April 6, 2020

The Worst Pieces of Social Media Advice You Should Ignore

There’s a wide variety of Social Media advice out there, and not all of it is, well, good. Over our years in the industry, we’ve seen all sorts of suggestions, tips and tricks that not only won’t work, but a lot of this advice will actually kill your account and cause you to regress.

Your account is dead if it doesn’t reach most followers and if it reaches very few non-followers. So how you can you avoid the negativity? Basically don’t do any of the following, as we’re about to run through eight worst pieces of Social Media advice we’ve ever come across.

Click below if you’d prefer to see this visually rather than read:

1. Mass Follow and Unfollow

Back in the day, this was quite a common tactic that typically allowed accounts to actually grow their followers, but the followers it attracted were only following because they were followed, and not because they care about you, your brand or your content. So what’s the result? A decrease in your engagement when these new followers continually scroll by your posts, and an overall decrease in your ranking. It’s much better to have 1000 followers and 250 likes than 100,000 followers and 250 likes.

2. Buy Followers & Likes

Arguably the most common of the worst pieces of Social Media advice, buying followers in 2020 means certain death for your account. At this point, you guys should know exactly why this is a horrible idea, however we still see accounts with purchased followers almost every day so perhaps it bears reminding. Companies often create account “farms”, meaning a digital array of fake accounts with no real people behind them, and then sell likes, followers and engagement from these accounts. Instagram has been very active in cracking down on this type of behaviour of late, so even if you’re able to get past Instagram’s filters with the fake followers, you’ll be locked into purchasing fake engagement forever or your follower count to engagement ratio will never match. Just don’t.

bad social media advice

3. Use Engagement Groups

Also commonly known as “pods”, engagement groups are essentially a collection of like-minded individuals with an agreement to engage with each other’s posts as soon as they go live in order to 1) trick the algorithm into thinking it’s popular content, and 2) trick brands into thinking their content actually generates genuine engagement from their audience. In reality, while there are actual real people and real accounts behind the comments, the engagement itself isn’t authentic and therefore meaningless. A lot of otherwise reputable companies sell access to their engagement groups, and it’s never a good idea to get involved as with a little investigation, it’s typically very obvious when someone is involved in pods. Avoid.

4. Post Flyers

This is one main way that we see accounts over promote. You know those brands (typically event venues) that post exclusively flyers for all their events, and literally nothing else? Don’t be them. Not only does their feed look unattractive, it feels like it’s shouting at you (nobody likes to be shouted at), plus using too much text in your images breaks Facebook’s (thus Instagram’s) 20% rule so you’d be unable to promote the post via ads. If you must post flyers, keep them to the second image in a carousel or for Stories.

5. Don’t Use 30 Hashtags

Strangely enough, this is another one of the most common worst pieces of Social Media advice out there, and we have no idea where this sort of nonsense originated. Instagram blessed us with the opportunity to use 30 hashtags in the caption, so why would anyone not want to fully take advantage of that? Always max out your hashtags, and the best way to do that is to follow the detailed instructions in our video about growing on Instagram with an effective hashtag strategy:

6. Facebook Ads Don’t Work

*Large sigh* Facebook is worth billions and billions of dollars, with most of that value coming from their ad platform, one of the most all encompassing, in-depth, targeting assets on the planet. If Facebook ads didn’t work, there wouldn’t be accusations towards Russia for interfering in the U.S. Presidential election in 2016. There is certainly an art to creating high performing ads; it’s possible to easily waste money as you learn, however when done right, there’s not much that comes close to the value delivered. For more information, watch our videos on how we raised $100,000 via crowdfunding and on whether you should be using ads.

7. You Should Be On Every Platform

When you’re first getting on social, we can see how it would make sense that you have a presence on every network possible. But when you step back for a moment and look at where your customers actually spend their time online, you’ll very quickly see that it’s much more beneficial to invest your time on the platforms that 1) make sense for your business, and 2) give you direct access to potential followers and customers. It might take some trial and error but essentially no business needs to be everywhere – the more you streamline your efforts and energy into key platforms, the better you’ll perform. We explored this in more detail in our video about which Social Media platforms your business should use:

8. Auto-post To All Platforms

Each social platform has its own rules, decorum and formatting, so by their very nature, auto-posting the exact same post to all social platforms makes zero sense. Even if you do want to post the same image or video across all networks, it will still need to be customized for the platform. For example, if you’re tagging a brand, their handles may not be identical across all networks, and Facebook doesn’t post with the [@] sign when tagging so inherently that would require editing. We’ve espoused the value of using a service such as IFTTT in the past, which has a “recipe” that allows you to natively post your Instagram post on Twitter (among many others). To clarify, it can be useful for solopreneurs who don’t have the time to properly invest in Twitter but want to post some sort of content until they can come up with a strategy that works for them, but we wouldn’t recommend using this method across the board.

What are the worst pieces of social media advice you’ve heard or been given? Let us know in the comments.

Don’t have time to keep up with all of this and manage your business? Get in touch with one of our Social Media Managers so that we can help put together a comprehensive social strategy that’s right for you.

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