalty.

mistake 12 not replying to comments

Additionally, replying to comments can help your post show up more often on people’s feeds since commenting is a signal to social media platforms that a post is engaging.

Engagement is key to growing your social media account, so replying to comments will help your account grow.

Mistake #13 – Ignoring Negative Feedback

Ignoring negative feedback is a mistake that can have serious consequences for businesses.

While it may be tempting to delete or ignore comments that are critical of your brand, this strategy is unlikely to help you address the actual problem and often creates more harm than good.

When faced with criticism, businesses should take a moment to reflect on the issue before responding – focusing on understanding the customer’s perspective and finding a productive way to address their concerns.

A well-crafted response can help de-escalate the situation, build trust with customers, and even turn negative feedback into an opportunity for improvement.

mistake 13 ignoring negative feedback

Taking negative feedback seriously is also key to building long-term customer loyalty and ensuring that customers have a positive experience with your brand.

Keep in mind this does not apply to mean or abusive comments.

If someone is being disrespectful, hateful, or using offensive language, you should not hesitate to delete the comment and/or block the user.

Mistake #14 – Being Overly Promotional

Posting too much promotional content on your social media profiles is a common mistake that many businesses make.

While it may seem like a good idea to advertise products and services as often as possible, this approach can quickly turn off your followers.

Social media is about connecting and engaging with people—so if all you ever post are sales pitches, then it’s likely that people won’t stick around.

mistake 14 being overly promotional

Rather than posting exclusively promotional content, focus on providing value to your followers by creating interesting and informative posts that are relevant to your brand.

By diversifying the type of content you share, your followers will feel more engaged and connected to your brand—which can lead to increased loyalty and better long-term results.

For help diversifying your content, read: What to Post on Social Media – 100 Post Ideas.

By taking the time to craft diverse, valuable posts, your business can create meaningful connections with its followers and maximize engagement.

Mistake #15 – Bad-Mouthing Competitors

No matter how you feel about the competition, it’s important to maintain a professional and respectful tone when discussing them on social media.

Bad-mouthing your competitors on social media can have serious consequences for your business—from damaging your reputation to alienating potential customers.

There’s nothing wrong with highlighting what makes your product or service unique and better than your competitors—just do it in a professional way.

mistake 15 bad mouthing competitors

Instead of tearing them down, try to focus on building up your brand and highlighting why you’re the best choice for customers.

This approach allows you to affirm why your business is the right choice without criticizing other businesses.

It also encourages users to learn more about what makes your business special without feeling attacked or put off.

Mistake #16 – Ignoring Mentions

Failing to monitor what is said about your business on social media can be a missed opportunity.

Not only will you miss out on positive testimonials from customers or valuable feedback that could help you improve, but it can also mean losing potential customers who don’t feel heard or acknowledged.

When people mention your brand on social media, take the time to read their post and respond promptly.

This shows your followers and potential customers that you’re listening to them and value their opinions.

It also allows you to address any complaints or questions they may have—which can help build trust and increase customer satisfaction.

mistake 16 ignoring mentions

Monitoring mentions also allows you to capture positive customer experiences that you can use as testimonials on your website or other marketing materials.

Additionally, responding to mentions is a great way to get more followers—as people will be more likely to follow your account if they know you’re active and responsive.

Mistake #17 – Not Using Scheduling Tools

Using tools to schedule your social media posts can help maximize your efficiency and ensure that your content is getting in front of the right people at the right time.

Scheduling tools allow you to plan out posts in advance, which can be a huge time-saver—especially for businesses with multiple accounts or platforms to manage.

Plus, scheduling tools can help ensure that your content is being posted consistently and on time—which is key to staying top of mind with your audience.

Using scheduling tools also makes it easy to track the performance of your posts and adjust your strategies as needed.

mistake 17 not leveraging automation tools

To find the best scheduling tool for your business, read: Best Social Media Scheduling Tools for Small Business Owners.

By leveraging scheduling tools, you can maximize the impact of your social media content while saving time and energy in the process.

Mistake #18 – Not Having a Plan

One of the biggest mistakes that businesses make when it comes to social media is not having a plan.

Having a plan helps to ensure that your business is taking consistent, strategic action toward achieving its goals.

From deciding what type of content to post to setting up systems for responding to customer comments and complaints—having a plan in place will make it easier to stay consistent and hit your goals.

mistake 18 not having a plan

Creating a plan doesn’t have to be complicated—it can simply include setting clear objectives, creating an actionable strategy, and establishing metrics for measuring success.

Determine which platforms you will post content on, how frequently you’ll post, when you will create and schedule the content, and how often you will analyze performance and revise strategies.

By taking the time to create a plan, you can ensure that you’re making the most of your time and resources on social media.

Mistake #19 – Not Analyzing Performance

Social media success isn’t just about posting content; it’s also important to track, measure, and analyze performance in order to understand what’s working and what isn’t.

By analyzing performance metrics, such as likes, comments, shares, impressions, or clicks, you can identify which posts are performing well and adjust your strategies accordingly.

mistake 19 not analyzing performance

Additionally, you should track the engagement rate of each post in order to determine whether users are actually engaging with your content or simply scrolling past it.

Analyzing performance metrics can help you identify trends and insights that you can use to make better decisions going forward.

Mistake #20 – Not Experimenting With New Strategies

Social media is a rapidly changing environment, and what works today may not work tomorrow.

That’s why it’s important for businesses to experiment with new strategies in order to stay ahead of the curve.

mistake 20 not experimenting with new strategies

From trying out new platforms or features to running A/B tests on content or ads—experimenting with different tactics can help you find what resonates best with your audience.

Overall, experimenting with new strategies can help you discover what works best for your business and ensure that you’re staying up-to-date with the latest trends in social media.

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content club gif

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Conclusion

By avoiding these common social media mistakes, your business can create more effective strategies and achieve better results.

From creating valuable content to responding to mentions and leveraging automation tools—there are many things that your business can do to make sure your social media efforts pay off.

By taking the time to develop a strategy and track performance, you can ensure that you’re making the most of your time and resources on social media.

Ultimately, this will lead to better relationships with customers, higher engagement levels, and increased loyalty—all of which are essential for any successful business.


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By Angie Gensler

Angie Gensler is passionate about teaching entrepreneurs how to grow their business using social media and digital marketing...without the hustle and overwhelm. Angie believes building a business should be fun – not an exhausting whirlwind of sleepless nights and unlimited cups of coffee. Instead, Angie teaches entrepreneurs how to build a business and life they love at their speed, on their time, with their rules.

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