Social Media Don’ts



At Double Forte, we spend a lot of time advising people on what to do on social media. Do be consistent. Do be authentic. Do be relevant, etc., etc., etc. But what about the don’ts? What are the things you should never do on social media?

There’s the obvious list: don’t be vulgar, don’t post something personal from a client’s account, don’t post something you will regret, don’t be hateful – ever, etc., etc.

And then there’s the less obvious list: the list of don’ts that some social media expert, guru rather, told you was okay – a best practice in fact. But it’s not. It’s not okay. We’re talking about the things that annoy all the real people when you do them. And that is who you are trying to reach on your channels isn’t it: real people?

So, because social media is all about generosity (a guru told us that) we’re sharing the unofficial list of social media don’ts.

Don’t post pictures of people without their approval. Now, when it comes to a company’s social channels, it is reasonable to post pictures of company meetings, celebrations, outings, etc. But make sure your employees know the expectation. Spell it out in the social media policy (you have one of those, right?) or in the employee handbook. What’s not reasonable, however, is to walk around snapping pictures of coworkers because you need to post something on the company Facebook channel by 3 pm today. And don’t post unflattering, large-scale pictures of employees. It’s just rude. Here’s a helpful rule of thumb:

If an employee complains that a picture of them is unflattering and they appear pin-sized in a group shot, they are probably high-maintenance and not right for your culture. If you post an unflattering picture of an employee and their head is the size of an American coin, your corporate culture is the problem.

Don’t use more than three hashtags. We seriously don’t care what the research reveals. More than three hashtags in a single post, on any social site, is just obnoxious. #wisdomwednesday #socialmediarules #fromtheforte #seewhatimtalkingabout #howyoulikemenow

Don’t bulletin board. Okay, we just made that term up. (#bulletinboard!) We’re talking about those brands that post stuff about the company, the product, the product features, the company thought leaders, the boatloads of VC money they’ve been awarded, and nothing else. Nothing about anyone else. No responses. No retweets. No love for anyone but themselves. They use social media as a bulletin board and then they call their agency and say, “We’re not getting any engagement.” Don’t do it.

Don’t send auto-DMs when you get a new follower. No. No. No. Don’t do it. There is absolutely nothing authentic about a DM that says, “Thanks for the follow @DoubleFortePR. We can’t wait to engage with you. Now go follow us on 27 other social channels, download our eBook, attend our marketing webinar, and buy lots of product from us.” But there is everything annoying about it.

Don’t send generic LinkedIn requests. You go to a networking event. You drink just a little bit too much. You have an impassioned conversation with someone about the need to disrupt disruption. The next day you send that someone this message, “I would like to connect with you on LinkedIn.” You might as well say, “I’m sober now and less witty and I’d like access to your contacts. I deserve it after our boring conversation last night.” Make the effort!

Don’t ask for likes, shares or retweets. Unless you’re 13, and then it’s okay.

Social media is arguably the most human component of every brand. So be human with your execution. Do be social. Don’t be socially awkward.