By Jeanne Beirne, Founder and CEO, Tabengin Consulting

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Ahhh, the first flutters of excitement setting up your social media account. It can be exciting and you’re building your brand presence. But let’s review the things you should not do — and how to correct them if you have.

Buying Followers

It may seem tempting but buying followers can ruin your accounts and it is just bad karma. 

Why is it bad for your account?

Buying followers is against Meta’s (Facebook, Instagram) terms of service. In the worst case if identified, Meta could shut down your account, and best case your engagement and reach are diminished.

Remember: Engagement is key to how Instagram’s algorithm displays posts to users. Without real followers to engage with your content, your posts are essentially hidden from everyone except your audience by the algorithms. This means your posts won’t show up in places like Instagram Explore, or your real audience’s newsfeeds. 

It is close to impossible to measure how well your ideal audience is connecting with your content if a high percentage of that audience isn’t real. This creates challenges for you or your social media agency in identifying what content works and doesn’t work.

Also, those bots/bought followers may be the identity of a real person and use stolen images and names. That’s the bad karma.

What you can do: If you have purchased followers you have three choices if you want your social media to work for you:

▶ Remove the bots/followers (carefully, 100 a day max).

▶ You may have to start over with your account.

▶ Use your account for brand awareness only with no expectations of any traction.

Sales, Sales, Sales All the Time

While it is good practice to promote new products and services regularly on social media, don’t overdo it. You want people to choose to follow your social media account and no one wants every post to be an advertisement.  

This is especially important with the new Instagram feeds of Favorite and Following where your audience can choose what they see in their feeds. People can choose to unfollow or mute you if there isn’t something special to your content. Each of you has products and services that enrich people’s lives. Lean into that.

What you can do: 

▶ Diversify your content and be entertaining, educational, and engaging.  

▶ Showcase products and services in every post but do it in clever ways that aren’t overly salesy.

Hashtags or Just One Sentence in Your Captions

Yes, the post imagery is important but so is the caption. Captions are keyword-driven and an SEO opportunity. Your captions should all have a hook, keyword-driven caption, and a call to action in every post as well as hashtags that partner with your posts.

What you can do: 

▶ Do not use generic or big hashtags.

▶ Do not use a majority of tiny hashtags and way too specific ones.

▶ Stay away from hashtags with under 50,000 engagements because they tend to be dead and do not generate traffic.

▶ Most hashtags should be between less than a million and greater than 100,000.

▶ Do an audit every quarter to ensure you are using good hashtags.

Limiting Yourself to One Social Media Platform

You should have two social media platforms and maintain a presence on them. Do you know which are the best social media platforms for your business and your ideal client?   

As your first platforms, consider an Instagram and Facebook combination as a good starting point since they have an easy pass-through for content. Facebook is the most used social media platform worldwide with over 2.9 billion monthly users.

Instagram had over 1 billion users worldwide in 2021. After you have identified the platforms that work for you and your ideal clients, go all-in on those before you add additional social media channels.

Confusing Your Business Account with Your Personal Account

There is a balance between your business personality and who you are in your personal life. Judiciously pepper your personal life into your content. Your business profiles are about creating content for your audience and what they want to know, learn, and be engaged by. In most cases, a photo of your coffee is not the content they want unless it is linked to your business. Showcase stories about your Day in Your Life starting with your coffee through your workday and how you close your day out.