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Six outdated social media tactics you need to stop using now

By Alexandra Gavril - August 18, 2018

If you’re running your social accounts like it’s 2013, you need to stop.

Social networks have changed, your customers have changed, even your business has changed. So why haven’t your social media tactics changed as well?

It’s time to stop wasting time on those “best practices” and strategies that don’t produce any results, and start investing time in those that do.

Here are six outdated social media tactics that need to be put on a shelf now.

1. Posting links to your content left and right

Posting links to your content and your content alone is a thing of the past.

Of course, if you’ve written a useful, interesting piece of content, whether it’s a blog post or a case study, you should share it on your social media accounts. If you’re proud of it and know that your audience will benefit from it, then it needs to be shared and promoted on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or whichever social channels you’re active on.

But if your social accounts are mostly or all links to your own content, don’t be surprised if your audience loses interest or if they start to unfollow your page.

What to do instead

  • Balance your owned-content links with links and resources from other good, non-competitive sources. Think about it this way: you don’t have (and don’t need to) have all the answers. So the way to be helpful is to share advice and information from a variety of sources.
  • Mix in posts that don’t link out anywhere and experiment with different formats like text, images, video. For example, you could ask questions to get a conversation started with your audience, or you could post short tips or useful insights. Remember, social media is about creating “meaningful interaction”, not about posting links to your content left and right.

2. Sending automated messages when someone follows you

Twitter is notorious for automated messages that are generic, boring and ineffective. You’ve probably received at least one of these:

  • “Thanks for following me, I look forward to reading your Tweets!”
  • “Thanks for following me! Subscribe to my blog/visit my Instagram for more great content.”

Everyone knows that these messages are automated so they come across as inauthentic and spammy.

Not only does the lack of personalisation show that you don’t care about your followers as individuals, it also says that you care more about what they can do for you than the other way around.

What to do instead 

  • Everyone wants to feel special, unique and heard. And you can only make your fans and followers feel that way if you stop sending them automated, cold “thanks for following” messages. Instead, customise your message to resonate with your new followers and offer them something that they’ll find interesting or valuable.
  • There’s nothing wrong with automated messages. You just have to make sure that the message you send out comes across as friendly, understanding and human. The sooner you start treating people like people, the better the engagement and the results will be on your social channels.

3. Obeying “best times to post” studies

It’s important to know the days of the week and the times when most of your fans and followers are online, thus more likely to see your content.

So, of course, there’s nothing wrong with reading studies about the best times to post on social channels. It’s good to stay informed and see what works for other businesses. Just don’t assume that it will work for your business too.

These studies, while an interesting read, are based on averages and it’s likely that your particular audience doesn’t fit into that category. So you can’t expect fantastic reach and engagement if you post content on the specific day and time as recommended by a study.

What to do instead

  • Do your own research on your audience to see when they like to spend time online. Use tools like Facebook Insights and Twitter Analytics to find out more about your audience, what type of content they enjoy and when they’re most active on these channels. Our free course on getting the right results from social media includes a section on how to use Facebook Insights and Twitter Analytics to learn more about your audience.
  • Run your own tests and experiment with posting content on a network for different times and on different days of the week. After a while, you’ll get a better sense of when your posts get more engagement.

4. Randomly posting, rather than scheduling

Posting when you feel like it or only when you have some spare time is a bad idea. You won’t get any results if social media is an after-thought and if you’re only active once a week when you have finished everything else on your to-do list.

Social media is about engaging and creating “meaningful interaction” with your audience. You can’t do that if you’re present five minutes a week, and when all you do is to share a link to your content.

What to do instead

  • Make social media a priority. If you lack the time or the skills, hire a professional to manage your accounts for you. Ignore your social channels and log out, and your audience will too.
  • Create and schedule content ahead of time to make the process more manageable. A social media content calendar makes it easier to organise your content into a consistent posting schedule. Read this post for more tips and advice on how to create, schedule and share content on social media.

5. Different platforms, same content

You’re probably guilty of posting the exact same content on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Sure, it makes the job simpler: it keeps your accounts active, saves you time, and makes it easy to share your content widely. But the short-term advantages outweigh the long-term drawbacks.

Here’s the thing: if you’re posting the same content across all platforms, you may be saving time, but your business may come across as lazy. It also makes it look like you don’t care about what you post on your accounts, or about having a real conversation with your fans and followers. And if you don’t care, why should they?

What to do instead 

  • Every platform is different. So even if you’re sharing the same blog post, make sure to craft a unique message for every network. While it will take more time, you don’t need to start from scratch every time. Even a few small tweaks can make a difference and show that you’re paying attention.
  • Check your captions to ensure you’re using the right vocabulary for each platform. Use relevant hashtags on the appropriate platforms in order to boost visibility for your content. Add images with the right dimensions. In other words, make sure that the content and format of your post fit with the platform you’re posting it on.
  • Tailor your posts to suit the context and tone of each platform. Some content might make sense on Facebook but not on LinkedIn. For example, a meme or a trending hashtag might work well in a tweet, but fall flat on LinkedIn.

6. Trying to be everywhere, all the time

If you sign up for every social network available in the universe, thinking that that’s the way to get more exposure and business, you’re doing it wrong. Not only will you be wasting lots of time keeping your social accounts active, but you probably won’t get results either.

Your business needs to be on social media, yes. But not on every platform out there. Just where your audience is.

What to do instead

  • Identify your target customers
  • Find the social networks where they spend their time
  • Pick one or two networks to start with
  • Set a clear path by setting goals and objectives
  • Measure your results and tie your results back to your goals

Read this post to learn more about how each major social network is used and what kind of results you can expect to achieve with each. This will allow you to determine which social networks best match the needs of your business.

Wrapping up

Social media, like everything else online, is constantly changing so you need to up your game to stay in it. That also means keeping updated on the best practices for each social media platform and leaving behind those tactics that do not work anymore.