How not to suck at social mediaSocial media is a great way to promote your business. It allows you to connect with potentially billions of other users, and it’s free (for the most part). That is a lot of potential for not a lot of money. Not surprisingly, many businesses are making a big push with their social media marketing to try to increase exposure for their brand and connect with new customers. Unfortunately, a lot of them are doing it wrong — very wrong.

Social media is not a free for all. If you want to really make an impact with your presence, you need to know how to develop a smart strategy for posting and for connecting with potential customers. Learning what NOT to do is just as important as learning what to do. Here are a few things you should avoid doing on your social media profiles — otherwise known as ways that you can suck at social media:

Update Constantly

You need to maintain an active presence on social media to get optimal exposure and connect with the most number of new customers. However, if you update too much, you are going to annoy and alienate your followers.

There is no hard-and-fast rule for how much you should be posting each day. However, in general, a good rule of thumb is that 3 to 4 posts a day is best for Facebook and 8 to 10 tweets per day is best for Twitter. For Pinterest, you should try to spread your pins out throughout the day instead of doing them all at once.

Post Only Promotional Content

Sure you want to promote your business through your page, but your fans aren’t following you because they want to see a lot of posts promoting your business. They follow you to get useful, interesting or entertaining information. If all you ever post is information about your new products or about a sale you’re running or about a contest your sponsoring, you are going to alienate your followers.

Make sure there is a healthy mix of information your fans will want to see in addition to posts promoting your products and services.

Share Irrelevant Posts

You are likely to see a lot of posts from the pages and people you follow yourself that you think are interesting or entertaining and that you want to share on your own page — but that are likely totally irrelevant and inappropriate for your page. You know the posts we’re talking about: The sarcastic e-cards, the funny cat pictures, the neat ways to organize your pantry, the caramel apple jello shots recipe.

These are only appropriate if they relate to the content of your blog or website. If not, don’t share them or you’ll dilute the impact of your page and make it seem unprofessional.

Don’t Respond to Comments

Social media is about building relationships. Yet it is surprising the number of businesses that don’t engage in a conversation with their customers on their social media pages. Customers leave comments, and they don’t reply. They don’t encourage conversation with questions or polls. They basically post updates and leave it at that.

To make the most of your social media presence, you’ll need to engage with your customers by encouraging conversation and responding to the comments that have been left on your page.

Don’t Post on Other Pages

It’s important to also build relationships with other businesses and blogs. By limiting your activity to your own page alone, you miss out on opportunities to build these relationships. Make sure you follow businesses in your niche, especially those that offer complementary products and services to your own. Then post useful commentary and information to those pages on a regular basis.

You’ll build relationships and create more exposure for your own business in the process.

If you want to be successful with social media to promote your business, the first thing you need to do is learn how not to suck at it. Learning how to avoid the pitfalls of social media can give you time to figure out what does work while you slowly build your presence. Eventually, you’ll develop a commanding following that you can use to grow your business.

Amber Satka writes on financial topics, such as her look into car loan calculator functions. Amber is a former office manager and current mother and writer.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /

Kelsey Jones

Kelsey Jones

Founder/Chief Marketing Consultant at Six Stories
Kelsey Jones helps clients around the world grow their social media, content, and search marketing presence. She enjoys writing and consuming all kinds of content, both in digital and tattered paperback form.
Kelsey Jones
Kelsey Jones