5 Social Media Faux Pas and How to Avoid Them


By: Marianne Post

Would you rather hang out with a climber who relentlessly brags about his latest send and new gear purchases – showing no interest in others? Or a climber who listens, offers support and shares beta when you need it? Since most people prefer the company of the second person, then why do so many climbing businesses come across like the first climber on social media?

Social Media Examiner’s 2014 report reveals, “Figuring out how to best connect with people remains high on the list of questions marketers want answered (89%). As more businesses become social, those that best engage will stand out,” the report states.

You can ensure your business doesn’t look narcissistic and yet stands out on social media by avoiding the following top five social media faux pas.

Over selling

If your social media feeds resemble a never ending sales insert from the Sunday paper, you’re over selling. Yes, one of the goals of social media is to make sales. But it’s difficult to stand out from other businesses if you only post promotions. Plus it’s boring and predictable. Fans ignore boring and predictable.

The social fix: Share information that ties into a current promotion.

You don’t need to stop announcing specials on Facebook or Twitter. You can create balance, by weaving in relevant stories, tips, and videos.

A gym can stand out from over-solicitous competitors by posting training tips to Facebook, retweeting an article, sharing a how-to video or posting a member success story to their blog.

How do they attract sales? By including a link to the gym’s membership page when appropriate.

Dominating online conversations

When you spot someone who always talks your ear off and leaves no room for you to respond, do you run over and say hi? Probably not. Talking at your audience about things that only interest your business is the online equivalent. You’ll lose fans and followers.

The social fix: Show interest in your target audience, by engaging them in two-way conversations.

Here are four simple ways:

  • Ask a yes or no question on Facebook that encourages likes.
  • Inspire comments, by adding an open-ended question to the end of a blog post.
  • Pick a social channel and jump into an active conversation.
  • Create a one or two question survey and tweet the link.

Double dipping

You don’t need to be a fan of the show Seinfeld to understand that watching someone dip a chip, take a bite, and dip again is awkward. Taking a 140 character tweet, copying it and pasting it to Facebook, a blog and LinkedIn also creates an awkward experience for your audience. Readers head to each social platform with different expectations.

The social fix: Find easy ways to follow social channel etiquette.

According to the Content Marketing Institute, successful businesses use an average of 8 social platforms. Yet, managing multiple channels eats precious time.

You can satisfy fan and follower expectations across platforms with simple tweaks. For example, promoting a fundraiser. It would be appropriate to announce the event on Twitter then add a valuable tidbit for a post on Facebook and lastly share a relevant story on a blog.

It’s okay to promote the fundraiser. Just remember, your followers are more likely to join the cause if you deliver value before asking for cash.

Sounding like a robot

Have you ever zoned out during a conversation or meeting because the speaker drones on and on about the same thing in the same tone?

If you always post the same message in the same way, you’re audience will tune you out too.

The social fix: Vary your message and delivery.

Businesses stand out in social media feeds when they infuse messages with personality and variety. How can you do this? Show you’re human by sharing a mistake or blunder. Then show how your business can help fans avoid the same pitfall.

If you always post photos, share a video instead and add a caption that capture’s your business’ culture.

A word of caution. As you infuse your personality into messages, keep your audience in mind. If you’re trying to attract new climbers, limit industry jargon and explain any terms and slang you use.

Bad timing

If you only post to social media when it’s convenient for you, you’re like the guest who shows up to a party three hours early to a party.

The social fix: Post when your audience is online.

A little research will reveal when your audience is online. Make note of when they email you, send messages through social media or comment on your blog. A management system like Hootsuite can help streamline this effort.

Tip: Watch for breaking news. If you’ve scheduled a post during a major tragedy, you may come off as insensitive.

Follow these five strategies and you’ll set yourself apart from most businesses on social media.

Marianne Post is a web writer and e-content strategist. She’s passionate about helping climbing businesses reach their online marketing goals. Grab a free copy of “10 Website Fixes that Take 5 Minutes or Less” at mariannekpost.com.

Harness Consulting