5 Pieces of Social Media Advice You Should Ignore Right Now

Entrepreneur, beware of bad social media advice!

While there are many credible, experienced individuals who can help guide your social media strategy, you may also run into self-proclaimed social media “experts” and “gurus” who can quickly lead you astray with dubious recommendations and misguided information.

Here are 5 pieces of terrible (but common) social media advice that you should avoid, along with the reasons why:

BAD ADVICE #1: It’s all about the quantity of fans you have.

Why it’s wrong: While it may be nice for your ego to see your number of Twitter followers or Facebook fans climb, these are not the right metrics to measure. Sheer quantities of people who have clicked a button do not keep you in business.

Instead… focus your attention on quality social media followers who are important to your business and who want to buy what you are selling (or have influence with your potential customers). A smaller, responsive list is always a better choice compared with masses of uninterested people.

social media buttons

BAD ADVICE #2: Be on as many social media networks as possible.

Why it’s wrong: As an entrepreneur, you have limited time in your day. It’s not a good idea to try and maintain an active presence on a myriad of social media sites. Just because people are Tweeting about the power of Vine, it doesn’t necessarily mean you should start to use it.

Instead… do some research and focus your social media efforts on the places you are most likely to reach your target audience. Then, work to build a community of qualified leads, referrers, and influencers on these sites.

Also, remember that the social networks you choose have to work best for you. If you absolutely despise videos, then you aren’t ever going to make YouTube work as your tool to deliver great content to your audience.

Measure your results to see if you are putting your marketing efforts into the right place. If you don’t know where to start, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook are solid foundations for business owners since they have huge audiences that span many demographics and industries.

BAD ADVICE #3: You MUST post X times a day.

Why it’s wrong: Now, this is an interesting piece of advice – while it may come from an inexperienced advice giver, it also can be a misinterpretation from credible research. There are several studies that provide aggregate data showing the best times of day to post/Tweet with the optimum frequency.

Instead… remember that these statistics are taken from a sampling of a large number of social media accounts. As such, they have little to do with what your audience will welcome. And just because you read that the best number of times to post is 4 or 24 or 124, it all comes down to your audience. Test your own timing and frequency to determine what garners the best response from your followers.

BAD ADVICE #4: Send an auto DM to all of your new followers.

Why it’s wrong: This is one of the worst pieces of advice out there. Please do not do this. It will only serve to annoy people, creating the exact opposite reaction then the one you want. Not only are auto DMs completely impersonal, but many people consider them spam. Auto DMs may actually cause you to lose followers.

Instead… if you really want to thank someone, do it in real time and on your actual public feed. They’ll appreciate the mention and the fact that you took 2 seconds out of your day to notice them.

BAD ADVICE #5: Don’t ever get personal on social media.

Why it’s wrong: You may have the misconception that it’s important to act really “professional” or “corporate” on social media. And, unfortunately, this approach comes across as stuffy, impersonal, and downright boring.

Your customers and prospects want an opportunity to get to know you, so go ahead and “let your hair down” a bit more. Show people the fun side of yourself and don’t be afraid to get a bit personal. Step out of your comfort zone and take some risks! Even the big brands are learning that “unexpected bursts of humanity” make you stand out.

Let your hair down quote

And, bonus tip #6…

THE WORST ADVICE EVER ABOUT SOCIAL MEDIA: You don’t need a strategy for your social media, nor should you waste your time measuring your results.

Why it’s wrong: Although sometimes it might be fun, social media isn’t just about cool tools and blasting out your latest thoughts. These sites are powerful marketing channels that you can leverage to connect with your customers and prospects.

Instead… develop a social media marketing strategy that aligns with your overall business goals. Know WHO you want to reach, WHY you want to reach them, and define WHAT you expect as an outcome.

Then, make sure you track your efforts and refine your system to improve your results. There’s NO benefit to your small business if you are spending time on a marketing activity that isn’t working to bring in leads and customers. You should monitor the results of every marketing activity to understand your ROI.

One of the easiest ways to measure results is to take a look at your Google analytics to see the traffic that your social media activity is driving to your site. Ideally, you can also set up systems that measure the conversions from this traffic. The important thing is to start by setting goals for your time on social media and then to identify which metrics you’ll use to measure them.

Social media is a quickly changing playing field with new rules and features coming out weekly. It’s easy to get mislead by terrible advice, especially by self-proclaimed “social media gurus.” The most important thing is that you pay attention to what works for you and your business.

Your turn:

Any other awful social media advice that makes you really mad? Share it in the comments section below to warn our readers to steer clear!


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Wendy MaynardWendy Maynard is a marketing strategist and business consultant who coaches CEOs and leaders on how to build brand awareness and become the top company in their industry. She is the co-founder of Kinesis, a Portland-based marketing firm.


  1. Nice post. It beggars belief that this advice is given in the first place.

  2. Thanks Steve – glad you enjoyed it. I totally agree with you about the bad advice.

    Best, Wendy

  3. Great tips! Couldn’t agree more about the auto DMs–so annoying!

  4. Wendy Maynard says:

    Thanks Kelly! Auto DMs ruin the whole entire function for everyone who might use them to reach out. )-:

  5. Well said Wendy. I see so many entrepreneurs going in one direction, giving up and then going on to the next social media platform without ever testing and measuring to see if the first one was working. Hence, they have a smattering of “starts” all over the place but don’t stick with any one to build a following. It takes more than a few days to test a platform. Be patient.

  6. Julie Ann,

    That is a great point. Consistency and patience are important to building any marketing platform. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Then refinement with testing and metrics.