3 subtle social media blunders that make you look bad

Retweeting lousy links, mindlessly pasting across platforms and using useless hashtags can undermine your credibility.

Today’s savvy social media users are expert in finding (and pointing out) mistakes.

They are also quite good at detecting half-hearted effort, which is a major digital turnoff.

Here are three common blunders that can quickly ruin your credibility and make your business look bad:

1. Retweeting without reading

Always click on the link before sharing content. Otherwise, companies can end up retweeting The Onion.

Of course, there are more pitfalls that await those who mindlessly retweet articles based on headlines alone. You might be sharing a bad link that leads to a “404 error page,” or you could be linking to a source that’s less than credible.

Retweeting bad, outdated, spammy (or non-existent) content is disrespectful to your audience’s time and intelligence, and it makes you look extremely unprofessional.

Always read through content before sharing it with your followers.

2. Failing to customize content

Every social media platform is unique. Each channel requires a different touch—and different messaging.

Serving up the same content across multiple platforms makes you look lazy. It shows a lack of commitment and attention to detail, and it signals to your readers that you don’t prioritize social media (or your followers’ time).

It’s possible that nobody will notice your copy-and-paste game, but your shortcuts could be subtly undermining your credibility.

Formatting and functionality are other potential problems. Post from Instagram to Twitter, for example, and your users get an annoying link that requires clicking, instead of being able to view your image within their Twitter timeline. Similarly, your Instagram post’s instructions to “swipe left” for additional images won’t make sense on another platform. Your site-specific tags might not work, either.

3. Using hashtags on Facebook

Hashtags are useless on Facebook.

Nobody is using them for discovery, as people do on Twitter or Instagram.

Using hashtags on Facebook reeks of desperation—or it reveals that you are bulk scheduling alongside Twitter and haven’t bothered to amend your post. Either way, it’s a bad look.

Of course, there are many more ways to look unprofessional on social media, but sometimes it’s the subtle bugaboos that ding your reputation and drive potential customers away.

A version of this post first appeared on the Rose McGrory Social Media blog.

(Image via)


4 Responses to “3 subtle social media blunders that make you look bad”

    Lenox Mhlanga says:

    Organisations that do not invest in social media management and hiring the appropriate skills are doing themselves a bus disfavour. The threats to organisational reputation that lurk in those platforms can prove very costly without the correct strategies and intervention.

    Marilyn Anderson says:

    Great post, Kate. Thank you!

    Emily, so true about the spelling mistakes and, Lennox, I couldn’t agree more.

    My business partner (Shannon Peel) manages those elements for her corporate clients and sees the damage done by carelessness all the time. Reputation is everything.

    Renee says:

    Your wrong about hastags looking bad on Facebook. I made a food related video and used a hashtag and got nearly 6 thousand views. Hastags are need to zero in on your target audience. Without them, your just posting to your family and friends and not a wider audience.

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