10 Things NOT to Do on Social Media

I have to admit it, I’ve had enough. Social media has been around the block. Millions of “how to” posts and books have been written, yet so many people are still getting it wrong. I’ve mentioned quite a few of these don’ts in previous posts over the past three years, but somehow, the message still isn’t getting through.

Social media is personal, but too many people (and companies) are treating it as an impersonal advertising platform. Fail.

There are people on the receiving end of your posts. People who want to connect and engage. It’s called social media for a reason.

1.  Don’t connect Twitter to Facebook. Two different social media platforms, two different languages. Your Facebook Timeline looks ridiculous with a one-sided conversation and all those @ and # signs. Just stop it. Check out Hootsuite instead, and choose which posts go where.

2.  Don’t send an automated DM to new followers on Twitter. It’s impersonal and makes you look like a spambot. You do realize that I’m aware every single one of your followers is receiving the exact same message, right?

3.  If I don’t know you, please don’t send me a personal message on Facebook, asking me to LIKE your fan page. Seriously, I’m not a fan.

4.  Stop sending event messages through Facebook to your entire community. If we haven’t had any previous interaction or engagement, how do you know I’m even a prospect – or interested for that matter. If you and your event are in Des Moines, why would I attend when I live in Los Angeles? Do your homework, otherwise, you’re just a spammer (see #2).

5.  Don’t drink and tweet. That’s right, don’t tweet anything that you wouldn’t want your mother or your ex-boyfriend to see. Tweets are archived in the Library of Congress, so once you hit Enter, it’s out there forever.

6.  Don’t be a narcissist. Seriously, enough about you already. Stop broadcasting your products and services and start listening to what others are saying and engage. Just because it’s virtual, doesn’t mean it isn’t a real conversation with a real human being on the other end.

7.  Don’t tweet the same thing over and over again. One particularly guilty coach I know has tweeted the exact same thing at least 20 times in the last month alone. You might think it makes your social media marketing a little easier, but really, you’re b-o-r-i-n-g us.

8.  If you don’t have the bandwidth to manage multiple social platforms, then don’t. If you are too busy to get social, it is better to be present and engaging on fewer platforms, then absent from or overly automated on too many. You are judged by the frequency with which you update your accounts and contribute to conversations where you can provide value. If the light isn’t on, people will forget you.

9.  Don’t be all business all the time. First, you’re boring us (see #7), and second, the only way we’ll really connect with you is if you show us your personality and heart. Share your interests and passions so we can find common ground.

10.  Don’t be overly negative. The social space in general is extremely positive, with collaboration, conversation and helpfulness being the order of the day. No one likes complainers and whiners. And don’t forget #5: any vitrol you happen to spew will be out in the ether forever, for all to see. Even your mother-in-law.

What’s your #1 social media don’t? Please share with us in the comments below.

©2012 Liz Dennery Sanders


  1. I like your comment about not linking twitter to Facebook. I see a lot of people putting their Twitter posts on their site or on their Linked In page…what do you think about that?

    • Liz Dennery Sanders says

      Hi Jill,

      I don’t have a problem with the plug-ins used to put your Twitter feed on your website or LinkedIn (in fact, I do it – and you can see my Twitter feed to your right –>). These are essentially “sidebars” and don’t take up the entire space.

      When you have your Twitter feed connected to Facebook, they actually appear as your FB status updates, which is completely different. I find this can be confusing for people, and ultimately, Twitter is a different language to Facebook.

      Thanks so much for the comment!

  2. Great advice.  Love it!

  3. To be honest, I have found that the only people who follow me on Twitter are other people in my industry (financial planning). I really have tried to engage other people in casual conversation, but so far it falls flat. I’m waiting for a flash of brilliance to figure out how to make Twitter valuable!

    • Liz Dennery Sanders says

      Hi Hilary,

      Thanks for your comment!

      Since you don’t seem thrilled with the fact that only people in your industry are following you, I’m going to assume that financial planners aren’t your target market.

      That said, who is your target market? What are they struggling with most? Start tweeting valuable tips and recommendations that support them and you may soon see your following start to shift.

      You may also want to start tweeting about your interests and passions outside your work. This will help you connect with other like-minded individuals who potentially share your values. Start following others outside your industry.

      There are quite a few posts about Twitter strategy here on the SheBrand blog. Here’s one to check out: https://shebrand.com/the-twitter-rules-of-engagement/.


  4. Totally agree about the automated DM; that happened to me.  It was unpleasant, unwelcome, and it was so incessant, I actually I had to ‘unfollow.’

    • Liz Dennery Sanders says

      Hi Latifah,

      Yes! Many who use the automated DM end up getting unfollowed – it’s just so impersonal.

      Thanks for your comment!

  5. Hi Liz,
    Boy does this need to be heard! The most annoying thing is the automated Twitter DM. If you can’t take the time to send a personal note, why bother?

    All 10 are must reads for anyone using social media and they all say “connect and engage is the first … and last rule”.

    If I’m honest Liz, when I first started using social media I made a few of these blunders. It’s because people like you have the courage to call it like it is that I’ve learned the best way to engage with my community.

    Great post Liz!

  6. Rachelerin says

    This may sound silly, but don’t have animated avatars. I just saw one and I hope to never see one again. 

  7. Love this, Liz! I agree with all of them. 
    Another no-no: Don’t go on other people’s Facebook pages as your page and plug your page. It’s like coming to someone’s party (and not knowing the host) and shouting, “Hey y’all, come over to MY party!” It’s rude. If you wouldn’t do it in real life, don’t do it on social media. 

    • Liz Dennery Sanders says

      Another great one, Andrea! Whenever someone does this to me, I immediately delete their post and then de-friend them. Probably not the result they were looking for! 🙂

  8. Love this, Liz. As always, you’re right on the mark.

  9. A+ on every single item!

  10. OMG, I was totally guilty of #1 and then my FB page fans asked me what was up with the weird updates, I nixed that fast. Thanks for this, how great to get the info in such a fun and light hearted fashion. You are so not b-o-r-i-n-g me. Keep it coming, I need the help.

  11. Yes #4 is a BIG pet peeve! Even on FB there are ways to separate your friends by categories. Close friends, acquaintances, your city, your state, your high school friends, your family, your business associates, and beyond. First your clients and prospective clients should be grouped in one and therefore you know they are interested in your business posts and the invites are not unwanted. Or choose to only send the invites to people in your city and state. If you are sending out mass information on social media, please take the time to learn how to utilize the different settings that are offered to you.

  12. Thanks for the tips. I’m going to share this via twitter & facebook because there are too many people in twitter and facebook land that do the exact things posted here (and they shouldn’t be).

  13. Solid recommendations. I would also add to this that under no circumstances is it okay to promote your business on another person’s page or profile (on Facebook) without their expressed consent or permission. There’s an art to tagging and being permission-based in your sharing that takes time. Blatantly using my personal space in the world for your advertising space is the quickest way to an an “unfriend” and “unlike” in my virtual sphere of the world. 

    • Liz Dennery Sanders says

       Yes, that’s a huge no-no! Thanks for pointing it out, Erin, and appreciate your comment. 🙂

  14. Mlitzsinger says

    As an event planner, I have several other planners and vendors on Facebook.  It drives me crazy when they book a new client and announce it to everyone.  Who cares?

  15. Viewing this on an iPad and the content is there then goes blank, just wanted to give you a heads up,… Probably a plugin glitch.

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