My boss, Lorraine Ball, has a saying that she really needs to trademark: “No one will notice if you aren’t on social media. They will notice if you are doing it badly.”

The longer I have worked at Roundpeg the more I have realized just how true this is… and just how many businesses are handling their social media poorly. To be fair though, not everyone can be a social media expert, and some of the big social media bugaboos aren’t necessarily super apparent. However, that doesn’t make them any less costly.

Doing social media “right” requires hitting all the right notes and steering clear of classic slip-ups. Here are 4 of the biggest and most common social media mistakes you absolutely need to avoid.

Not being “all-in” on social media

So often businesses treat social media as an afterthought. It is a tacked-on responsibility for someone in an entirely different department, handled by an intern who will only be around for three months, or the classic “my niece does it” routine. Social media is not a place you can afford to half-ass if you want results. If you want to reap the benefits of social media it comes from being fully committed.

Success starts with posting everyday, interacting with your community as they comment and message you, sharing content and other pages your audience will find useful, not relying only on scheduled content, and giving yourself time to organically share content. These are things you simply can’t do if you or your part-time social media manager don’t have the bandwidth. If you want to do social media right, it needs to be a full-time responsibility that gets full-time attention – whether that is in-house or outsourced.

Posting the same content everywhere

It helps to be present on different social media platforms. There are some things that one may do better than others or maybe your target audience is more likely to be on certain platforms but not others. When it comes to posting on multiple accounts and pages, it may be tempting to just push everything out everywhere. Makes sense, right? You can do it all at once and it covers your bases on getting content out. But, not so fast.

Let me ask you a question: if someone can see the same content everywhere, what is their motivation for following you in more than one place? Giving each platform unique content creates incentives for your audience to follow you everywhere. Putting the same content everywhere just doesn’t make sense. Different content plays better on different platforms. No one wants to see a post for your new whitepaper on the more casual Instagram, but your more business-focused audience on LinkedIn probably will. Take the time to carefully plan different posts for different social media platforms.

Only using social media for marketing

While it may be OK to be almost exclusively business oriented on a platform like LinkedIn, hammering marketing messages down the throat of your social media audiences everywhere else is a good way to completely turn them off. Remember what I just told you about different content working better on different platforms. Most people are on Facebook to see pictures of pets and kids, not be marketed to. While it is totally fine to mix in the occasional marketing post, keep the interests of your audience in mind first and foremost.

Besides, there is so much more you can use social media for other than a soapbox for trying to make a sale. Sharing more light-hearted and fun content can help you better connect with your audience and give them a taste of what your business is like behind the scenes. Social media is one of the best places to build your authority as a thought-leader as well. Sharing helpful blog posts, created both by you and others within your industry demonstrates that you have your pulse on what is new and builds trust and confidence in your social community.

Posting without a plan

It always pays to have a plan, otherwise you risk making yourself look foolish. Social media is no exception. While you don’t need to agonize over every post and plan out social media posts months in advance, there does need to be a method to the madness. Every month, make note of important dates, holidays, or promotions you are running. These events can help create direction or a theme for the month and be the topic of posts. Having a loose plan for the month also gives you the time to prepare any special graphics you’ll need for the month.

While a plan is important, you should also plan for being spontaneous! Leave yourself the flexibility and wiggle-room for being able to drop in new or more organic content. This helps give you the chance to keep your feed fresh and change course if you need to. It is always better to have a plan, but you should never be imprisoned by your plan.

Want to improve your social media but not sure where to start? Start with an audit. Green Loop Marketing co-founders Melanie Allen and Meghan Martin joined us on our podcast, More Than a Few Words, to talk about how to audit your social media. Have a listen!