There are a billion and one articles online about what to do on social media. Usually, they mention some variation of the same thing — use hashtags, post consistently, be genuine, etc. Don’t get me wrong, those articles are *great*. (I write those articles sometimes.) However, no one is talking about what you shouldn’t do on social media. And, well, it’s time we spread the word.
If you’re guilty of breaking one or more of these, don’t stress! Most of us are. Social media is always a learning curve, and we learn best through our mistakes.
1. Ignore everyone else.
I don’t care how many followers you have. (Actually, I do. I’m pretty sure JK Rowling has too many followers to see and respond to everyone’s tweets.) But unless you’re at JK Rowling-level heights, you should probably reply to people who mention you on social media. Or click that handy dandy heart.
Obviously, exceptions apply. Sometimes we’re forgetful, sometimes we’re busy, and sometimes we don’t want to respond. But if someone’s asking you a question, don’t pretend like you’re too cool to answer them.
2. Try shady tactics to get new followers.
Like, I don’t know, follow-unfollow? Or those spammy third-party bots? I’ve already talked about why you shouldn’t buy followers. Remember: just because you’re not paying for these other strategies doesn’t mean they aren’t hella spammy.
3. Over-use @mentions.
It’s spam. Seriously. Stop it.
Within certain communities, there are a lot of opportunities to @mention other people. Some of them are awesome — like giving a shout-out to an amazing person worth following or hopping on a trending activity.
Just…please. Don’t do it 24/7. It floods people’s mentions which isn’t fun if it’s happening, ya know, constantly.
(And yes, it’s actually against Twitter’s policy. If you’re abusing the reply/mention feature to send repeated unsolicited messages, you might get reported for spam.)
If you’re building a brand, you need to think about the kinds of things you’re putting out there on social media. Is what your posting relevant to your followers? Do they care? Is it providing value of some sort? (Entertainment value counts, folks, so you’re stuck with my bad jokes.)
Honesty is the best policy, and I’m not saying you need to pretend your life is perfect. (I certainly don’t.) But there are some thoughts that are better left unsaid…or texted to your best friend instead.
5. Be hella negative.
Like I said, honesty is fine. Honesty is encouraged. But if all you’re doing is complaining, will people want to keep following you? Will they want to buy your book? *shrug*
6. Post 200 million times per day.
Quality over quantity. Come on.
7. Never post and expect engagement.
This…I don’t even need to explain this. Do I?
8. Only tweet about your book.
We get it. You have a book. You’re trying to get people to buy it.
If all you’re tweeting is “buy my stuff, buy my stuff, buy my stuff,” no one is going to click buy. They’re going to click unfollow.
9. Use #too #many #hashtags.
The rules of hashtags are different for each platform.
Engagement actually drops on Twitter with each additional hashtag. (So you should probably stick with 1-3.) As for Instagram? Posts with nine or more hashtags saw more engagement than posts with less. And Facebook? Well, just don’t use hashtags on Facebook. (Seriously. Engagement tanks with one.)
10. Post other people’s work without credit.
I don’t care if it’s a viral tweet, artwork, or something else — give credit where it’s due. Furthermore, DO NOT screenshot someone’s post to crop out their name and share it as your own.
Auto-DM = auto-unfollow for me (and I know many other share this opinion.) Proceed with caution, or just don’t do it.
12. Worry too much about the “rules”.
Honestly, there is no magic formula for social media. What works for one person might not work for you, and that’s a good thing. Don’t stress yourself out about tweeting X number of times per day or having a *perfectly* curated Insta feed or anything else like that. Obviously, we all care about doing a good job. There’s nothing wrong with that! What you don’t want to do is stress so hard that you make yourself miserable. Okay?
In the meantime, don’t forget to share this article on social media. Pretty sure we all know someone who breaks at least one of these rules (no shame!) and, with a little luck, we can knock out these pesky habits once and for all.