Social media is a little like a Clint Eastwood movie—there’s good, bad, and ugly. We like to stay positive and focus on sharing tips to help you constantly and consistently improve your social media game, but sometimes it’s helpful to take a deep dive into what NOT to do.

Make it all about you

This is one of those don’ts that many thought leaders do. You have a new book and you want to promote it—there’s nothing wrong with that; but if all of your content is about you, you, you, why should I or anyone else follow? Remember, people who follow you do so for information, inspiration, or a few laughs. If you don’t deliver value to THEM, you’ll find your social growth is slow or it might even stall out completely.

Want to break this habit? Consider sharing third-party curated content. It brings new information to your followers that you agree with and think they’ll find beneficial. It helps you become the hub for information about your area of expertise. Remember, a high tide raises all boats. Be that high tide.

Ignore comments and questions

Social media is about starting conversations. If people stop to ask a question or make a comment, acknowledge them! Sometimes a simple ‘like’ is all that’s needed to let someone know they’ve been heard. Don’t neglect this engagement.

Post the same content again and again

You’ve probably heard that you can repeat content on social media because the audience is always shifting, and that’s true to some extent. If you have a very successful post, you can share it again, but do so with some tweaks. Freshen the copy, change the image, do something to make it unique, even if it is derivative.

If you don’t have time to write new copy, at least change the image. Our brains tend to register images longer than we register words, so a repeated image signals that content is ‘old’ content and followers will skip on by.

Post whenever

If you want to build a loyal, engaged following, posting whenever you think about it probably won’t cut it. Consistency is one of the keys to social media success, as it is in life: you just need to show up. Using a scheduling tool will help you show up, even when you’re doing other things.

Leave off hashtags or tags

If you want the smallest audience possible for your content, please forget hashtags. If you like to reach new people, hashtag away. Twitter posts do well with 1-2 hashtags; more than that and reach is lowered. On Instagram, anywhere from 3 to 11 hashtags will deliver results. LinkedIn is new to the hashtag game, but experiment; they likely won’t hurt, but keep it to a minimum. On Facebook, hashtags actually lower reach, so we advise against using them on that platform.

You know what works on ALL platforms? Tags!  Tag the company you’re talking about, tag the thought leader you’re referencing, or the media outlet that featured your work.  Tags expand the audience and we all want that!

If you steer clear of these pitfalls, Clint Eastwood might follow you on social media, but you won’t feel like you’ve stumbled into one of his films.

What other don’ts have you spotted on social media?