7 Social Media Marketing Mistakes Stopping You From Getting Results [With Examples & Fixes]

Find out about the fundamental social media marketing mistakes which could be hindering results and ways to fix them.

You post some content on social media. 

Follow influencers in your domain. 

Piggyback on trending hashtags. .

Even post your company blogs i.e original content. .

If you’ve come to a difficult realisation that these social media marketing efforts are still not paying off, then you’re not alone.

Don’t be discouraged. 

More than 3 billion people on social media around the globe (BrizFel 2018) and they are using social media to engage with brands. When managed well, this channel offers a great way to reach new and potential customers. 

Let’s look at some of the social media marketing mistakes which may be impacting your social media marketing performance.

And the best way to crack it is by learning through mistakes made by other businesses. As Eleanor Roosevelt said— ‘Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.’

Fundamental social media marketing mistakes


A niche B2B firm decided to explore social media for lead generation. They agreed to start off small and as long as the numbers work out, scale up incrementally. They ran a few LinkedIn campaigns to market their corporate event; On-boarded two management interns to create some graphic videos; gave the task of posting industry updates on Facebook to team members across various functions who shared the duty in rotation. Last time I checked, they were planning to acquire 10,000 Likes for their company FB page.

What’s wrong with this approach?

Starting off small should not be a reason to implement random tactics. 

Iterative approach works well, provided there is a holistic plan in place. In spite of that, there are some fundamental social media mistakes which businesses often make. Some of them can be identified from the above scenario. For instance:

  • No strategy for social media marketing
  • Not structuring the social media team properly
  • Not aligning content development with social media goals and metrics
  • Getting sidetracked by the vanity of accumulating followers

Here’s a brief description of each of these social media marketing mistakes: 

Mistake # 1: No strategy for social media marketing

social media marketing mistakes - Strategy

Social media strategy is a blueprint which helps in choosing the right channels, figuring out the content strategy, tracking and measuring the metrics that matter to your business.

Not having a social media strategy or plan is one of the most common mistakes which businesses make.

Without a social media strategy, you are at risk of implementing random and disjointed social media tactics which very often results in no concrete results for the business

And that’s exactly what happened in the case of this B2B firm. Their plan to increase FB page followers and to post industry updates do not map to clear business or marketing goals. Why did they choose FB channel? Is it the right channel for their target audience? What do they know about their target audience and the way they interact with social media.

So, where do you start?

Step 1: Set social media marketing goals that align to business objectives

Step 2: Research your target audience and create your social media branding strategy.

Step 3: Identify and set the metrics based on your customer journey and mapped to your goals

Step 4: Create content strategy

Step 5: Decide tactics (which networks to use, content frequency, etc)

Step 6: Conduct a social media audit

Step 7: Analyse your competition

Step 8: Create content and prepare calendar


Mistake #2: Not structuring the social media team properly

social media marketing team structuring mistakes

In the absence of a dedicated team, social media becomes an additional good-to-have task for the existing team who have nothing to do with marketing. We have seen this mistake many times and we know very well what happens to such tasks- they get pushed down the list of priorities over time.

So, what’s the right team composition?

Stop delegating social media management to inexperienced interns or time-starved employees. Your social media team needs at least the following skill set:

  • Social Media Strategist
  • Content Marketing Strategist
  • Content Creators (graphic designers, copywriters, video editors, etc)
  • Social Media Admin/ Executive
  • Customer Service

If having an in-house social media team turns out to be more expensive, then best is to outsource the work to an experienced social media marketing agency.

Mistake # 3: Not aligning content development with social media metrics and goals 

mistake of not aligning social media content with goals and metrics

In my experience, this is the easiest social media mistake to make.

It’s quite convenient for social media managers to direct all their energies in creating juicy content for social media and in ensuring that it is posted on time. But while creating the content calendar, most of them tend to overlook the fact that every piece of content has to serve some purpose or a marketing goal.

They forget to tie content with social media goals. And after posting, they don’t think it’s important to analyse the statistics. Of course they monitor the post level stats, but are they monitoring the right metrics which matter to your business objective?

If you want followers, likes, shares and comments, then create content that helps in brand awareness and engagement.

If you’re looking to generate traffic, then create content which helps in achieving that goal. Higher the qualified traffic, better the chances of conversions.

Keep this information in mind when crafting your social media content.

How to fix that?

Engage buyers along the customer journey. Map your social media goals with the digital sales funnel. Broadly speaking, there are five stages of customer journey.

  • Awareness:  where a customer first learns about your brand
  • Consideration: where a customer considers purchasing from you or competitors but is not yet ready to buy
  • Purchase: when the customer actually purchases
  • Loyalty: where your customers favour your brand over competitors
  • Advocacy: when your customers will refer friends and family to you

Mistake # 4: Getting sidetracked by the vanity of accumulating followers

mistake of tracking wrong social media metrics for B2B

If by increasing page followers, you’re able to achieve some marketing or business goal, then follower count metric matters. But no point in obsessing over the volume of page followers or fans, if it doesn’t align with your social media marketing goals. Ultimately, everything ties back to your brand’s or campaign’s social media strategy, as explained in point#1.   

Build your social strategy around goals and then track success in achieving those goals. According to Jell Bullas, one of the top influencer of Chief Marketing Officers following are the top 5 goals of B2B marketers:

  • Brand awareness
  • Lead generation
  • Customer acquisition
  • Thought leadership, and
  • Engagement


A B2C product company has active social media pages on Instagram and Facebook. Posts receive a decent number of likes and shares through organic tactics, but the product sale from their e-commerce platform through social media is negligible.

What could be wrong here?

  • Not integrating paid and organic social media strategies
  • Being overly promotional

Mistake # 5: Not integrating your paid and organic social media strategies 

social media mistake of not using paid ads

By not amplifying organic content through paid ads, businesses often expect unreasonable results through social media marketing.

Organic reach of content is down on almost all major social media platforms. You can no longer send out a post and hope for consumers to get wowed by your content or product- because they may not receive it in their feed.

Smaller companies with limited resources may feel intimidated by the prospect of social media advertising. But even those with resources do not consider integrating their paid and organic social media.

Creating content for targeting customers in the buying journey takes a lot of effort. By integrating your organic and paid social media strategies, you can amplify the reach of your content, reach the right audience, fill your marketing funnel, and increase your ROI. 

Mistake # 6: Being overly promotional

social media marketing content mistakes

By posting overly promotional content, you could be completely putting off your audience, in spite of being totally interested in your product. Your social media content should be such that it helps you in building relationship with your audience. 

Best way is to reduce the frequency of direct promotional posts, and give your audience something that’s helpful- it could be entertaining, educational, or even something that builds their trust in your brand. Although it’s your brand profile, but the ultimate object is to engage and hook people. You cannot expect people to find value and interest in anything that you throw at them. 

Here are some content ideas which are not ‘salesy’.

Before you read further, I’d like to re-iterate my point from social media mistake#3 (mapping content to goals, metrics and customer journey). Every piece of content should solve some purpose and contribute towards achieving some marketing goals and strategised according to the buyer journey.

So, here are some content ideas for your social media page:

  • Share original blogs, article, guides and e-books to demonstrate your company’s expertise and knowledge.
  • Create Hashtag strategy for fan engagement.
  • Build social proof for your brand through customer testimonials.
  • Use behind-the-scene (BTS) content to showcase your processes, people, etc
  • Share industry/ domain updates.
  • Curate content especially that created by influencers in your domain.
  • Create topical content for important days, trendjacking or newsjacking. Following presentation will give you some ideas about leveraging topical hashtags.

Also, checkout this case study where I’ve showcased some content OH! Design Studio created to promote a dairy brand on social media.


(This one is from my personal experience as a customer of a poplar sunglasses brand)

I dropped a DM on their official account on Twitter about a possible defect in the glasses I had purchased recently. I never heard back from them!

Mistake # 7: Ignoring customer service on social media

social media marketing mistake- customer service

One common mistake which social media teams make is that they ignore comments. Even brands with dedicated resources sometimes overlook such an important aspect of brand experience.

Whether you respond to messages and comments on social media or not, how much time you take to respond, and how you respond- all such actions go a long way in impacting the brand experience and hence the brand loyalty.

Customer service is a crucial aspect of customer experience. And in the digital age, it is also a lot more visible to everyone. From online reviews to customer complaints and issues, everything is easier to find on social media than ever before. That makes a perfect case for brands to use social media as a customer service tool.

So, where do you start?

  • Always answer queries
  • Track brand and hashtag mentions regularly.
  • Re-share positive mentions
  • Act human and timely 
  • Follow through on open threads

Most importantly, get out of the role of a marketer and experience the brand as a customer. 


Before I end…

[Updated in May 2020]

Considering the unprecedented times we are in due to the coronavirus pandemic, marketers are figuring out ways to navigate through this as they go. Here are some social marketing mistakes that we’ve seen in the times of COVID19 pandemic:

Avoid these social media marketing mistakes in times of crisis  like COVID19

We are in the midst of a pandemic, where businesses across many industries are suffering. So we cannot proceed as if it’s business as usual.  It took time for some marketers to adjust their social media strategy. For instance,

  • Engaging in tone-deaf messaging or insensitive content.
  • Alienating your audience by not acknowledging the situation.
  • Running ads for out-of-stock products or solutions which are not relevant given the current situation.
  • Exploiting the fear like concern for scarcity, etc to promote a brand.

Here are some ways to avoid this type of communication:

  • (Re)evaluate your pre-COVID19 social media strategy: Put yourself in the shoes of your audience and ask yourself- will the messages in the planned content or campaigns feel relevant. For example, for our audio product client, we had planned travel related content for portable speakers. But we felt it wasn’t the time to talk about or encourage travel. So we saved it for another time. Instead we revisited the content and tailored it to resonate with the #stayhome and lockdown situation.
  • Find new content opportunities: Brands may show that they can be helpful in the new everyday life. Provide valuable content that speaks directly to the questions, needs or concerns that your audience have during the crisis. Communicate your org’s updated ops, plans, policies and initiatives in response to the situation.

Have you made any big social media marketing mistake? Share your experience or take-aways with me at @SachdevaSupriya on Twitter or at @Supriya Sachdeva on Linkedin. I’ll be happy to interact.

For more information, contact:

OH! Design Studio

About OH! Design Studio

OH! Design Studio is a Mumbai-based branding & design agency.

Founded in 2006, OH! Design Studio is an integrated creative and digital agency with a passion for launching, rebranding and accelerating brands. Our goal is to create lasting and meaningful relationships between our client’s brand and their audience through distinct brand experiences.

For more information, please visit ohdesignstudio.com and follow OH! Design Studio on LinkedInFacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

By Supriya Sachdeva, Digital Communication Strategist at OH! Design Studio, Mumbai. 

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