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Updated: Jul 20, 2022

Don't Do These Things on Social Media

Ahh, social media. The wonderful world where everyone can communicate with each other, from the comfort of wherever they are at the moment. There's never been any other form of communication that has brought more opportunity to reach people that we couldn't before (before social media that is).

Businesses have boundless opportunities to attract, convert, and engage with millions of people online. This helps organizations to build brands, build awareness, create "tribes" and convert. Social media is not new, but every day, we see people make stupid mistakes that could severely hurt them in the long run of social media business strategies.

We decided to compile a list of some of the things YOU SHOULD STAY AWAY FROM in social media. We're giving you this list partially to help you, but also to help ourselves. We do not want to clean up any more social media accounts that have gone astray as the cleanup is time-consuming and very expensive.

If you want to skip the reading and just listen or watch, Josh and I talk about what not to do on social media in the video below! (We did have some technical difficulties, just go ahead and ignore those...)


We CANNOT emphasize this enough. If anyone ever tells you to buy followers (you pay and get x number of likes) RUN THE OTHER WAY.

Not only is buying fake followers unethical but it also royally screws your social media, sometimes beyond repair. We've literally had to charge a client THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS to repair their Facebook account after they did this because the only fix is to manually remove every fake account from your page one-by-one.

The idea behind buying followers is pretty simple: Social Proof. But what exactly is Social Proof? Social Proof is a term coined by Robert Cialdini in his 1984 book, Influence. It describes a psychological and social phenomenon wherein people copy the actions of others. This means that, in theory, seeing more followers or likes on your social media should increase the rate in which people trust your social media and like/ follow it for real. The problem with theory and practice is that sometimes, theories don't work in reality.

Likes and follows have become what's known as a "vanity metric"; a metric that doesn't really matter or mean anything, but that many people try to inflate anyway because it "looks good." And if you think that consumers haven't caught on to this, you're wrong. It's super easy to tell when you've bought likes because the engagement rate on your page is comparatively low. Many times an organization that purchased likes might have 10,000 likes, but only 5-10 engagements on each post. THAT LOOKS TERRIBLE and even worse, consumers can spot this in an instant and you will lose trust and credibility right away.

Buying followers also doesn't help you at all. The whole point of social media is to attract, engage with, and build a community around your brand. Any followers that you buy are either bots or "follow-farms" in a country other than the US that hire people to make fake accounts and follow you. The follows that you buy are not interested in your business. They will never engage, they will never buy, and they will never do anything meaningful for your organization.

PRO TIP: If you want more page likes, run a Facebook "Engagement" campaign for page likes. But isn't that paying for likes? NO. The ads will bring your page likes of ACTUAL PEOPLE who are interested in your brand. This is a legitimate way to get more likes and follows without paying for fake accounts.

Since buying followers only gets fake accounts, that means that all of your page data will be skewed and it will be impossible to get correct metrics from your page insights. Why is this? The biggest reason is the skewed data on time. Most bought likes are in time zones of foreign countries such as India, Thailand, China, etc. All of the data on your "optimal posting times" and demographic data for building lookalike audiences and personas will be completely incorrect.

For example: In the graph below, we show when our fans (followers) are on Facebook. If we post something at the peak time that followers are on the platform, then we have a higher chance of reaching more people.

As the graph shows, the peak time to post on Mondays is 6:00 PM, because that's when most of our fans are on Facebook.

If there were fake account followers on our page, this would be completely useless as all of the data would be skewed to the fake accounts, and any post that went out during the peak hours would not actually reach the right people.

DON’T Forget to Engage.

We actually have an entire article dedicated to this topic. Take a look at "Don't Be A Billboard (Remember to ENGAGE)"

Engaging with your social media audience will reap huge rewards in the long run. Not only does engaging build trust and loyalty, but it also increases the LTV (lifetime value) of your customers. Too many organizations drop a post and, well, just leave it there to rot. They never engage back with all of the likes, comments, and shares that can come with a post. That is a missed opportunity. When you engage regularly, it shows customers that you care about them, that you're knowledgable and trustworthy, and helps you to build authority. All of this engagement keeps you top-of-mind in your audience's brain (which leads to more conversions) and, more importantly, your audience will become a word of mouth marketing channel. That multiplies the LTV of each customer you get dramatically.

Once again, you're going for authentic engagement with your audience. Like their comments, or if you're a pro, comment back! Build a real relationship with your customers. At Zova, we know some of our client's customers by name because of how often they engage with us and we engage back!

DON’T Be Inconsistent

Inconsistency is the death of marketing. Consistency is key to building a robust and healthy online presence. There are multiple ways to stay consistent in your online marketing:

  1. Have A Plan - creating a plan for your online marketing is very important. Set posting goals, topics, and engagement goals. Create a content calendar and plan out content for the next few weeks (we don't recommend making your content calendar more than a few weeks in advance as you want to stay relevant with posts.)

  2. Do Your Research - All social media platforms have insights for business profiles. Take a look at the time that your audience is on your platform (we showed an example above.) Keep on top of your metrics and set benchmarks to strive for. Don't forget to optimize your posting by researching the best types of content and the best times that content should be posted and STICK TO IT!

  3. Don't Spread Yourself Too Thin - There are so many platforms that you can be utilizing right now; Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat, TikTok, Google My Business, and YouTube to name the big ones. With all of those platforms, it can get really difficult to keep up with all of them, especially if you plan to be highly engaged with your audience. You want every platform that you spend time on to be straight inferno level, not lukewarm. The first step in keeping yourself sane is researching which platforms your audience uses and engages with the most. This could take some digging. Then, you create your plan on how to utilize those platforms the most given your resources. Next, start to build a super solid presence on those few platforms. Do not feel like you have to attack all the platforms at once. As we said, it's better to have a few really impressive platforms, then a ton of mediocre platforms. We are all for quality over quantity.

  4. BE CONSISTENT - This is pretty self-explanatory, but once you pick your platforms, once you create your plan, and once you start engaging, DO NOT STOP. One of the worst possible things you could do is stop. The moment you pause or start to have gaps in your online presence, your audience will start to drop off. It's not necessarily because your audience suddenly isn't interested, but more because the algorithms on the platforms reward those who are consistent in posting and engagement, and punishes those who are not.

Leverage Your Platforms

Any platform that you choose to build, you must keep up with the latest and greatest from that platform. Take Instagram for example. They have come out with Stories, Reels, and IGTV all since 2016. That's not even all of the updates that have happened. It's important that you keep up with all the changes on your platforms and that you become an early adopter of new features in those platforms. This keeps you ahead of the game and shows your audience that you're attentive and on top of your game. Many times, your audience may adopt new features as their preferred method of interaction, like Instagram Stories, with stories being the leading utilized and engaged-with content type on Instagram.

Take a CLASS! Almost every social media platform has some type of free class you can take to teach you about how to maximize the platform, especially for business.

We DO NOT recommend taking classes from 3rd party providers such as Hubspot or Hootsuite academy. The technology in each platform changes too rapidly for the information in 3rd party classes to be accurate or relevant. In our experience, 3rd party class information can run behind current technology by as much as nine months! On top of that, 3rd party classes almost always cost money. Why would you pay for a class that's out of date when you can take a completely up-to-date class straight from the platform for free?

Have you fallen into any of these traps? Do you have more Social Media No-No's? Let us know in the comments below!



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