Here’s the thing: when you post bad content to your social media channels, you run the risk of overshadowing all the hard work you’ve put into building your presence, and establishing connection with your online audience.
And because we don’t want to let you do that, in this post, we’re going to outline nine content types which could be wrecking your social media – and losing you followers.
Avoid these post types in your approach.
1. Overly promotional content
Whatever your social media goals are, what matters is that you bring value to your audience.
Some brands make the mistake of assuming that what’s valuable to them is also important to their audience, and they use their social platforms to broadcast, to “sell, sell, sell”, rather than considering what really matters to people they’re trying to reach.
Instead of using your social platforms to broadcast, try to use them to join conversations that are already happening. Listen to what your audience is already discussing, read what influencers are writing -then pitch your content to respond to these cues.
It may be worth considering the 5-3-2 rule, which states that for every 10 posts you publish:
5 should be curation – sharing others’ content
3 should be creation – relevant content you’ve produced yourself
2 should be humanization – personal, fun and relaxed content that humanizes your brand
2. Political or religious content
Religion and politics are two subject areas that people feel very strongly about. Whenever you post content that’s overtly political or religious, you’re unlikely to connect with all of your audience, and you’re bound to be either irrelevant or offensive to those who don’t share your views.
Unless you’re a political or religious organization (and even then, it’s advised to take caution), avoid publishing anything that could be controversial – otherwise you risk offending and losing followers.
Instead, sense-check your content for neutrality before you publish it to your social feeds.
There are exceptions, especially in the modern age where consumers are looking to connect with brands that take a stance on certain issues. But the more divisive elements need very careful consideration.
3. Irrelevant viral posts
It’s tempting to resort to sharing the latest viral meme when you’re low on time and your social feeds are looking empty. But take care – chances are, your audience has already seen it, and you reposting is only dumbing down the rest of your activity.
Instead, plan your content in advance to make sure that what you post is relevant to your audience.
Social Media Tracker from SEMrush is a tool that can help – it will analyze your (and your competitors’) audience preferences so that you can start delivering content they’ll enjoy:
4. Negative or derogatory content
There’s a time and a place for voicing concerns about your clients or competitors – and it’s not on social media.
If a dissatisfied customer is complaining about you on their Twitter feed, then resist the temptation to fire back. If you treat them politely and respectfully – and if possible take it offline – then you might even find that you win them back.
5. Posts with spelling or grammatical errors
Your social media profiles, like your website, are your virtual shop windows. Making a mistake in your content – either a simple typo or a full-blown grammar gaff – can look as though you don’t care.
When you’re drafting your content, make sure you proofread your copy before you publish. Or even better, share it with a colleague to proofread before posting.
6. Brand-inconsistent content
Your social media profiles are an extension of your brand, and although you’re restricted by the format of the social platform you’re posting to, you still have creative control over your brand voice and tone.
When you’re planning out your social content, revisit your brand personas. Think about what they would be saying on social media and how they’d be saying it. Make sure that the content you publish stays as close to these styles and themes as possible.
7. The same message across social networks
Although you want to maintain a consistent brand voice, it’s a mistake to post exactly the same content across all platforms.
It goes without saying that all social networks are different. They speak to different demographics for one thing, and they each lend themselves to different content. LinkedIn is usually more copy-heavy and formal, Instagram is mainly visual and informal, while Twitter is more suited to bite-sized tidbits and GIFs.
Think about each of your social media accounts, and tailor your content to suit each one. Even if you have roughly the same thing to say, make sure that your message fits with the style and tone of each platform.
8. Unaccredited content
There’s nothing wrong with sharing other people’s content – in fact, I’d advise that you actively do this. But so many brands copy content directly from other sources, without crediting them.
The same goes for quotes – inspirational quotes have their place, but when you don’t name the quote source, it looks sloppy.
It gets worse with copyrighted images. If you use an image in your content you’re not legally entitled to use, then you could come under some serious legal fire. Instead, be sure to get your images from open-source websites, such as Creative Commons, and follow the instructions for crediting the source.
Next time you see some content you’d like to share, use it as an opportunity to connect. Click the “share” button on that content so that its source will automatically be included in your post. Alternatively, post the content to your profile and include the social media handle of the source.
9. Hashtag-stuffed content
Hashtags are super useful – they help to increase the visibility and shareability of your content across social media, they let you grow your audience, and they can open your content up to greater discussion.
That said, if you stuff your social content with reams of irrelevant hashtags, then you’ll risk making your post unreadable, and diluting the importance of the more relevant ones.
Next time you post, do some hashtag research first to ensure that the ones you’ve selected are relevant to your audience, and to your content – and that you’re following up to date best practices.
When you’re posting regularly to social media, it can be easy to get into bad habits, and brands often make the mistake of thinking that posting any (substandard) content is better than posting none at all.
On the contrary, posting negative, irrelevant or clumsy content can damage your brand, and lose you valuable followers. Cut out these nine content types, and you’ll give your valuable content a better chance of getting seen.