We use cookies to improve your experience. By using our site you are accepting our cookie policy. 
Read our privacy policy to learn more.

Go to Marketing & Communications

Beware of These 30 Pieces of Terrible Social Media Advice

5th May 2015

Ellie Mirman, VP of marketing at Toast, dispels some common social media myths to help you create a plan for your business that works.


1. You need to be on every single social network.   Especially if you have limited time and resources, do not spread yourself too think by trying to maintain an active presence on every single social media site. Research and learn about the make-up of the audience that populates each social network so you can figure out where you should focus.

2. Focus on Facebook…Understanding Social Media (9780749473563)
Or LinkedIn…or Twitter… or social network XYZ. Yes, you should want to focus your social media marketing efforts but, at the same time, no single social media site is the Holy Grail. Experiment with a few sites, determine where your audience hangs out, and focus on the few that are the best fit for your company.
3. You don’t need email
Social media did not make e-mail marketing extinct: it just added another integrated channel to make e-mail even stronger.
4. Social media is the new search engine optimization (SEO)
Social media, in terms of function and strategy, does not replace SEO. In fact, it is just another case of two marketing strategies working better when they are put together.
5. You can automate all of your updates
Automating all your updates (and believe me, people can tell) screams, ‘I don’t care about actually being here. Just come and read my content’.
6. Send an auto direct message (DM) to all your new followers
Auto DMs are incredibly impersonal and are perceived as spam by most.
7. Include popular hashtags in your tweets to get more exposure
When it comes to topic-related hashtags (eg #marketing #boston), people do not really monitor those hashtags, so your organized content is not reaching a new audience.
8. Your prospects are not using social media, so you don’t need to be there
First of all, your prospects are using social media. According to research, 69 per cent of adults use social media. Do you think that none of your prospects are included in that majority?
9. The more you publish, and the more sites you are on, the better
Simply having a presence on multiple sites and spraying your content as much as possible won’t work. Yes, more content is better because it gives you more valuable social media fodder, but you need to make sure that all content is high quality.
10. Use a tool that autopublishes your posts to all social networks at once…to save time
You should consider that different social media sites favour different types and frequencies of content. For example, images do fantastically well on Facebook. And you can post much more frequently to Twitter than to Facebook or LinkedIn.
11. You can outsource your social media
Social media is a way for you to communicate with your aidence, which means it not only needs to be your voice, but the content of the conversations you are having need to also be based on your expertise in the industry.
12. An intern can manage it all for you
Who is even less qualified to talk about your industry than an out-sourced social media consultant? A college student with no real-world work experience. Social media is not just some throwaway marketing strategy: it is a public face of the company.
13. Don’t get personal
Show the personality behind your brand and people in order to make your social media marketing more lovable so that people naturally want to connect and engage with you.
14. Don’t let your employees use social media
All that does is hurt your relationship with your employees – it shows you don’t trust them – and you actually give up a great asset.
15. Don’t respond to negative comments to protect your brand
By not responding to negative comments, a small comment can spiral out of control for lack of attention. Admit mistakes when you need to, and share how you are going to address any issues. A simple response can actually turn an angry detractor into an appreciative promoter of your business.
16. Respond to every negative comment
Beware of negative comments that are simply meant to get a rise out of you. Beware of people simply trying to capitalize on your visibility by getting you to respond to their comment – or trolls who just want to cause trouble. Know when it is appropriate to step back instead of adding fuel to the fire.
17. Disable comments altogether to avoid negative comments…or delete negative comments
Disabling comments is both antisocial and unwise. People will say what they are going to say, whether you let them do it on your Facebook page or they have to use their own Facebook timeline as their platform. And by allowing people to comment on your own turf, you can manage the conversation.
18. If you make a mistake, you can delete the post to fix the problem
Think about what you say before you say it. And admit to any mistakes you make.
19. You need to have a social media policy
Social media policies waste time policing what is okay or not okay to publish in as single channel…. Instead of a fully fledged social media policy, put together some guidelines that are easy for your employees to remember and keep in mind as they make their own decisions about what to publish in social media.
20. Social media is completely free
…to be effective in social media, you will need to invest in human resources. Furthermore, the businesses that are truly effective in social media are also paying for marketing analytics software so they can measure the ROI of their social media marketing…
21. All you need is social media
Social media does not replace other marketing strategies. Rather, social media is a new channel for your marketing efforts and works best in conjunction with other channels…
22. You cannot measure social media
When you approach social media, just as when you approach any channel or tactic, you should know what your goal is. Is it new leads? Is it to increase the reach of your content? Is it to reduce customer support calls? Whatever your goal, measure the progress towards that goal.
23. Fan/follower growth is the most important metric
Instead, think about what matters most to your business- leads and customers –and focus on that as your top priority metric.
24. Engagement is the most important metric
Engagement is not only a non-paying metric, it is also a fuzzy metric that can be interpreted in many different ways. Yes, engagement is important as it relates to understanding what content resonates with your audience, or what attracts more people to your website. But like fan/follower count, engagement is just a piece in the puzzle that leads to an actual business metric such as revenue.
25. You should only publish messages about your company
Think how you can be valuable to give people a reason to follow and engage with you.
26. You should post X updates per day
Test the timing and frequency of your social media updates with your own audience, because that is what you should care about – the results with your specific audience.
27. Once you get your Facebook/Twitter/blog account set up, social media is super easy
You will never get results from social media marketing if you won’t put in the time and effort needed to make it successful.
28. You don’t need a strategy for social media
While you do need to be an agile social media marketer in order to be prepared for the unexpected, it is also important to go in with a strategy. More specifically, you should know your goals in regard to your social media efforts and how you are going to work to achieve them.
29. You should have separate social media accounts for every division of your company
Instead, focus your efforts on building up a single account on each chosen social network so that you get closer to seeing results faster.
30. You cannot simply ask people to comment, follow or retweet you
It may seem too forward to come out and ask someone to take an action in social media, but it actually works.

For more insight from Ellie and other social media experts, read Understanding Social Media.

Save 20% when you order the book with discount code MKTUSMB

Learn more


Marketing & Communications

Keep up to date with the latest innovations and best practices within marketing, branding, advertising and sales with our range of marketing books and resources from leading experts. FREE UK/US delivery on all orders.

Go to zone

Featured Titles

Understanding Social Media