5 sloppy mistakes that hurt you on social media

You might not notice them, but people on social media sure do—and they’re faulting you for the mistakes.


I want to tear my hair out when I see people making social media faux pas that hurt their brands. They’re little things that you may not notice, but everyone else does.

Believe it or not, the following mistakes can send prospects (and even current customers) out the door:

1. No bios. Social media is about making connections, right? How am I supposed to know who you are and how you relate to me if there’s no description of what you do or where you work? I’m huge on networking through social media, and being online is just pointless if you don’t make yourself available to those willing to meet you.

2. Sloppy profile pictures. No picture, a blurry one, or an unprofessional shot are unacceptable image. For social media to work, there has to be a human element to it. Photos are an essential part of this. I will not follow you if your profile picture is an egg, a possession, or a movie star that “sorta kinda” looks like you.

3. Not giving credit or providing attribution. A way to lose connections is to share or use content without attribution. It’s easy enough to grab a Twitter handle or tag someone on Facebook, so take the extra seconds to be sure you have it when you repost. It’s also not just about borrowing content, but about creating a connection with the person who published that content so they know you’re an advocate. That’s how influencer relationships are built. Get yourself on the radar of that “special someone” online.

4. Deleting posts because of small errors. This is disruptive, especially if others have already retweeted you or linked to your tweet. The friends of friends who click on your content will end up getting a page load error—then what? Leave the mistake (it makes you seem less like a robot auto-tweeting anyway), and correct it in a follow-up post. Your community will appreciate it.

5. Cross-posting. Posting your tweets to Facebook isn’t amplifying anything. It’s annoying people. People who engage primarily on Facebook might not be familiar with hashtags. The likelihood is that when you post your tweets to Facebook, your fans or friends are seeing these and question marks are floating above their heads. Don’t devalue your community with the same content on each network. Customize content to your audiences for the best effect. Cross-posting can be done, but in moderation and with care.

Social media is a delicate balance of content, networking, and engagement. Be mindful of the moves you make to avoid confusion and aversion.

Have any other social media mistakes that drive you nuts?

Stacey Acevero is the social media manager at Vocus. A version of this story appeared on the Vocus blog. Follow Stacey on Twitter @sacevero.

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