With over 1 billion people on social media, it seems like branding your business on sites like Facebook and Twitter is a good idea. But, what if instead of helping your brand, you are hurting it without even realizing it?
When I see people who claim to be “experts” or “business owners” that keep blasting Farmville or Candy Crush updates all the time on Facebook, I can't help but not take them seriously.
This isn't just for experts and business owners though, it is for all users of social media. We all use it these days for personal or professional reasons, but are we really using good practices with our social media networks?
If you aren't keeping your privacy, reputation, business brand, personal life, etc. in mind when you post on social platforms, you can make some costly mistakes that could be very tough to recover from.
Here Are 50 Social Media Mistakes That Hurt Your Brand:
1. Showing people your extreme views on politics. Whether you are in favor of or against republicans, democrats, presidents, czars, monarchies, kings, queens, policies, etc., you might want to keep that to yourself.
Conversations about it are fine, but it can hurt your brand for no good reason by just having opposing political views with other people.
2. Telling all your followers you are leaving on a holiday. (You might as well put a sign that says “please steal my valuables” on your front lawn)
3. Telling everyone the amount of money you are making or other financial information. You might be surprised how many people do this all the time.
Telling people how rich or poor you are can have some very negative impacts if the wrong people become aware of it.
4. Posting pictures that make it obvious you are having an affair. I don't remember the exact number, but a very big portion of marriages in the U.S. end these days because of things spouses find on their significant others' Facebook profiles.
5. Complaining about how much you hate your boss. If you are not employed by the same company as your boss anymore, this can still hurt your reputation and make people think you have no class.
6. Posting comments about drama with your friends. Unless you want to start a reality show, this is not a good plan. I've seen people actually “fight” on social media, and it just makes those involved look stupid.
7. Lots of images and videos of your children. Of course as parents, you are probably very proud of your children, but that doesn't mean you should post every little moment of them online for the world to see.
8. Sharing with everyone what level you are on Candy Crush. This drives me insane. The last thing I need is a lot of people inviting me to play time-sucking games or hounding me about getting them more tokens.
9. Revealing to everyone that you are having a party at your place (You might get countless uninvited guests). Have you ever been to a party where a lot of people you didn't know or trust showed up? It isn't pretty.
10. Not thinking twice before posting. Think before you act. Think before you speak. Think before you post something that could singlehandedly destroy your reputation. Just be smart about it.
11. Only sharing content from your website. People can only tolerate so much self promotion of your business, especially on social media. Instead, share something that is funny, interesting, etc. here and there.
12. Leaving people hanging in the comments (No one likes to be ignored). There is a little thing called “good will” that you build with your brand over time that is very valuable to your success.
Actually replying to and demonstrating that you care about your followers, will go along way for your brand.
13. Revealing extreme views on race (You don't want to know what happens if you make this mistake). The world is becoming more and more sensitive to controversial subjects.
Don't spread negative wildfire over social media because of stupid remarks.
14. Pitching people about how to get more followers or friends fast (Don't look like you are scamming people). Scam and spam are two things you must stay away from if you want to build a quality brand.
15. Posting about issues with your parents or other family members. There is a little thing called privacy that we need to respect and honor not only for ourselves, but for our families as well.
16. Being a Negative Nancy, Debbie Downer, Johnny Raincloud or any other reference of a negative person who brings others down. Positivity is the best way to be more liked by others.
17. Posting lies about things you've done or about other people. People would rather see some honesty and transparency. You won't earn trust by lying to people.
18. Using hashtags that make absolutely no sense at all. #doingreallylonghashtagsthatmakenosense or doing hashtags that aren't related to what you are talking about.
19. Posting a novel of a post. People these days don't like to read all that. They like images, videos, short statements, quotes, etc. I hate it when people post long pitches or things like that on social media feeds.
20. Posting that you are planning on taking a sick day. If you post it on social media, it seems like you're bragging about playing hookie more than anything.
This is a good way to get in your boss' dog house or get fired.
21. Sharing biased or extreme views on religion. Religion is a very serious and sensitive topic for most people. Showing favoritism or negative views towards one religion or the other can hurt your brand.
22. Sharing party photos of you being wasted or doing something that is usually frowned upon. Immaturity is a brand killer. Don't make a fool of yourself online like so many others do.
23. Not listening to your followers. Try helping people and see how that impacts the views towards your brand. Feedback should always be appreciated from your most loyal fans.
24. Being unprofessional when you should be the opposite. Don't make a fool of yourself or look like an amateur in front of the whole world.
25. Not spell checking before you post something. Show your followers that you and those representing your brand are intelligent.
26. Posting how proud you are that you milked 10 cows on Farmville today. People definitely won't take you seriously if you do that.
27. Not keeping your professional and business related accounts separate. This causes a lot of problems for a lot of people. We have things like Facebook Business Pages for a reason.
28. Increasing your followers very artificially by buying them on places like Fiverr. This looks very unprofessional and spammy (not a good combo).
29. Posting your daily schedule. Burglars have been known for taking advantage of these kinds of things. I've seen some people “check in” with Facebook from every stop they make throughout the day.
30. Sharing too much personal info on your profile like schools, age, address, phone number, family member names, pictures of your house, etc. Be careful and keep privacy in mind my friend.
31. Posting about how much you hate your job. You may get fired and have to take an even worse job if you aren't careful. Employers may secretly watch what you say on social media.
32. Talking about your viewpoints on a court case when you are on jury duty. It may seem ridiculous, but people actually do it. I would think you know better than doing this, but some don't.
33. Showing your inexperience in professional areas on social media. At least act like you know what you are doing until you have gained that valuable experience over time.
34. Outsourcing your social media to a virtual assistant or some other person because you don't like to do it. Either have a professional team of people that know what they are doing or do it yourself.
People like interacting with the real brand, many times meaning the real YOU.
35. Spamming posts about scammy things. Everyone hates spam and being pitched. Don't do either on your social accounts. Hold it down on affiliate marketing links and things like that.
36. Not double checking the timing on your scheduled posts. What good is using services like Buffer or Hootsuite to schedule your posts if you don't do your research and end up with the wrong times?
37. Posting updates on Facebook after escaping from jail or are running from the law. (This actually does happen)
38. Being impersonal on your social accounts. People don't connect with businesses as much as people. Show people you are a real, genuine person that is posting updates.
39. Posting ill-timed jokes that are inappropriate. Try and be courteous of others and what is going on around you before making any wise cracks that could offend people.
This can cause all kinds of backlash against you.
40. Posting pictures of you with a fellow employee's or boss' spouse. This will cause all kinds of trouble for your brand and your personal life. Yet, people do it anyway for some reason.
41. Being very inconsistent with business profiles. If you are sharing company updates, you don't want to be lazy about it or make your followers scratch their heads trying to figure out what direction you are going in.
42. Trying to use more social networks at once than you can handle. Don't try to do too many at one time and end up leaving some accounts dormant because of lack of time to use them.
43. Using a “one size fits all” method with all your social accounts. You simply don't post the same things on your Twitter feed or Facebook personal profile as you would on Linkedin. Plan accordingly for different accounts.
44. Posting about every meal you eat throughout the day. Every once in a while this is fine, especially if you are at a special place or are having an extravagant meal, but posting little meals all the time will make people get sick of it and think you have too much time on your hands to waste.
45. Posting hints about what your passwords could be, like dog names. Believe it or not, people will use sites like Facebook just to find ways to hack your stuff or break into your business or house.
46. Not having someone to check your professional social posts before posting them. When you represent your business, it is good to have a check-and-balance system with what to post and if it is appropriate.
47. Not providing business followers incentives to take action. There is a reason why contests, coupons, 50% off sales, etc. help get more business. People want something in exchange to take an action.
Expecting something from nothing will get you nowhere fast.
48. Only focusing on using Facebook. In many cases, your target audience or best friends prefer different social sites. Linkedin is better for professionals. Vine is great for kids and entertainment.
Facebook isn't the only social platform you should focus on.
49. Doing things that get you put in virtual jail. Ever heard of Facebook jail? When you do things like friend request too many people, like to much stuff, or do other spammy or sketchy things, social networks won't tolerate it.
50. Last but not least, just try not to post things you aren't actually comfortable about.
If there is a doubt in your mind that you could get a bad reputation hit or create personal problems from sharing something on social media, then don't share it at all.
Social media can be very useful for branding, making new friends, keeping in touch with loved ones, and even getting more customers for your business.
But, there you should keep in mind that with one click of a button, everyone in the world could have a chance of seeing what you are posting whether it could be positive or negative.
You should try and keep the protection of your family, reputation, personal brand, business brand, privacy, etc. in mind when you are using social media. One wrong move could go viral and be very costly to your brand or personal life.
What was your worst social media mistake?