Put These 10 Social Media Marketing Mistakes in the Rearview Mirror

person holding gray video camera near green leaf plant during daytime

Social media marketing has become essential to any successful business strategy. It allows companies to connect with their target audience, increase brand awareness, and drive sales. Unfortunately, many businesses fall into making common social media marketing mistakes that hinder their success. 

Let’s take a closer look at 10 social media marketing mistakes you need to put in the rearview mirror to drive your business forward to success. 

Whether you’re new to social media marketing or a seasoned pro, you’ll want to make a plan for your social media strategy to maximize its potential in 2023 and beyond. 

Let’s dive in with the most obvious mistake for your social media marketing campaigns.

1) Not Having a Strategy for Social Media Marketing

1) Not Having a Strategy for Social Media Marketing - chess pieces on board

Not having a strategy for social media marketing is the most common mistake and will prevent a business from effectively utilizing social media to reach its marketing goals. 

Without a clear strategy, a business will have more difficulty creating consistent and engaging content, connecting with the target audience, and measuring the success of social media efforts.

Key Stat: According to Agility PR Solutions, nearly 40% of small businesses have no social media marketing strategy.

Here are some reasons why not having a strategy for social media marketing can negatively impact your social media marketing efforts.

Inconsistent content

Without a strategy, businesses may not be able to create consistent and engaging content for their social media channels. This can lead to a lack of engagement and interest from their target audience.

Let’s face it, to be successful on social media, you need to post frequently; on some channels… two to three times per day. That’s not easy to do, but not having a presence can be more detrimental and have greater business consequences.

Targeting the wrong audience

A lack of strategy can also lead to ineffective targeting of the target audience. This can result in low engagement and poor performance on social media platforms. You must understand who your target market is and then the buyer within.

Missed opportunities

Without a strategy in place, businesses may not take advantage of opportunities to engage with their audience, build brand awareness, and drive traffic to their website. Bad marketing is fraught with missed opportunities, and social media mistakes are a large contributor.

Wasted resources

A lack of strategy can also result in wasted resources on ineffective social media campaigns, such as time, money, and effort. If you manage in-house, you need to have strong communication so your posts can have maximum impact. If you outsource, you need to ensure you’re getting value and seeing the return on your investment.

Difficulty measuring success

Without clear goals and metrics, measuring the success of social media marketing efforts and making informed decisions about future strategies can be difficult. This also leads to lost revenue and a loss of potential customers.

How to build a strategy

Here are some tips on how to build a social media strategy:

Define your goals: Start by identifying your social media goals and objectives. What do you want to achieve with social media? Examples include increasing brand awareness, generating leads, or improving customer engagement.

Know your audience: You need to know your target audience to create content that resonates with them. Understand their demographics, interests, pain points, and behaviors.

Choose the right platforms: Not all social platforms are created equal. Choose the platforms where your audience is most active and where you can best achieve your goals.

Create a content plan that aligns with your goals, target audience, and chosen platforms. This should include the types of content you’ll create, how often you’ll post, and the tone and style of your content.

Develop a brand messaging and tone of voice: Your social media content should be consistent with your brand’s messaging and tone of voice. This includes the language you use, the types of images and videos you post, and your profiles’ overall look and feel.

Set metrics for success: You need to track your social media performance to know if your strategy is working. Identify the key metrics you’ll use to measure success, such as engagement rate, reach, and click-through rate.

Analyze and adjust: Use your metrics to analyze your social media performance and adjust your strategy as needed. Identify what’s working well and what’s not, and make changes to improve your results.

2) Neglecting Social Media Marketing Competitive Research

2) Neglecting Social Media Marketing Competitive Research - selective focus photography foosball table

Neglecting to incorporate competitive research into your social media marketing strategy can be a big mistake. Many brands fail to focus on what works for other brands. Even those they aspire to be like.

Not paying attention to other’s success leads to the following:

Missed opportunities

By not analyzing your competitors’ social media activities, you might miss out on potential opportunities to grow your own social media presence. 

For example, your competitors might be using certain hashtags, running successful campaigns, or posting marketing messages that resonate well with their audience. 

By not keeping an eye on their activities, you might miss out on replicating their success.

Lack of differentiation

If you neglect competitive research, you may end up copying what others are doing or creating content that’s very similar to your competitors. 

This could result in a lack of differentiation and make it difficult for your brand to stand out in a crowded market. 

It’s important to understand what makes your brand unique and how you can leverage that to differentiate yourself from your competitors.

Inefficient use of resources

Inefficient use of resources refers to a situation where a company or organization is not using its resources (such as time, money, and manpower) effectively to achieve its goals. 

In the context of social media marketing, inefficient use of resources can have several negative impacts, including:

Poor ROI: When resources are not used efficiently, it can lead to a poor return on investment for social media marketing efforts. 

For example, if a brand is spending a lot of money on social media advertising but not seeing a significant increase in sales or engagement, it could be a sign that its resources are not being used effectively.

Wasted time: Social media marketing is a time-consuming process, and inefficient use of time can result in reduced productivity in other areas of the business that may be more valuable. 

How to start competitive research

Here are some steps to start your competitive research on social media:

Research phase

Identify your main competitors: List the main competitors in your industry or niche.

Analyze their social media profiles: Visit your competitors’ profiles to understand their branding, tone, content, and engagement rates. Look for any unique features, patterns, or themes that they use. Do they use different social media platforms than you?

Analyze their content: Take note of the content your competitors share on social media, such as photos, videos, blog posts, or infographics. Pay attention to the topics, tone, and voice of their content. Do they employ user-generated content?

Analyze their engagement rates: Engagement rates indicate how well your competitors’ content resonates with their audience. Take note of their likes, shares, comments, and follower count. Do they take advantage of social media trends?

Creation phase

Identify gaps and opportunities: Use the information you gathered to identify gaps in the market or areas where you can differentiate your brand. Consider how you can improve on what your competitors are doing or take a unique approach that sets you apart.

Develop a strategy: Use the insights you gained to develop a social media strategy that considers what you’ve learned from your competitors. Consider how you can incorporate some of their successful tactics or differentiate your content from theirs.

Monitor your competitors: Keep an eye on your competitors’ social media activity, continues to stay up-to-date, and adjust your strategy as needed. This will assist you in staying ahead of the competition and improve your social media performance.

3) Not Defining Your Target Audience

3) Not Defining Your Target Audience - brown and black round board

Defining a target audience for a social media campaign is critical for success. As a small business, it is even more essential to ensure a marketing campaign meets the needs of the audience, as there is little margin for error.

Not having clarity on who you are trying to reach will impact the following areas.


Without a firm grasp of your intended audience, your messaging may miss the mark and fail to resonate, which can have further downstream consequences.


Engagement is one of the most critical elements for successful social media marketing. Social media should be used to reach those genuinely interested in your brand, message, or products and services. Without engagement, you’ll have a difficult time attracting followers, and you might even lose followers.

Brand image

You could tarnish your image if you don’t know who you are creating content for. It’s not enough to simply create relevant content. You need to ensure that content reaches the potential buyer.

How to start audience research

Here are some steps to start your audience research for social media campaigns:

Research phase

Define your goals: Know what you want to accomplish with your social media marketing. This will help you identify the specific audience you need to reach.

Identify your current audience: Use social media analytics and engagement tools to gather data on your current audience. This will help you understand who is already engaging with your brand and what types of content resonate with them.

Conduct market research: Use tools to gather information about your target audience’s demographics, interests, and behavior. You can also look at industry reports and competitor analysis to gain insights into your target audience.

Identify social media platforms: Once you clearly understand your target audience, identify which social media platforms they use the most. This will help you focus your efforts on the platforms most likely to reach your target audience.

Creation phase

Create buyer personas: Based on your research, create buyer personas representing your ideal customer. These should include demographic information, interests, behavior, pain points, and goals.

Test and refine: Use A/B testing to test different types of content, messaging, and targeting options. This will help you refine your approach and improve your results over time.

Monitor and adjust: Use social media analytics tools to monitor your performance and adjust your strategy. Keep track of engagement rates, click-through rates, and other metrics to understand what’s working and what’s not.

4) Not Posting Content Consistently

4) Not Posting Content Consistently - brown glass jar on white table

Mentioned as a key downfall of not having a strategy, not posting consistently is a common social media mistake in and of itself. If you cannot keep up with the demands of posting, you are putting your business at risk.

Here’s why:

Reduced reach

Social media algorithms prioritize content that is posted consistently. If you’re not posting regularly, your content may reach fewer people than it could. Even if you offer high-quality content, it might never reach your target customers.

Decreased engagement

If you’re not posting regularly, your audience may forget about you or lose interest in your brand. You will likely lose followers as people tend to have short attention spans and like shiny objects. Meaning they will have no problem moving on if you can’t keep them interested.

Missed opportunities

Your business goals are not likely achieved by gaining followers, but it’s a micro goal to have within a macro goal setting. Therefore, you should post content consistently to attract followers so you might turn them into real customers later.

Establishing a social media calendar

What are the essentials to ensuring consistency? You need a content plan and a posting schedule. Establishing a social media calendar is ideal for maintaining consistency and staying organized. 

Here are some steps to create a schedule in the form of a social media calendar:

Research phase

Identify your goals: Determine what you want to achieve with your social media marketing. Your goals will help you determine what types of content to post and how often.

Choose your platforms: Not all social media platforms are best for every business. You should only select a social network based on two criteria. One is how well you can produce the type of content needing to be delivered. And two, only if your audience is active on the social network.

Determine your posting frequency: Decide how often you want to post on each platform. This will depend on your goals and the audience’s expectations. You need to keep in mind the same content posted across different channels will not always work.

Brainstorm content ideas: Create a list of ideas that align with your goals and resonate with your target audience. This can include blog posts, video content, images, memes, and more.

Creation phase

Create a content calendar: Use a calendar tool to plan your content. This can include the date and time of each post, the platform it will be posted on, and the type of content.

Determine type of content: You may have distinct types of content you need to build. There could be content specific to a social media marketing campaign or for more general social media advertising campaigns.

Schedule your posts: Use a social media scheduling tool to schedule your posts in advance. This can save time and ensure that your content is posted consistently. There is a multitude of decent social media management tools to leverage that are inexpensive and have extensive reach across social media channels.

Monitor and adjust: Use social media analytics tools to monitor your performance and adjust your strategy. Keep track of engagement, click-through, and other metrics to understand what’s working and what’s not. Keep in mind that each social media platform may have different results.

5) Posting Content That Doesn’t Spark Engagement

5) Posting Content That Doesn't Spark Engagement - macro photo of sparkler

One of the more common social media mistakes is the posting of dull content. There are many reasons why this can happen, here are the likely candidates that plague most.

The content is not relevant

One reason why content may not spark engagement with the audience or community is that it is not relevant to their interests or needs. 

If the content does not address the pain points or interests of the target audience, it is less likely to capture their attention and prompt them to engage with the brand.

The content is not valuable

Another reason why content may not spark engagement is that it is not valuable or informative enough. 

If the content does not provide any new information or insights, it is less likely to be shared or engaged with by the audience.

It’s the wrong platform

You can’t fit a square peg into a round hole. The requirements for success on an Instagram account are going to be different than a Facebook page, a Twitter page, or YouTube. Don’t assume the same approach or same content will work across all social media platforms.

How to recognize engagement

Engagement on social media can take many forms, so it’s important to recognize the different types of engagement and how to measure them. 

Here are some common types of engagement that you should be on the lookout for.

Likes and reactions: These are the most common types of engagement and indicate that someone has seen your post and found it interesting or valuable. Likes and reactions can be recognized by the use of emojis, and story mentions.

Comments: Comments indicate that someone has taken the time to engage with your post and share their thoughts or opinions. User-generated content in the form of comments helps brands focus their content better. Comments can be positive or negative feedback.

Shares indicate that someone has found your post valuable enough to share with their followers. Shares are one of the more powerful forms of engagement your social post can receive.

Click-throughs: Click-throughs indicate that someone has clicked on a link in your post and gone to your website or landing page. Click-throughs are the holy grail for advertising campaigns on social media and for driving business through your social media marketing efforts.

6) Ignoring Insights from Data or not Tracking Data

6) Ignoring Insights from Data or not Tracking Data - people on shore ignoring sign

Having proper data and insights is essential for understanding what works and what might need to be changed or removed from a strategy. Without data, you’ll find yourself on a path leading to the following:

Missed opportunities

Social media platforms provide a wealth of data and insights that can help businesses identify trends, understand their audience, and optimize their strategy. 

Without tracking and analyzing this data, businesses may miss opportunities to improve their social media performance and the opportunity to learn about their target customers, which in turn, could have negative consequences across all marketing channels.

Inaccurate decision-making

Without data and insights, businesses are more inclined to make inaccurate or uninformed decisions about their social media marketing strategy.  This can result in wasted resources, missed opportunities, and ineffective campaigns.

Without proper data, decisions become more challenging or made blindly by those few people who should not be choosing the direction of the business or, at minimum, the direction for social media marketing.

Tools to track social media data

Luckily, there are various tools that make social media tracking and measurement easy and provide the data that is essential in helping determine how to move a social media strategy forward.

Here are a few popular options:

Google Analytics: Google Analytics is a free analytics tool that can track website traffic from social media. You can use Google Analytics to track click-throughs, conversions, and other key metrics.

Buffer Analytics: Buffer Analytics is a social media analytics tool that provides engagement, reach, and follower growth data. Buffer Analytics can track data from multiple social media platforms and create custom reports.

Brandwatch: This is a social media listening and analytics tool that provides data on brand mentions, sentiment, and demographics. You can use Brandwatch to track data from multiple social media platforms and monitor your brand’s online reputation.

7) Posting Outdated/Irrelevant Content

7) Posting Outdated/Irrelevant Content - White Cassette Tape on White Table

Posting outdated or irrelevant content on social media can be a common mistake that can hurt your brand’s image and reputation in the following ways. 

It can damage your credibility

If you post outdated or irrelevant content, your audience may see your brand as unprofessional. You want to ensure you reach your customers in a professional way that won’t tarnish your brand.

It can decrease engagement

If your content is irrelevant to your audience’s interests or needs, they may not engage with it. You need to ensure your content is original, unique, helpful, or valuable, or a combination of these to ensure engagement.

It can make you seem out of touch

Creating content takes time and resources. If you’re posting outdated or irrelevant content, you’re not in touch with what people need to know. Stay current, or better yet, leading edge.

How to stay on point with your content

Here are some tips to help you stay up-to-date with your social media posting.

Define your brand voice and messaging: Before creating any content, define your brand’s voice and messaging. This will help ensure your content is consistent and aligned with your brand’s values and mission.

Create a content calendar: Plan your content with a content calendar. This will assist you in staying organized and ensuring your content is timely and relevant.

Stay up-to-date with industry trends: Keep up with your industry’s latest trends and news. This will help you create content that is relevant and timely.

Use social listening tools: Use social listening tools to monitor conversations around your brand and industry. This will help you identify important topics for your audience and create content that resonates with them.

8) Failing to Engage in Comments or Conversations

8) Failing to Engage in Comments or Conversations two people using laptops and not engaging

Failing to engage in comments or conversations on social media can be a missed opportunity to connect with your audience and build relationships. Many will tell you what they want from your brand in the comments section.

If you never pay attention, you’ll likely suffer the following consequences.


If you don’t engage with your audience on social media, it can make your brand appear unresponsive or disinterested. 

This can hurt your reputation and make building relationships with your audience much more difficult and time-consuming.

Decreased engagement

If your audience feels like you need to listen to them or care about their feedback, they may be less likely to engage with your content in the future.

No feedback loop

Engaging with your audience can provide valuable insights into their preferences, needs, and pain points. This is essential to evolve your program and as a brand.

If you’re not engaging with your audience, you may miss out on valuable feedback that can help you improve your social media marketing efforts.

How to monitor comments

Here are some tips on how to effectively monitor comments on social media:

Set up notifications: Most social media platforms have a notification system that can alert you when someone comments on your posts. Make sure to turn on these notifications so you can respond promptly.

Use a social media management tool: Many social media management tools are available that can help you monitor comments across multiple platforms. These tools can help you save time and ensure you don’t miss any comments.

Assign responsibilities: If you have a team managing your social media accounts, assign responsibilities for monitoring comments. This can help ensure that comments are responded to promptly and that nothing is missed.

Leverage comments: Social commenting can be a boon to an organization that knows how to build business value and momentum with them. Use them to your advantage when possible.

9) Deleting or Ignoring Negative Comments

9) Deleting or Ignoring Negative Comments pink bicycle parked beside sign saying no bicycles please

Removing negative comments is a definite no-no in today’s world of being authentic as a brand. Don’t delete negative comments, it will have greater consequences than acknowledging them or even responding directly.

It can make your brand less authentic

Deleting or ignoring negative comments will hurt your brand’s reputation and make it appear unauthentic. Authenticity as a brand is critical in today’s world, so ensuring you remain vigilant in this area can aid in your success.

It can escalate the situation

Ignoring negative comments can escalate the situation, as the commenter may continue to post negative comments or share their experience with others. This can harm your brand’s reputation and make it difficult to attract new customers.

You may miss valuable feedback

Negative comments can provide valuable feedback on areas where your brand needs to improve. These comments can provide valuable insights to help the overall customer experience you have with your target market. Don’t dismiss them as being hurtful or not valuable.

How to handle negative comments

Here are some tips on how to handle negative comments on social media platforms.

Respond promptly: Respond promptly to negative comments, ideally within 24 hours. This shows that you’re listening and care about your audience’s concerns.

Stay professional: Always respond professionally and respectfully, even if the commenter is hostile or aggressive. Avoid getting defensive and try to address the issue constructively.

Acknowledge the issue: Acknowledge the commenter’s issue or concern, and let them know you understand their perspective.

Offer a solution: Provide a solution or next steps that can help address the issue. This can help turn a negative experience into a positive one.

10) Being Too Promotional and Needing to Provide More Value

10) Being Too Promotional and Needing to Provide More Value - sale, deal, advertisement for social media marketing mistakes

Being too promotional has hurt many brands on social media and continues to be a common social media mistake companies make. They don’t know how to be humble or authentic, which has the following repercussions.

It can turn off your audience

If your social media posts are too promotional and lack value, it can hurt your relationship with your followers and have further unintended consequences.

It can harm your reputation

If your social media content is too focused on promoting your brand, it can harm your reputation and make building trust and relationships with your audience more difficult.

The rules on social promotion

Here are some general guidelines to follow when it comes to promotional messaging on social media:

Follow the 80/20 rule: Make 80% of your social media content educational, informative, or entertaining, and the remaining 20% promotional.

Provide value: Make sure your promotional content provides value to your audience. Share discounts, exclusive offers, or sneak peeks of new products, but avoid being too salesy or pushy.

Use visual content: Visual content such as images or videos can more effectively capture your audience’s attention and drive engagement.

Social Media Marketing Mistakes Wrap-up

Social media can be a powerful tool for businesses to connect with their audience, build brand awareness, and drive engagement. Social media can be the hardest thing for small business owners to commit to, but the repercussions of not doing social media marketing are far-reaching.

It’s important to approach social media marketing with a clear strategy that limits or helps avoid mistakes. By following the social media tips in this article and providing value to the audience, businesses can effectively leverage social media to achieve their marketing goals.

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