7 Social Media Marketing Pitfalls You Need to Avoid

7 Social Media Marketing Pitfalls You Need to Avoid

Social media marketing has evolved to become a mainstream marketing tactic that will soon replace traditional marketing.

With social media platforms gaining popularity and accumulating massive user bases of millions of daily users, they are too big to be ignored.

However, not everyone has nailed how to be successful at social media marketing. Some brands have amassed millions of social media followers while others are still struggling.

So, what is it that they are doing wrong? What social media marketing pitfalls are they falling for that are limiting their success?

In this post, we will discuss 7 social media marketing pitfalls that marketers should avoid to be successful at their social media marketing.

1. Not Understanding Your Target Audience

This is one of the biggest social media marketing pitfalls that should be avoided at any cost. Your entire social media marketing and content strategy will depend on who you’re targeting. Thus, it is crucial that you know your target audience before you start any social media marketing initiatives.

If you don’t know your target audience, you’ll just be creating content aimlessly, hoping someone will like it. And that would be a complete waste of time and money. Moreover, if you don’t understand your audience well, you might end up posting something that will trigger a negative reaction.

Remember the United Colors of Benetton fiasco when they posted a photo of 3 kids on Instagram with the caption “no girls allowed”? Since a lot of their audience is comprised of women, they had to face a lot of social media backlash for that sexist comment.


The image has now been removed from Instagram, but the lesson was clear. Know your audience before posting anything on social media.

2. Posting Same Content on All Platforms

Treating all social media platforms equally is a rookie mistake and one of the biggest social media marketing pitfalls.

The whole point of having an active presence on multiple channels is to use each to your advantage. Each platform has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. And, if you just post the same content on all of them, then you’re missing out on a big opportunity.

For example, Twitter is a platform that works best for short, witty, trending content on a topic that people are currently interested in. Instagram, due to its visual portfolio-like format, is perfect for displaying products or posting visual content.

Coca Cola is one brand that knows how to use each social media channel in the best manner. If you take a look at their Instagram page, you’ll see bright, graphic images usually using the brand’s primary colors of red and black. They keep their imagery consistent and their Instagram page looks like a portfolio by a graphic designer.


Image via Instagram

But, on Twitter, the story is entirely different. They know better than to post a series of still images on Twitter, which is a much more dynamic and interactive platform. So, they post more interactive content on Twitter to try and spark a conversation or get their audience to interact with the brand.


Image via Twitter

Tailoring your content for each channel will help you get the best results out of your social media marketing initiatives.

3. Posting Too Much Promotional Content

This is a very common social media pitfall that even experienced marketers often make. After all, the goal of marketing is to promote your brand and sell your products right?

Well, true as that may be, you can’t use social media as your ad display playground. If you want to connect with your target audience on social media, you will have to do it on their terms.

You need to post content that integrates well within the platform, like native content, and does not disrupt a user’s browsing experience. The first rule of social media marketing is that your content should look like any other content in a person’s feed.

You also need to post content that is useful and relevant to your target audience. If you keep bombarding people with promotions and ads that they’re not interested in, it will likely annoy them. And, we all know that nothing good can ever come out of your prospective customers being annoyed by your brand.

So, the rule of thumb for social media marketing is to post useful and relevant content, targeted at a particular customer segment, that looks like the platform’s native content.

4. Not Leveraging Enough Visuals

When talking about social media marketing pitfalls, we can’t ignore the overuse of text, which is a big mistake that marketers make. There have been enough studies to prove that visual content works better. People like looking at images or videos more than reading text. We all know it, and yet some marketers still can’t resist explaining things a bit too much using text.

This is a social media marketing pitfall that you really need to avoid. People go on social media to get entertained, stay updated, and discover new products/brands without spending much time and effort.

It’s the age of convenience, and long text messages are just inconvenient. Using visual content is, therefore, your best bet if you want to succeed at social media marketing.

5. Failing to Track and Measure Performance

This is another rookie mistake and one of the biggest social media marketing pitfalls.

You can create the best social media content and build an active presence on several platforms. But, you won’t know whether or not you’re getting significant returns on your investment (even if it is just time and effort) unless you measure your performance.

And it’s not really that hard to do. Almost all social media platforms have some kind of analytics tools that you can use to track your performance. And, there are third-party analytics tools that you can use to get even deeper insights.

What’s more, is that you can measure your performance at an extremely granular level. You can see exactly how well a particular post or influencer is doing by using tactics like unique tracking codes. You can use a tool like UTM.io to generate and use unique tracking codes that let you measure your social media performance at a granular level.

6. Not Having a Brand Personality

This is one of the most common social media marketing pitfalls because a lot of marketers don’t even consider this in their social media strategies. However, all successful marketers know how important it is to have a brand personality, especially on social media.

Most people like and follow brands that they connect with or believe in, in some way. And, having a clear and distinct brand personality helps people connect with your brand better.

Dove is probably one of the best examples of a brand with a distinct social media personality. They have a purist and feminist personality and all of their brand messaging aligns with this brand personality.

Most of their campaigns and social media posts spread the message of inclusion and diversity, and encourage women to be their true selves.


Image via Instagram

7. Being Irregular and Inconsistent

Being regular and consistent with your social media content posting is another rule of thumb for social media marketers. No matter how good your content is, it won’t be of much use if you post irregularly and sparingly.

In fact, some social media platforms like Instagram reward accounts that post regularly and punish those that don’t. Your content may be shown at the top of the feeds of other users if you post regularly. Otherwise, it may just get lost in the sea of content on Instagram.

Moreover, if you want a loyal follower base, you need to be transparent with them and set the right expectations. You don’t need to post everyday. But you should decide on a frequency of posting and stick to it.


These are some of the biggest social media marketing pitfalls that stop brands and marketers from being successful in their efforts. Avoid these pitfalls to build a strong social media presence and connect with your target audience.

If you know of any other social media marketing pitfalls that we’ve missed above, please comment.

Dan McGaw

Dan McGaw is an award-winning entrepreneur and speaker. He is the founder and CEO of McGaw.io, a marketing technology and analytics agency, and the creator of UTM.io, a campaign management and data governance tool. Named one of the godfathers of the marketing technology stack and one of original growth hackers, Dan has decades of experience in digital marketing, technology, and analytics. (His team won’t let him take this out even though he says it makes him sound old.)

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