We’ve all had that friend; the one who is all about her, talks too much, doesn’t listen and has an opinion about everything. She’s annoying, right? You try as hard as you can, for as long as you can, to support her, but eventually you tune her out – completely.

So what if I told you that friend is actually you, on social media (cue the dramatic music.) It’s a hard truth to swallow, especially if you’re not even aware of your bad social media habits. Or, maybe you don’t care how your posting behavior is affecting your friend count on your personal pages. But, if you’re posting as a brand, or for a brand, that behavior is make or break.

For all its airs and graces, social media is a slippery slope. Yes, it’s vital in building and maintaining a brand these days, but as easy as it is to attract an audience, it’s even easier to scare them away. You may even notice your fans falling off, and when, but the why is harder to gauge.

There’s no shortage of opinions about best and worst social media practices, but only users can say with certainty why they unfollow and unfriend brands. So I did a little digging into studies and polls from the past few years to find out.

Overkill Offenders

DON’T over-post! Don’t over-post! Don’t over-post! In fact, it ranked highest across all the studies I found. When trying to promote a brand on social media, it’s tempting to flood followers’ with posts. We tend to think if we’re not constantly visible, they’ll forget about us (OR, our egos are just that big.) But posting too much will undoubtedly sink your brand. Here’s proof; this ExactTarget study found that 44% of people unlike a brand just because they post too frequently.

DO show restraint, be strategic and don’t waste followers’ time. Quality over quantity. There are hundreds of recommendations for how many posts are appropriate, but it will vary slightly depending on the brand and content. So here is research compiled by Buffer on the law of average posts for each platform before engagement drops.

Not Playing Well With Others

DON’T make it all about you! The clear cutter loser on social media is a brand that only posts about itself. Content and shameless plugs about you, your services, your events and your accomplishments come off as too self-serving, too corporate and totally disconnected from followers. Narcissism is the word that kept coming up in the description box and it’s a label not without merit.

DO acknowledge and engage followers! That’s the point of social media, to build connections and mutually beneficial relationships. To do so, you must; post quality content that will benefit followers, comment on their content and even share it on your page and have meaningful conversations with them. Enter the 80-20 rule; a general rule of thumb designed to help you balance the karmic social media scales. It means; 80% of your posts should be quality content for, and with, your followers while the other 20% should be self-promotion. Playing well with others helps boost brand exposure and earn the trust of your followers.

Hashtag Abuse

DON’T clog your posts with hashtags. Can you say, #Annoying? I mean, the amount of hashtags per post has reached astronomical proportions, as demonstrated in this comedy sketch…

Now, don’t let Justin and Jimmy scare you off completely, there is huge value in hashtags. But there is a time, place and purpose for them.

DO keep hashtags short, simple and relevant to your brand. If you’re looking to link your content to a twitter trend, the potential for retweets and new followers is great. But hashtag #OverKill will work against you. Buddy Media, the social enterprise software of choice for the top global advertisers, reports that social media engagement drops about 17% when a post houses more than two hashtags.

Steer Clear Of Sensitive Subjects

DON’T use your professional accounts to give your personal views on current events, politics or religion. One of the fastest ways to get people trash-talking your brand over social media is to comment on controversial or sensitive topics. You immediately alienate half your audience and turn off potential future followers.

DO remember your purpose; building and maintaining your brand. Stick to the game plan. Unless your brand is dependent on voicing its opinions and concerns about current or cultural events, they’re best saved for your personal account or over drinks at the bar.

We all have bad habits, some are more dangerous than others. But not kicking bad social media habits could be a complete buzz kill for your brand.


Author: Reina Carbetta

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