These deadly sins of social media can, at first, be tempting to commit, especially if you are unaware of the consequences. However, resisting the urges to cut corners will help you turn from sinner to a social media saint.


1. Only talking about themselves

Social media is all about being, well, social! If you were to meet with someone for a coffee and all they talked about was themselves, you would quickly get bored and think they are pretty self-indulgent. The same goes for posting on social media. It’s all about creating interesting conversations that people want to listen to and join in with. If you are interesting, helpful and outgoing, you will quickly make friends on social media.

Become a saint

  • Share content from other sources that your audience will find useful.
  • Engage with posts from other users such as your ideal customers, local businesses and those within the same niche.
  • Create posts that provoke other users to respond, such as a question or useful information.

2. Posting exactly the same post on each network

If you post something on Facebook and then the same thing on Twitter, you are not giving people any extra value for following you on more than one social network. Also, different forms of media can suit one social media channel better than another. For example, Twitter is ideal for running competitions that require users to ‘follow’ your Twitter account to enter. Instagram, on the other hand, is ideal for showcasing beautiful photos of your product.
Some businesses use automation tools to share one post across multiple social media channels. This can be a timesaver, but posts created for Facebook that are then copied to Twitter will be cut off mid-sentence if the post goes over 140 characters. This looks messy, makes the message pointless and could make people think that you don’t ever bother with that social media account directly and, therefore, feel little reason to follow it.

Become a saint

  • Craft unique copy and images for each social media channel, ideally.
  • When posting about the same message, adapt the copy to each social media channel.
  • Share different types of media or run different campaigns on each social media channel.
  • Give people a reason to want to follow all of your social channels by offering them different things.

3. Using copyright protected images

Did you know that all images on the internet are protected by copyright law unless specifically stated otherwise? Taking an image from Google Images or from someone else’s website is actually illegal. It’s a common misconception that just providing an attribution is acceptable. It doesn’t. You may think that no one will find out but it’s very easy for image owners to check who has published their image on the internet and take you to court. It does happen, too.

Become a saint

  • Always ask permission to use an image if it doesn’t explicitly say it is royalty-free.
  • Search for images with ‘Commercial use allowed’ tags on Flickr. These are safe to use as long as you provide the correct attribution.
  • Create your own images with a camera or free online design tools such as Canva.
  • Buy stock images that you can then legally use. Check out Getty Images and ShutterStock.
  • Search for royalty-free images on free image websites such as StockFreeImages and Free Images.

4. Displaying poor-quality designs

Ever been on a business’s Facebook Page and their logo is blurred and their cover image is half cut-off? Poor design reflects badly on a business. If you can’t be bothered to make your images look good then potential customers may worry your products could be shabby, too. Editing images for each social media channel can be time-consuming but it’s worth every minute (or every penny if you pay someone else to do it).

Become a saint

  • Resize your profile picture and cover image to the recommended sizes for each social media channel.
  • If the text is blurry on your images, try saving the image file as a PNG then upload it.
  • Make sure your social media branding is consistent with your printed material, website and posters.
  • Get someone else to create your social media designs for you. *Jenni waves frantically* I can help!

5. Not responding to comments and messages

If a potential customer called you up or walked into your shop and tried to talk to, you wouldn’t ignore them. First of all, it’s polite to respond, but that potential customer may want to buy something from you. Make sure your check you social media accounts every day for messages and always respond. If the message is a complaint or is negative towards your business, respond professionally and try to resolve the issue, like you would if that person shared their issue with you face-to-face.

Become a saint

  • Check your social media accounts at least once a day for messages.
  • Download the apps for each social media channel onto your phone so you get notified of messages.
  • Respond in a professional manner.

6. Being unprofessional

When you speak to a customer face-to-face you will be professional because you are representing your business and you want your customer to trust you. For some reason, many businesses don’t mirror the same behaviour on their social media channels. Maybe because it is easy to say what you feel when hiding behind a screen. But remember; social media comments are public so not only the customer will see it, potentially anyone can. The other common mistake many businesses make on social media is not checking spelling and using correct grammar. Seeing abbreviated words such as ‘luv’ instead of Love and the wrong character case such as ‘i’ instead of ‘I’ looks unprofessional.

Become a saint

  • Keep a consistent tone-of-voice when over the phone, face-to-face and on social media.
  • Be polite at all times.
  • Check spelling and use correct English grammar.

7. Posting nothing at all

Visiting a Facebook Page or Twitter account of a business to see they haven’t posted since 2013 or, even worse, have never posted at all, makes you wonder whether that business is still operating. If you don’t post anything on your social media channels you are also missing a huge opportunity to increase the awareness of your brand and potentially get more customers.

Become a saint

  • Try to post consistently across your social media channels.
  • Posting at least once a day is ideal (more often, the better).
  • If you haven’t got time, outsource the management of your social media channels *Jenni frantically waves hands again* I can help!

Now you can replace the demons of poor design and bad use of grammar with a bright halo above your interesting content and professional appearance. Welcome to social media heaven.

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