By Ann Gynn published April 19, 2019

22 Things You Wish Marketers Would Stop Doing on Social Media

Scrolling through social media platforms can be an irritating experience.

Too many brands and individuals don’t use their digital megaphones effectively. At best, their lack of awareness (of the audience or platform etiquette) is annoying. At worst, it prompts people to “mute” or “unfollow” their social media.

To make that scrolling less frustrating – and to help brands and marketers make social media a better place to scroll – we asked your fellow Content Marketing Institute community members for their biggest social media pet peeves. And boy, did they share. Thanks to all who responded in our #CMWorld Twitter Chat and through our requests on social media.

Now, let’s get to the venting. (To avoid redundancy, we didn’t type “my biggest social media pet peeve is” for every response. Thus, some replies are incomplete sentences.)

1. Ask but don’t reply

It really annoys me when brands ask questions via social, but they fail to respond once you answer. It shows that they read a social media best practice of asking questions to increase engagement, but they miss the point of engaging themselves.

Amy Higgins, director of content marketing

#SocialMedia Pet Peeve: Brands ask questions but fail to respond, says @amywhiggins. Click To Tweet

2. Make instant pitch

When I follow someone on Twitter and instantly receive a direct message pitching or selling me, I (want to) say, “Slow down, and don’t you want to get to know each other at all?”

Holly Lawrence, writer and strategist

3. Sell instantly

Sales pitches via LinkedIn within two seconds of accepting a connection.

Cathy McPhillips, vice president of marketing

When I accept your #LinkedIn connection request, don’t pitch me, says @cmcphillips. Click To Tweet

4. Think one size fits all

Every network has certain parameters, but I see a lot of companies use the same size, etc. for everything. Images look blurry, too small/big, and just unprofessional.

Stevie Howard, writer

5. Hide behind the business

Folks using their business logo as their profile photo on LinkedIn.

Chaim Shapiro, social media consultant and higher education professional

6. Don’t do content

Those who rarely post. Why bother setting up an account if you’re never going to post?

Michelle Garrett, writer and PR consultant‏ 

7. Automate comments

Spammy Instagram comments that are clearly written by a bot and have zero substance

Maura Hughes, digital content manager

8. Try to fool me

Auto-reply messages that try to fool me into thinking they weren’t sent by a bot. Really people, it’s obvious. If you delayed it by at least a few hours, you might fool me every now and then. But please don’t.

Tod Cordill, growth advisor

#SocialMedia Pet Peeve: Auto-reply messages that try to fool me into thinking they weren’t sent by a bot. @todcordill Click To Tweet

9. ‘Borrow’ text

When someone manually reshapes my words in a way that makes them look like they’re their words instead of using built in resharing functionality

Erika Heald, content strategist

10. Don’t cite

Not giving people a mention when you quote them. It’s not only an attribution thing, but it helps people be able to better respond.

Gene Petrov, leadership coach

Give people a mention when you quote them. It makes it easier for them to respond. @GenePetrovLMC Click To Tweet

11. Miss the people

When brands don’t engage or care about their followers’ comments on social media – positive or negative, reply.

Lilly Newman, social media manager

12. Post gibberish

Spammy comments on my Instagram posts.

Gwen Pearson, social media manager

13. Comment without meaning

People leaving throwaway comments that don’t mean anything.

Taylor Barbieri, copywriter and email marketer

#SocialMedia Pet Peeve: People leaving throwaway comments that don’t mean anything via @Taylor_Barbieri. Click To Tweet

14. Pretense without engagement

When self-proclaimed “influencers” say they have 200,000 followers, but at quick glance you see they get maybe a handful of comments per post. You’re an influencer … but you have a 0.00005% engagement rate? Bye.

Christian Lowery, social media consultant

15. Don’t walk the talk

Other marketers claiming to be social media gurus and having a meager online presence.

Richard Sink, marketing advising firm founder

16. Invite without context

I really hate when people send an invite to connect on LinkedIn without any context. Who are you and why do I care?

Monina Wagner, community manager

I really hate when people send an invite to connect on #LinkedIn w/ out any context. @moninaw #socialmedia Click To Tweet

17. Give self-proclaimed titles

It’s a tie between unsolicited (and unwanted) private messages and people who create their own obnoxious titles, like guru and ninja (no offense to actual ninjas, of course).

Mike Myers, marketer

18. Write for him, her

Bios written in third person on personal social media profiles. I want to get to know you, not read stiff, corporate speak. I also don’t want to see your business logo or another photo other than an up-to-date photo of you. I call these things bio hazards.

Lisa Dougherty, director, blog operations and community

#SocialMedia bio hazards: Don’t write your bio in 3rd person & never use a logo for a profile photo. @brandlovellc Click To Tweet
HANDPICKED RELATED CONTENT: 60+ LinkedIn Profile Tips for Marketers

19. Add or omit letters

Is there anything more annoying than typos? It only takes one small mistake in a post to make me question the credibility of a source. And once I question credibility, I immediately begin to question everything else. Typos aren’t just a pet peeve…they are damaging.

Sue Lucas, professor, consultant 

20. Distribute the same content

Sharing the exact same post across all the platforms and not customizing

Tracey Bradnan, marketing consultant

Don’t share the same #content across all your #socialmedia platforms, says @traceybradnan. Click To Tweet

21. Don’t know the purpose

People using LinkedIn like Facebook. There is a reason I’m not on Facebook, please keep LinkedIn professional.

HB Duran, freelance writer

22. Miss the reason I’m there

Don’t send me to Facebook or Instagram if I’m on Twitter. I’m on Twitter because I don’t want to be on Facebook or Instagram. Stop automatically posting from other channels. I then will get half your long-form message and a link to exit my preferred social channel. It’s rare that I will choose to do so. It just comes across as lazy or that you don’t understand how to use social media.

Lisa Rupple, writer

More venting

If you want to check out more pet peeves, read this great piece about Martin Lieberman’s picks for 50 annoying social media behaviors.

And let’s continue this therapy session/social media learning exercise in the comments. Tell us the annoying things you see brands and individuals do on social media.

Want to get together in person to talk frustrations in content marketing – and find some remedies too? Join thousands of your fellow content marketers at Content Marketing World this September. Register using code BLOG100 to save $100. 

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

Author: Ann Gynn

Ann Gynn edits the CMI blog. She also serves as the Tech Tools editor for Chief Content Officer magazine. Ann regularly combines words and strategy for B2B, B2C, and nonprofits, continuing to live up to her high school nickname, Editor Ann. Former college adjunct faculty, Ann also helps train professionals in content so they can do it themselves. Follow Ann on Twitter @anngynn or connect on LinkedIn.

Other posts by Ann Gynn

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