8 Mistakes That Make Businesses Fail on Social Media

Many businesses have discovered how social media can support marketing and customer service efforts. Social network platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Facebook, and YouTube have become indispensable places where clients and businesses interact. Still, a majority of all businesses fail to perform well on social media.

As many companies have realized, success on social media depends on more effort than just creating accounts and expecting people to come. An active presence on social media requires time and engagement. Learn from the following eight social media mistakes that commonly make businesses fail, and set a successful course for your business.

Image credit to Sean MacEntee on Flickr
Image credit to Sean MacEntee on Flickr


Many businesses consider social networks solely as places to promote their products. However, bombarding users with sales pitches and advertising alienates social media audiences. Companies that brag about their excellent products and services also turn off social media users. When people see businesses that only care about selling without any concern for people, they will likely stop following them.

Don’t make the mistake of aggressively using social media to advertise. Instead, use it to build relationships with customers and the public. People might, at first, visit your social media pages because of the products you offer, but you have to give them a reason to stay.


Some companies spend time creating social media pages on Facebook and other sites, and then never act on them again. When users see that a business hasn’t posted updates for many months or even years, they have no reason to stick around.

Avoid the mistake of creating an inactive social media presence. Old and outdated filler information will not engage your audience either. Instead, provide and promote valuable content that makes your audience interested. Try posting current news about your company, educational material, and fun and entertaining content to make your profile exciting and memorable. How-to articles, tips and tricks, customer stories, and videos can add value to your brand and give customers a reason to participate.

Although creating an engaging social media presence challenges most businesses, large enterprises often experience the most difficulty. Such companies should consider hiring a social media manager or an outside firm to help them avoid the mistake of social media inactivity.


As opposed to being inactive, some businesses go overboard with their content, bombarding their audience with an incessant stream of posts. Regardless of the interest or value provided by your content, too much of it turns people off and results in the loss of followers. It also produces negative opinions as people get fed up with the barrage.

Your company should strive to maintain a balance. You want to have an active presence that adds value and promotes your brand, but you don’t want to exaggerate claims, post too much content, or become repetitive. What you should do is add variety to your social media presence by using different types of content, diverse topics, and various perspectives to retain the interest of your audience.


Businesses also fall short on social media when they focus too much on content, while failing to provide great customer service. Without it, as we all know, your company will not yield sufficient success. You can post, tweet and pin on social media all day, but the activity will not pay off if you ignore your customers’ inquiries, complaints, and comments.

When people spend their time visiting your company and leaving some feedback, you should acknowledge them with a response. Ignored visitors will eventually develop negative feelings about your business and leave. They might also badmouth your company, and that is the last thing you want.

Social media provides an excellent channel for customer service, so never ignore what people have to say. Quickly respond to all inquiries and complaints to show the world that your company has a commitment to excellent customer service. When people see that you promptly respond to both angry and satisfied customers, they are more likely to spread the good word about your business.


Another common mistake to make is to ignore your supporters. In some cases, this error goes hand in hand with poor customer service. Social media success depends on interaction, so you want to make sure you interact with everyone you meet, including your fans and followers.

Your business should participate in the social media experience by sharing, liking, and reposting your fans’ content that you find interesting and valuable. When you keep the communication alive, you build relationships with people who will learn to respect and appreciate your contributions. Your company should also occasionally take the initiative by soliciting opinions and feedback – it will make people feel important.


Companies also make mistakes when they forget the context of social media and communicate with an indifferent, encyclopedic tone. Dry, formal communication has its place, but not in social settings, so turn it off. People want to connect with real people at a real company, not with a robot.

Your business can interact with others using informal or casual language without seeming unprofessional. When you add a human touch to a business presence, you make friends and gain valuable relationships. As a rule of thumb, you should respond to comments in like manner. For example, if someone speaks to you as they would to a friend, answer the same way. You can use emoticons and humor if you want, but avoid coming across as arrogant or cocky. Talk naturally and watch your relationships flourish. When you let the approachable, friendly personality of your brand appear on social media, you endear the affections of the people who you want to have as customers.


Sloppiness hurts businesses – it makes companies seem unprofessional and flippant. Still, many companies that go on social media create sloppy content containing poor grammar and spelling. Some readers might think ten-year-olds run some businesses from the way they write. Don’t let your company seem sloppy. When you do, you communicate to other people that you don’t care.

To combat sloppiness, create a policy that requires someone to proofread all your communications before they go public. When you spell words correctly and use proper grammar, you let people know that you operate a professional organization that seriously means business.


Sometimes businesses make inappropriate references and offend their audience. Don’t make the same mistake. Bad taste disturbs customers and casts your business in a negative light. Don’t be like DiGiorno who generated negative sentiment through their #WhyIStayed failure. Instead, pay attention to the things you say. Always speak respectfully and avoid controversy. When your business communicates appropriately, your entire audience will feel valued and safe.

Image credit to geralt on Pixabay
Image credit to geralt on Pixabay

A successful social media presence involves providing valuable content, excellent customer service, and respectful interactions. When you avoid the eight mistakes that make businesses fail on social media, your company becomes one of the few that leverage social media in support of growth and profitability.

Guest article written by: As a freelance writer from Seattle, Natalie Smith enjoys covering topics related to social media, online marketing, entrepreneurship, and business in general. You can reach her @Natalie Smith

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