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10+ Things You Need to Stop Doing on Social Right Now

Social media—almost like water (or air) for digital marketing.

It’s required, yes. But let’s be real and responsible and reasonable and smart about all of it.

Many aren’t (okay, me too at times).

But for the audience’s sake… please replace bad practices with good ones. So you can turn readers on, not off.

Here’s a list of things to stop doing, with things to start (or keep) doing.

1. Overusing hashtags

Sure, you want to be found on Twitter and Instagram. Who doesn’t? But a little can go a long way with hashtags. So don’t overdo them.

Why stop

Because you look spammy or desperate with too many (irrelevant) hashtags. Bots may like them and win you followers, but the wrong kind. No one meaningful will follow you with eight out of 10 words being hashtags.



Be deliberate with your hashtags. Conserve, too. Keep the focus on the message, not the hashy-spammy-tag. Just use one, maybe two or three.


Rolex Instagram post with three tastefully chosen hashtags

Got more tips for you on our guide to using hashtags the right way.

2. Jumping on every trend

Too many of us want to look like everybody else, by doing what’s hot at the moment. This comes off as trendy and thoughtless.

Why stop

Because you look foolish when jumping on the buzz-bandwagon for a hot topic, rather than being relevant.


Add value, not noise.

Before hitting the publish button, ask yourself, ‘Will the boss of my company feel I’m continuing a worthwhile conversation with this post, share, or comment?’ No? Then, onward to something else that will.

3. Oversharing

Sharing is caring. Except when it’s not.

Why stop

Because you look silly, phony, and pretentious when sharing pics of your breakfast or removed tonsils.


Remember that your brand is a public figure. Sure, be entertaining, clever, and bold. As long as you’re professional, useful, and savvy about what you post for your intended audience.

Want some help developing your brand voice and tone? I wrote this just for you.

4. Posting the same message across channels

Of course we’re all busy. Digital marketers included. But there’s better ways to save time than blindly publishing the same message across Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest… you get the idea.

Why stop

Because you look lazy, maybe even foolish, when pushing the same exact message across those various channels. Different networks support different content (and different audiences, too). Your fans across these channels will get bored (and annoyed) seeing the same thing again and again. Here’s 10 more reasons why you should stop doing this.


Build and use a distributed content strategy to create unique messages (like we do at Hootsuite). Your brand will show up as real and interesting for those sacred eyeballs you’ve spent time winning. Don’t lose them now with a diluted, overly-repeated message.

Not sure what to post on social media? Here’s 10 ideas.

5. Not responding to your audience

Promote, promote, promote. In other words… you share something, someone responds… crickets… Then you share something else.

Versus… you share, they respond, you respond back (maybe a few times with that cycle).

Why stop

Because it isn’t all about you. Again, social media is a two-way conversation. Not a one-way megaphone. Otherwise, digital is faceless, dark, and cold. And so becomes your brand.

When you walk by someone on the street, and they say ‘hey’, do you ignore and keep strolling? Yeah, didn’t think so.


Plan talk-time into your posting schedule. Ask questions, encourage them to share feedback, respond in kind, and follow up… with everyone. Be a friendly brand. Someone others want to hang with (and buy from).

Twitter polls work well. They’re easy to create and easy to respond to. We wrote a post on using Twitter polls to boost audience engagement.

6. Keeping your social account private

Used to be common to nab a branded handle, then keep it to yourself. It still is too common. If you’ve got it, use it.

Why stop

Are you lazy? Hiding something? Is social media even worth it? Because that’s what your fans might think if you keep your accounts under wraps.

(Too) many people will find out that your channels are inactive. A simple Google search can reveal this. They’ll go ‘hmmmm’. Better they go ‘wow’.  So then…


Buy, register… and use all your social media accounts.

Got an account that’s not quite ready for prime time? Fine. Post an update that you’ll be online shortly.

A simple, “Thanks for following us. We’ll be in your digital face soon. Promise.” (or something like that) does wonders for keeping people interested.

7. Automating thank-yous

Used to be, ‘thank you’ meant something, and felt good to receive. Nowadays… it’s often something else, not so special.

Why stop

Because when you automate, you show up as impersonal. Like being a subscription member you didn’t ask for.

Plus, who wants to respond to a bot? Otherwise—why use social media at all?


Remove the ‘im’, leave the ‘personal’ for your social media behaviors. Dig a little into followers’ profiles. Share something common between you two.

Too many fans to do that much leg work? Okay… but remember, it’s less about volume, more about quality. There’s more you can do to know more about who.

8. Posting for posting’s sake

Hey, I get it. I’ve been guilty of posting anything and everything. That was years ago. No more, anymore.

Why stop

Because you look like a posting machine, not a thoughtful brand. People get bored, tired, and irritated when you post stuff that just doesn’t matter.

It is a terrific way to get followers to click the ‘unfollow’ button.


Know your audience, write and post what they want. It’s that simple.

9. Deleting negative reviews

Not. Good. At. All.

Countries may censor the internet. But not you.

Why stop

Because people won’t trust you—a digital dictator that censors dissenting opinions.


Embrace the negative. Use it to do (and become) better.

There will always be people who don’t like what you do, say, or sell. So what. Do what you can and don’t delete a real and natural dialog. Don’t go dark neither. Deal with it. People are waiting to see how.

Whole Foods showed up versus hiding out.

Those bunk mission statements in the halls, on the walls? Noise.

Let’s see what you’re really made of. How are you

going to show up now? It’s a golden moment.

10. Posting rather than talking

Most companies focus on publishing versus having conversations.

Why stop

Because when you post, and only post, you keep your distance from the audience. How are you going to get to know each other when you keep it all one-way


Change your focus. Obsess less on keeping your social streams fresh, and more about having conversations with the right people. Engagement > self promotion.

Bonus tips

A list of honorable mentions worth your attention.

  • Worry less about number of followers, more about quality. Again, conversations.

  • Ditch platforms you don’t like, otherwise you’ll hate them. You don’t need to be everywhere.

  • Don’t post about sex, politics, or religion. Unless you write about sex, politics, or religion. Otherwise, you’ll alienate half your audience.

  • Don’t share only other’s stuff. Tough to be you-nique without publishing some of your own content.

  • Don’t share only your stuff. So you’ll not be that person.

  • Stop auto-posting the same message five times a day. Talk about me-me-me.

  • Don’t buy likes or followers. Inflated followers = less meaningful ones. Grow them over time and rigor.

  • Don’t use auto DMs on Twitter. You’ll come across as fake and flake.

  • And 5+ more don’t-dos I wrote about

Let’s give this article some perspective.

Go to the top. Scroll gently down the screen, while noticing mostly the headers. Take in all the ways how one (not you, though) can behave poorly on social.

It’s tempting, I know.

Like placing a double-cooked chocolate croissant with nuts and icing spelling out ‘don’t eat this’ above your keyboard.

But if you want real people to truly care, share, and buy, then don’t do it.

And… know you’re not alone.

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