Horrendous Social Media Advice: 18 Experts Explain Why

Horrendous Social Media Advice: 18 Experts Explain Why You’ve probably read all of the social media posts out there, and put it all into action, right?

But still, you are not seeing the results you expected!

There’s a lot of advice out there that just does not work, so I asked

18 experts what the worst social media advice they have heard is, and why?

In this post you will find

  • some amazing tips
  • some unexpected gems
  • some common mistakes
  • advice to get you on the right track.

Share it with your friends on social media, and don’t forget to thank the experts for their wisdom :>

 

 

Check Out last week’s post on The Worst Blogging Advice Ever

Kristi Hines

Kristi-HinesThe worst social media advice I have read is that you should connect with everyone who wants to connect with you, whether it’s through following back on Twitter, accepting friend requests on Facebook, or accepting invitations to connect on LinkedIn.

When I started out in blogging, that’s exactly what I did – I connected with everyone. Four years down the road, I had to hire a VA to manually remove thousands of Facebook “friends” that I didn’t really know and never actually interacted with. Eventually, I’ll have to do the same with LinkedIn and Twitter.

A lot depends on how you want to use each social network, but you might want to consider limiting the connections you make, especially on your Facebook and LinkedIn profiles. This is due to the personal aspect of Facebook profiles, where people post photos of your kids or talk about their health, and the professional aspect of LinkedIn profiles, where people want to be connected with those who can make a difference in their career or business.

Mike Allton (The Social Media Hat)

mike-allton-150x150The worst social media advice I’ve ever heard was to be on only one social network. It’s based on the idea that small business owners and entrepreneurs don’t have time to be everywhere at once, and that they should instead focus their time on just one social network.

And while there’s some truth to that, like much advice, it’s not complete.

The fact is, small businesses more than anyone else must have a strong and diverse presence online. That doesn’t mean they have to invest the same amount of time across all platforms.

My advice is to have a strong, optimized profile on the major networks, and then to pick one to focus on. But don’t ignore the others. Share great information and content, but work to spark interest and conversation on your network of choice. And each month, look for other second and third tier social networks to create a profile on and diversify your online presence. If it’s found that one network begins to really resonate, resources can be shifted accordingly.

Rebekah Radice (RebekahRadice.com)

Rebekah-RadiceAuto-publish the same content everywhere!

I am all for automation and firmly believe in its ability to take some social media “chores” off the shoulders of anyone managing it on a daily basis. However, using tools to autopost the same content to each social network at the same time is a huge mistake.

Every channel has its own unique culture. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter or Google Plus, you need to understand how to best structure your content for that audience. Simply pushing out a post with the same structure, verbiage, tone and voice is a big miss. Take the time to communicate with your audience the way they want to be communicated with given the specific social network.

Sarah Santacroce (Simplicity)

Sarah-Santacroce-200x200If you’re on Social Media you don’t need a website anymore.

Wrong!! What are you going to say on Social Media? How are you going to add value? Cat videos & inspiring quotes are ok every now and then, but it’s not what’s going to build trust in your brand.

In order to have something of value to say on Social Media, you need to create professional content. And the best place to do that is your own website, the only platform you truly own and where you can express your opinion freely !

Jeff Sieh (His Design Online)

jeff-sieh-150x150Make sure you’re always businesslike…remember you’ve only got one chance to make a first impression.

Which I believe to some degree is true.  You want to look professional and not just slap something up just to say you posted on social media.  So that’s what I was doing on Pinterest…with no followers and no success.

Until I took Peg Fitzpatrick’s advice she gave me and told me to show different aspects of myself.  Pin something you find funny, or geeky,  or food related.  Just keep it balanced, but show people who you are.  People do business with people.  Not a one dimensional faceless company.

BONUS: Get Your FREE Guide – The 5 Step Social Media Marketing Plan and learn how to succeed on Social Media in just 5 easy steps!

Peg Fitzpatrick (PegFitzpatrick.com)

peg-fitzpatrick-150x150People telling other people how to post.

When I was newer on Twitter, people would say I tweeted too much, I did tweet a lot but what I found was that people who were more experienced on Twitter used lists and followed more people so it wasn’t an issue. People find people that they like to follow and that’s awesome but followers shouldn’t “demand” that you post in a certain way or number of times.

Your social media should be what you want it to be, meets your goals, and makes you happy.

Adrienne Smith (AdrienneSmith.net)

Adrienne-SmithThe worst advice I’ve ever received is that you have to be on all the sites.

Now as we learn and grow we become aware that our target audience might not be on every platform or they might be more active on some than others.I think stressing yourself out trying to be everywhere is an accident waiting to happen. This is a learning experience and we have to take one step at a time in order to learn about the different sites and how to use them to the best of our ability. I’m still not on all the social platforms and I’m not complaining at all about my traffic.

Adam Connell (Blogging Wizard)

adam-connellEmail is dead. Long live social media.

That’s just wrong. And so many people believe it because of the hype created by various online publications.

I’m not saying social media is a waste of time, it has its place in any cohesive marketing strategy but it doesn’t exist in a box and should always be used in conjunction with other marketing channels.

It’s a similar situation with SEO. Plenty of “experts” have proclaimed that SEO is dead, it’s not. Email, social and SEO all still work but it’s all about the strategy that connects them all together.

Think about your end goals then consider what promotional channels have the potential to help you achieve your goals and which will be most effective. I covered this in more detail in a recent blog post, find it here.

Ian Anderson Gray (Seriously Social)

ian-anderson-gray-150x150That’s hard, there are so many bad practices being advocated all the time! Whilst I could mention personal pet hates such as automated “Thank you for following me” direct messages and automatically cross posting all your tweets to Facebook, I think the worst advice is not engaging with criticism online. The more popular you become, the more likely it is that you will receive negative comments.

It can become tempting to not engage with this criticism or even to try and remove it. This would be a mistake. If people see you engaging with criticisms in a calm and positive manner, you can actually increase customer loyalty and generate more positive feelings towards your brand. You might also turn the critic in to an advocate! You’re never going to please everyone, but silencing your critics is rarely a good move.

social media advice

Marc Andre (Profit Blitz)

marc-andre-profileI think the worst advice is that you MUST be active on Twitter, Facebook, or any other social media site. Having a strong social media presence is a great thing for a blogger, but social media can also be a huge time waster. If you’re building a blog part-time and dealing with very limited hours to work on your blog, I would advise very limited use of social media. You’re better off using your time to write posts for your blog, write guest posts, networking with other bloggers, and promoting your content. I also think that you don’t need to be active at every social media site. If there is a particular site that is really popular with your audience (like Pinterest is in some niches), spend most of your social media time on that site and less on others.

Ann Smarty (SEO Smarty)

ann-smarty-profileIf you are not there, people won’t talk about you…

There’s a popular belief out there that by being active on social media, you expose yourself to more public criticism

It may be true to some extent (yet social media is getting so huge: I don’t think you can hide any more), but I think NOT being there is more dangerous than being used to dealing with social media micro-crises on a a regular basis. By NOT being there you are running into the risk of missing the really huge reputation management crisis. Doing something is always doing nothing when your brand is at risk of a huge scandal…

Pauline Cabrera (Twelve Skip)

Pauline-CabreraGurus who says “avoid using social media automation tools”.

Automation tools actually help save time and stay productive. You wouldn’t want to spend all your time on social media, would you?

It’s a great way to schedule your updates and keep your social accounts fresh.

As long as your updates don’t sound like a robot all the time, and you don’t flood your followers’ newsfeeds, it shouldn’t matter whether you’re using automation tool or not. Use them wisely!

BONUS: Get Your FREE Guide – The 5 Step Social Media Marketing Plan and learn how to succeed on Social Media in just 5 easy steps!

Ron Sela (RonSela.com)

ron-sela-150x150Recommending the use of all available social media sites for maintaining a strong presence is not good advice. Business brands and individuals should be aware that a social media strategy needs to be based around the amount of resources it takes to build and maintain a presence.

It’s a bad idea to join a large number of social networks and then try to have a presence in each of them. There is much more to gain from taking the time to build a solid following in a small number of networks.

Your focus should be on creating a presence in the most important social media networks, the ones where you can reach the right audience and network with potential customers.

John Paul Anguiar (JohnPaulAguiar.com)

john-paul-aguiar-profile-150x150Getting real results from Social Media is easy.

Social Media is not easy, to see real results with SM you need to be active and available and share great content on a  regular basis. That takes time, that takes effort, that takes knowing your followers well enough to share what they like when they want it.

And share in a way that benefits your followers and YOU and your business.

Brent Carnduff (Echelon SEO)

brent-carnduffprofile-150x150Social media signals – i.e. likes, +1’s and shares – are replacing backlinks.

Backlinks are still the most powerful influencer of authority in search, whereas +1’s, likes, etc. – have zero impact on Search Engine ranking.

 

Brian Dean (Backlinko)

brian-deanBe active on 20 social networks.

It’s hard enough to remain active and engaging on one network, nevermind 20.

It’s tempting to jump on the new social media bandwagon. But it’s only going to dilute your overall reach and influence.

 

Brandon Schaefer (90DayEntrepreneur)

brandon-300Create great blog content and you won’t need to worry about social media marketing.

Creating great blog content is only one piece of the puzzle. In today’s market, you need to use every avenue and relationship possible to help get your content out in front of the proper market influencers in your industry, and social media marketing is the way to achieve that.

Social media channels allow for more touches and provide an infinite opportunity to reach new people. I’ve seen people and businesses with great content, but no traffic… the reason is that they’re not  putting all the pieces of the puzzle together. Combine your blog content pieces of the puzzle with your social media marketing pieces of the puzzle, and watch your results skyrocket.

My advice is to make an editorial calendar, create great blog content around your editorial calendar, share out your content multiple times across your social channels, form relationships with key market influencers so that they like to reshare your content, analyze your results via analytics, then make the needed adjustments and start all over again.

Devesh Sharma (WPKube)

devesh (1)That you need to be on every social network.

I have read and received this advice, a dozen of times. This is not true or even helpful, because you will end up dedicating many hours just for managing your social profiles – time that you could spend on networking or other constructive things.

The best thing to do here is to choose 2-3 platforms that your audience are most active on, and build your profiles there. For example, if you post a lot of images, then it would make more sense to focus on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest. But if you run a business or corporate blog, then you should spend more time on Linkedin.

Björn Tantau (BjoernTantau.com)

bjorn-tantauWhen you publish a tweet on twitter, use a lot of  hashtags for better reach and visibility!

Why is that bad?

Twitter is a very fast social network and many users just scan new tweets. These scans often take only one or two seconds. Too many hashtags make tweets hard to read, and sometimes nearly illegible. If the audience is not able to read the tweet within a very short period of time, the content won’t catch the user’s attention.

Too many hashtags are just not helpful. On the contrary, they prevent the spread of the content and don’t provide much value or help with the virality of a tweet.

BONUS: Get Your FREE Guide – The 5 Step Social Media Marketing Plan and learn how to succeed on Social Media in just 5 easy steps!

Final Words

Although there is no exact right or wrong when it comes to social media, the experts can certainly help us sort through all of the horrendous advice out there.

Apply some of the above wisdom to your social media marketing, and I am sure you will get even better results!

If you enjoyed this post, please share it with your buddies on social media and help us spread the word.


37 Comments

  1. Ashley, so much great advice here from some of the top influencers in the social media and blogging world… thanks so much for putting this together. I’m already looking forward to your next post!

    Reply
    • Pleasure Brandon. And thanks for contributing. You are there amongst some greats, and well deserved!

      Reply
  2. I loved your last post about worst blogging advice. I can relate to this one even better!

    I still hear on a daily basis: “if this network has that many users, we need to be on it”. As you said in your newsletter, Pat Flynn said to be everywhere but even he can’t do that. I’ll go on and listen to my mom on this one, you can’t be everywhere at once :).

    I also really loved Adam Connell’s worst advice. I’ve been investing a lot of time into perfecting our newsletter and it pays off. I have exchanged emails with more of my subscribers than I ever did with any of our social media followers.

    Reply
    • Hey Aurelie
      The email list is in the end a key to modern online marketing. It seems old school, or sometimes forgotten, but it is one of the best ways of keeping people on board and in touch.
      Glad you are also having some success with it

      Reply
  3. Hi Ashley,
    Thanks for including me in this great roundup.

    Reply
    • Glad to have your wisdom Marc

      Reply
  4. Great job Ashley! Thanks for including me in this post!
    Brent

    Reply
    • Right back at you Brent!

      Reply
  5. Ashley,
    Great article as always. Thanks for asking me to contribute. I love reading all the different ways these professionals use social media. One big takeaway from this article…there is no “one size fits all” when it comes to social media!

    Reply
    • thanks for dropping by Jeff, always great to have you on board!

      Reply
  6. Great article. Thank you all for contributions and tips!

    @Brent: Agreed on backlinks still being stronger influencers than Social Signals. However, to say Social has zero impact, seems to sell the story short. Read moz’s take on Google +1s and SEO: http://moz.com/blog/google-plus-correlations

    Reply
    • Hey Chris
      Thanks for the comment.
      I think social is slowly becoming an issue with the Big G, but they have not officially really said how yet.
      In the end they are measuring things like clicks, bounce rate and so forth, so not just links.
      It is all related and shows how popular, sticky and useful your site is.
      That in itself cannot be dismissed.
      ashley

      Reply
  7. Hey Ashley,

    Wow, we’ve all gotten some horrible advice haven’t we. My goodness, it’s just crazy what we are being told to do or not do for that matter.

    I appreciate you including me among these other social media giants, thank you so much. So honored to be here.

    Great lessons I think everyone can learn from this advice. I’m sure they’ve been told a good bit of this too.

    Thanks again and hope your week is going well.

    ~Adrienne

    Reply
    • Thanks Adrienne
      You have worked hard to get up there with the pros – so time to accept you are one of them :>
      It is hard work sorting the wheat from the chaff, but I think in the end we all get there. Hopefully a shorter road is chosen!

      Reply
  8. For the two years of my business I built my company purely with social media. Now we have a website but I don’t believe it is a neccessity. I love the advice concerning platforms. Stick to a few and be a superstar. If you try to be everywhere you will be playing ball in the little leagues. ; )

    Reply
    • Hey Randy, thanks for dropping by
      Social is very powerful if you do it right, and you seem to have it down.
      being jack of all trades is a handy thing, but hard to achieve, so I also prefer to stick a few and get good at them and traction

      Reply
  9. Thanks Ashley some great bad advise here (I don’t think i have ever said that before!).

    Reply
    • It is a bit of an oxymoron huh!

      Reply
  10. Great advice from everyone, I totally agree. I’ve heard lots of things over the years and it’s mostly by using Social Media and seeing what works have I figured out what’s best for my business. My worst social media advice would be do to what someone else is doing because it’s working for them. See what works for YOU.

    Reply
    • That is one of the big takeaways Kathleen, there is not one perfect solution.
      But many of the pros point to some great ideas, which I hope can help many a person struggling with Social.

      Reply
  11. Good to read these worst social media advises. I too have heard that the bloggers should be active on every social network to please the search engines. Thanks for Ashley for consolidating all bad social media suggestions, hope it would help the bloggers.

    Reply
    • Hey Nirmala,
      Indeed there is a lot of bad advice out there, and with the help of the pros, we can at least have a chance of sorting through it all.

      Reply
  12. Great bad advice it is 🙂 Thank you and the contributors!

    Reply
    • Thanks Alex, glad you got something out of it.

      Reply
  13. Ashley, TY again for including me my man.. list came out great.

    Reply
  14. #1 was my absolute favorite! I have learned that the more specific you are with identify your perfect prospect, the easier it is to know who to connect with…. such a GREAT point.

    Great article…thanks so much for this… I loved it

    Reply
  15. Hi Ashley,

    I have to agree with Kristi; I too have purged my social media streams because I added friends and followers at a breakneck pace. Few add people with authority or act with authority as a social media newb. This is why years later guys like Chris Brogan and Randy Gage unfollow all and slowly add people they want to follow along the way, twitter-wise. I haven’t added anyone on Facebook – friend requesting them – in months and I only add people if I know them on the network. Beginning to do similar things with twitter and G Plus.

    Have posture. Add who intrigues you. Or add people who are authorities, who’re pros, or simply, people you’ve become friends with. The friending happens on blogs or through email and the adding happens on social media, after you’ve built friendships. I have much pruning to do one of these days/weeks on all social profiles. It’s really laborious because it’s drone work, and all because I added folks without giving it any thought, and many of these folks did the same thing. 5 years later I have thousands of strangers masquerading as Facebook friends, but that’s how it goes sometimes. We work, we grow, we learn, then we prune our friend lists.

    Thanks Ashley, super advice here. Tweeting soon.

    Ryan

    Reply
  16. Great article. A lot of contradictory advice on how many social networks to utilise though. Some say use a few, some say use them all. I sort of do both. I publish articles to many but culture a strong following on only a few. Any thoughts on this strategy are welcome.

    Reply
    • Hey Billy
      It was the same on the blogging advice article, and is due to people’s unique experiences. That is life I am afraid.
      But I did not want to coach the experts on what to say, so took it as it came.

      Having said that, I think honestly most people cannot maintain a strong presence on more than 2-3 networks. Which is not to say that you can’t be on the others, but that you won’t be active on them.

      I stick to Twitter and Pinterest personally, and sometimes G+. But I ration my time.

      So I think you are on the same track and it generally works. In the end, the most important thing is to find your stride and the networks that work for you and your content.

      all the best
      ashley

      Reply
  17. Ashley, great advice all in one spot – I like that! I agree with those that know you need a website even if you have a great social media presence, you want to drive them to your home not a social network site that may not exist tomorrow. I tried to be everywhere and you can’t if you are a one-person show. You must pick and choose 3-5 and work those to the best of your ability.
    I also do not like seeing the same shares on every network by one person or brand. Each network works differently and the shares should reflect that.
    Thanks for sharing these with us Ashley! Have a great day.

    Reply
    • thanks for dropping by my second home Lisa!
      This article was a great one to put together and I hope many learn as much as we have over the years.
      For sure you have to have a website today and also only be active where it makes sense on social. There is only so much time!

      Reply
  18. Hi Ashley,

    It’s my first time to your site and your interviews were spot on! I can’t believe all of the bad advice I still here from how you might engage and use social media three years ago.

    I recently heard a person say all you need to do is create a blog, add some content every day, post it on all your social media pages and update Google Webmaster Tools and watch the magic happen.

    No kidding, that’s what she said. And she’s supposed to be a social media marketing company. Never mind that networking online is hard when you blog with content that has context, engage with people on social media, comment on others blogs and leave supportive and helpful comments that lead to conversations and share others posts generously to your audience.

    I have always taught that you have to know know your business and your audience, have the right strategies, goals and objectives and work to gain clarity and focus so that you can execute.

    Outside of that, it’s like throwing mud on the wall and hoping it sticks. Instead all you get is a mess, lol…

    It’s great to read your blog Ashley. I saw you comment on Andrew Warner’s blog and I’m glad I checked out your site. I’ll be back frequently.

    I hope you have an awesome finish to your week!

    ~ Don Purdum

    Reply
  19. Hello Ashley,
    There is great advice here from many people I look up to and admire. I think a lot of things will vary from person to person like how many social networks they should be on or how many times to post updates, and whether to automate or not.

    One point that really stands out for me is that social media is finally rented land. And it cannot take the place of having your own website or blog where you control the content.

    Thanks for sharing! Very helpful as always..

    Reply
    • Hey Pragati
      Totally agree. Social is a great place to meet, play, converse, but it is not your land. Build a website :>
      Most people know this somehow, but a few have chosen to live on Facebook with a business page and are now at the mercy of Mark!
      have a great day
      ashley

      Reply
  20. Hi Ashley,

    This post has been very useful to a newbie like me. The confluence of ideas just proves that blogging is a personal journey. Each has experiences that are unique, yet, relatable to some. Congratulations for taking the time to put these all together. I look forward to reading more of your posts.

    Tricia

    Reply
  21. I recently heard a person say all you need to do is create a blog, add some content every day, post it on all your social media pages and update Google Webmaster Tools and watch the magic happen.

    Reply
  22. No kidding, that’s what she said. And she’s supposed to be a social media marketing company. Never mind that networking online is hard when you blog with content that has context, engage with people on social media, comment on others blogs and leave supportive and helpful comments that lead to conversations and share others posts generously to your audience.

    Reply

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