Here are five social media habits you should stop right now.

1. Lazy cross-posting

Cross-posting, meaning to post the exact same content across multiple social networks, usually at the exact same time, is a bit of a touchy subject within the marketing community. Tools such as Hootsuite, which allow marketers to access all of their social networks via one central platform and push out the same content to all of them with a single click, are a tempting proposition for time-strapped marketers. But just because you can,  doesn’t mean you should.

The problem with cross-posting is that all social networks are different, and as such they need to be treated differently; network-specific features such as hashtags and mentions rarely translate well across platforms, while character limits can play havoc with copy and Urls. Above all though, cross-posting looks lazy, which does not reflect well on the business.

2. Using other people’s work without permission

Contrary to popular belief, just because something is found on Google doesn’t mean it is free for anyone to use.

The-internet-Antony-Clark-Nedroid-Fun-Times

Image credit: Anthony Clark. Nedroid Fun Times

Using other people’s work for your own benefit, be it imagery, copy, music, or any other type of content, without first seeking permission from the owner is not only unethical, it can also carry hefty fines, should the original owner decide to sue for damages – have a read of The $7,500 Blogging Mistake That Every Blogger Needs to Avoid! to hear from someone who learnt that the hard way.

Put simply, do not post things on the internet that aren’t yours, unless you have obtained permission first. If you share something that isn’t your work, credit the owner.

Need some help sourcing free stock images? Here you go.

3. #HashtagAbuse

Hashtag usage has gotten way out of hand in recent years, and as such a lot of businesses seem to have lost sight of how to use them effectively on social media. Here are some tips:

  1. Research existing hashtags to see what’s popular, and more importantly relevant, before posting
  2. Don’t post made up hashtags that no one else is using, it’s just a waste of valuable characters
  3. Proofread hashtags to avoid a #susanalbumparty scenario
  4. Use capitalisation to clearly define words #JustLikeThis
  5. Use sparingly (two is usually plenty)

Further reading on hashtag etiquette can be found here.

4. Showing up late to the party

If there’s one thing the internet loves, other than blue movies, cats, and arguing, it’s a social media challenge – the Harlem shake, the ice bucket challenge, and the mannequin challenge, all stand out as some of the more popular examples to have infected our social feeds in recent times.

Such trends are attractive to businesses because they present an opportunity for them to appear fun and relevant, and since most content can be produced with little more than a mobile phone and some cheap props, they’re relatively easy to churn out.

However, if my LinkedIn newsfeed has taught me anything down the years, it’s that there’s a time and a place for social media challenges, and an office block in Reading, three weeks after the trend has passed, is not it.

Jumping on trending topics is not always a bad thing, but it only works if it is done in a timely manner, is well executed, and relevant to the business – showing up late to a party is bad, but showing up to the wrong party is worse.

5. Lack of measurement

For social media to be successful it requires good planning, intelligent execution and constant analysis. While all of these stages present their own unique challenges, it is the latter where most businesses are falling short – according to research undertaken in 2016, nearly nine out of ten businesses aren’t measuring their social media marketing efforts. It’s not always because they don’t want to, but rather they don’t know how.

But in 2017, is there really an excuse for not measuring social media ROI? According to Jay Baer of Convince & Convert, no. In a recent article he concluded;

“If you want to measure social media ROI, stop wasting your time doing software demos and attending webinars. Just figure out what you want to track, where you can track it, think about both current customers and new customers, and go do it.”

While that’s easier said than done for many businesses, I have to say I agree with Jay’s sentiment. Every business engaging in social media activity as part of its marketing efforts needs to be measuring its effectiveness to some degree. By not doing this, it is impossible to know whether efforts count for anything at all.

Hootsuite’s Comprehensive Guide to Social Media ROI is a great starting point for anyone looking to measure the effectiveness of their social media activity.

Got a social media gripe you need to get off your chest? Leave a comment below.


Also published on Medium.