The Biggest Social Media Mistake You Can Make

In today’s digital world, there’s perhaps no better way to promote your business than social media. With interruption marketing like those old and annoying TV and radio ads shrinking in influence and popularity, the inbound marketing staple of social media is becoming a force to be reckoned with. Done right, it can make your business.

However, it’s not all good news. A lot of business owners hear good things about a social media site like Twitter, for instance, and then naturally try their hand at it. Unfortunately, far too many make a huge mistake when taking to social media, which causes them to get discouraged and then, eventually, to quit altogether because they’re not seeing the positive results they expected!

This is such a pity when you consider the potential of social media. What these unfortunate business owners failed to ever realize was that excessive self-promotion ruined them.

What Is Promoting Your Business on Social Media?

Social media encompasses social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, LinkedIn and, yes, even Pinterest. These are some of the biggest sites with the biggest user bases, which makes them ideal for marketing your business. The potential audience you can reach is, simply put, astronomical.

On a site like Twitter, a social media presence for your business can involve tweets from your official business profile that range from self-promotion to generously providing helpful information to your customers and even industry peers. On a site like Facebook, the concept’s exactly the same although the format’s obviously different. You’re not going to be limited to a certain number of characters, and you can reach more than a billion people since Facebook is the second-most popular site on the planet.

Needless to say, a whole lot of potential exists on social media, but it can be hampered by that one, biggest mistake.

Self-Promotion Becomes Bad…When It’s Excessive

The single-biggest social media mistake that you have to avoid at all cost is excessive self-promotion! Let me explain further. People get turned off really quickly when you use your business profile on Twitter or Facebook to constantly share promotional content about your products or services. That’s really too bad because all those people you’re repulsing could be your most loyal customers, too!

The tweet or Facebook update you never want to relentlessly make is the one where you’re bragging about how great your brand is all the time or what new item you’ve just brought onto the market. Doing this comes across as self-centered, and your social media followers instead want you to show them that your business cares about them—their wants, needs and pain points.

Why Other People Hate Excessive Self-Promotion

Don’t get me wrong: Promoting your brand is more than okay…if you do it once in a while. People hate excessive self-promotion since it tells them that you don’t care about them and are only in it for yourself. More than anything, people want your brand to engage with them and deal with them like human beings instead of just leads and potential customers.

So what do human beings want from a brand? They want to feel like your business really values them and can give them real benefits that will improve their lives on a daily basis. Excessive self-promotion fails to achieve either desire, which explains why people are very unresponsive to social media posts that only hawk your goods or services.

How to Really Master Social Media

When you stop dedicating your social media accounts to constant self-promotion of your business, you’re going to excel at social media. Like I mentioned above, self-promotion should be kept to a minimum, so you can still do it, but just be conservative about it. A collection of self-promotion tips from various sources agrees that it’s a best practice to mainly share others’ content on social media. As soon as you’re sharing more of your own content than others, you know you’re committing this biggest mistake.

Remember to mainly share helpful and valuable content from others, announcements of rewards for your customers (like giveaways and contests), and public thank-yous to build engagement. Following this approach to social media is a surefire way that you’ll attract more people to your brand while alienating absolutely no one.

Ever heard of the 80/20 rule? It’s the main one I use when it comes to social media and one I always talk about. It’s really simple:

80% of the social media content you share has to be highly interesting content from influencers/thought leaders in your industry that’s inspiring and informative to your audience. Note that a small fraction of this 80% can even be one of your own company’s blog posts–provided it’s very helpful and relevant to your customers (and non-self-promotional).

In contrast, 20% of the social media content you share can be your own, self-promotional stuff, but ensure that this content still helps your audience by offering them discounts, rewards or just insightful information. Do include a call to action in your content, too, because you want a fraction of your audience to still convert.


The biggest social media mistake results from you thinking that your brand is more important than your customers. The reality is, of course, that it isn’t. Any successful business will always tell you that it’s the customers that make it a success since, without them, it’d go out of business in a hurry.

Your business is only as good as your customers. By engaging with them, you draw them to your brand, but by focusing solely on self-promotion, you end up driving them away and hurting your own bottom line in the same action! Talk about the worst of both worlds.

Instead, always be mindful about the content you’re sharing on social media. Share more content from others that helps your customers and deals with relevant stuff to your industry, and watch how popular your brand will become on social media.

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