Top 10 social media mistakes that make me go “GAAAHHH!”


Some customers’ reaction to social media. Public domain image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. Artist: Rupert Bunny, 1904.

Despite all the advice that’s out there about what to do and what NOT to do in social media, it boggles my mind that some people are STILL messing it up. Most people are aware by now that posting revealing info about their jobs, denigrating others or talking on social media when they’re supposed to be at home sick gets them the frowny face from their bosses (or worse), but it still happens and I shake my head when I hear about it in the news.

But what’s even scarier is that I see mistakes happening on the social media of businesses, too. For them, it’s even more important not to make errors since social media represents their brand and differentiates them from others in the marketplace.

So if you’re new to social media for business purposes, these are my personal top 10 rules to help you stay out of trouble:

1. Spell-check, spell-check, spell-check. And then check again in the dictionary. I like spell-check, but nothing beats a human. (Except Deep Blue.)

2. Please…I’m begging you….no blurry photos on sites such as Twitter or Facebook. (I mean, really? Do I have to have the ghosts of Ansel Adams and Alfred Eisenstaedt come and whack you upside the head with their tripods?)

3. Give fans and followers a reason to stay interested, other than job postings and holiday greetings. Add in some cool stuff now and then to give people something they’ll enjoy seeing. Raytheon’s Twitter account is a great example — they post interesting stuff about the work they do and how it will make life better for people.  Party City’s Facebook is also a site I admire — it’s creative, interesting and colorful. Plus, they engage their customers by asking their customers’ opinions or to send fun Instagram images.

4. Keep posting. Often. If you haven’t posted in years, it sends a message. (And did I mention your account could get deactivated for lack of use?)

5. Stay in touch with what’s happening in the news. Two words: Aurora dress. Ouch. FAIL!

6. If you ever do make a mistake, fix it. Fast. Adding a sprinkle of humor as you admit your goof-up doesn’t hurt.

7. Make sure your social media site’s open to the public. Why block some potential customers from seeing it? They get cranky when that happens.

8. When you post is as important as what you post. If your post is intended for international audiences, not just a local or national audience, it’s a good idea to take time zones into consideration.

9. Your social media is much more than just another way to get your marketing message out to the public. One of the best pieces of advice I ever got was to split your social media 80/20; 20% of it can be about products or services you’re selling; the rest of it should add value to your intended audience.

10. Lighten up your YouTube videos. Some business videos I’ve seen on YouTube feature one speaker talking…and talking…and talking. No change of perspective, no reaction shots from the audience, no diagrams, nothing. (*nods off during video and crashes to floor*) These videos could be SO much better with a little creative editing.

And here endeth my mini-lecture. Thank you and good night.

Side note: If anyone wants the correct dimensions for images, etc. for social media sites, the nice folks at Luna Metrics have put together a useful infographic for your reference.


Filed under Social Media

25 responses to “Top 10 social media mistakes that make me go “GAAAHHH!”

  1. As far as videos go, it’s not only creative editing. You need a shooter who has … looking for the word … looking … looking. Got it! Talent. Imagination. Creativity. And the willingness to use it. You can’t edit to include multiple angles if you invariably shoot from only one. I have trouble understanding why these people have jobs. They are BAD. I mean, really BAD BAD BAD.

    No need to wait for the ghost of Ansel Adams or Eisie. A few living photographers could do the job. I personally recommend defenestration. It’s so much fun for the defenestrators.

    There’s no excuse for fuzzy pictures. Anyone can take quality snapshots with a decent point & shoot. Just take a few extra shots and can pick the best. And good grief, learn to — minimally — crop the photos. You don’t always need art. Usually, especially on a business site, all you need is enough light, a reasonably good eye and auto-focus.

  2. Love it! All simple things to avoid, but so many people don’t do them!

    • I think many times people feel that sloppy is acceptable (such as blurry photos or posting too-large photos to Facebook which don’t fit Facebook’s dimensions) but it creates a negative impression of that business. *sighs* But it’s often an easy fix, at least.

  3. you make some good points–I am thinking of becoming a media consultant for business blogs based on what you said–seriously this was really good info

  4. All that you wrote there! I’m gonna be more careful from now on.

    • *smiles wryly* These are my pet peeves about social media when it’s used in business, but I adhere to the same rules in my personal social media as well. Thanks for stopping in and commenting.

  5. I think spell-checking – at least in terms of blogging – is the most brutal element, because it’s so hard to edit in the same moment you’re writing. With longer-term writing you have distance to then come back and see your mistakes. But with this sort of thing, you’re usually writing and publishing.

    And THAT… is why I screw up “your” and “you’re” so often…

  6. Clean. Neat. Clear. And updated with new. Why is it so hard? (Oh, just too busy. No one will notice. Or “It’s good enough.” Or “It’s my style and I like it.”)
    Pride in product, please?
    Thanks for a great post. Should be recommended reading.

  7. Great post. I have a post-it note near my keyboard with a reminder about email to myself: think, write, read, edit, think some more and send.

  8. No. 1 is an issue I sometimes deal with. Even after spell-checking, somehow I don’t notice a missing letter or word until after I hit “Send”. Argh.

    One thing I dislike is when authors only use Twitter to promote their work and end up clogging my stream with updates and purchase links for their books. =/

  9. I did forward this post to my sons. One has a business degree and one is studying for the same. Thank you.

    • Thank you, calipatti, I’m honored! Bloomberg just published an article yesterday that your sons may be interested in. It’s called “Hey Job Applicants, Time To Stop the Social-Media Sabotage” by Venessa Wong. It has some good info about how social media affects job applicants. Worth a look.

  10. Agreeing with you and confessing also of editing gaffs. The brain works faster than the fingers and the eye sees the correction already in place!
    Great post– application to personal blogs as well.

  11. I can’t keep up with all the social media stuff and regret having a facebook page. They might deactivate my page if I don’t use it? I hope so! It’s better than having one just malingering out there.

  12. I’m new to your blog, but I will definitely read all your posts from now on- they are all helpful, informative, and surprisingly witty! What I noticed about your list is that it’s very easy to notice these mistakes when other people make them, and a lot harder to catch yourself doing exactly that. I’m still pretty new to this social media thing, and I’ll double-check myself on these mistakes. Thanks!


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