how not to use social media marketing 

Here’s a fun fact that also makes me feel REAL old: I’ve been doing social media for nearly 10 years! I didn’t study it in school; social media marketing wasn’t even a CONCEPT. Social media was barely a concept.

As I’ve worked for dozens of clients in many industries throughout the years, I’ve seen some great examples of what not to do with social media.

Heck, I’ve even participated in a few. Here are some of my favorite anti-examples of how to use social media (i.e., don’t do this, please).


I will say right now that one of my least favorite uses of social media marketing is as a standalone tool.

I’ve had so, so many customers say to me that they just need to be on social. And YES, there are benefits in terms of positioning, communications and research, there are definitely situations where it just makes sense to have a basic presence on social media.

But for smaller businesses or solopreneurs, if you’re just posting day in and day out on marketing without implementing any next level strategies, you’re missing out.

And don’t get it twisted: you def SHOULD be posting on social media day in and day out. The challenge is that you can’t STOP with that. You have to take it to the next level.


Or in addition to, rather. Instead of posting standalone content across social media platforms, I suggest you create a customer path and use social media as the starting point on that path.

You’re just trying to get your audience from Point A to Point B and using social as the catalyst.

It doesn’t have to be majorly complicated, but you should give your customers SOMETHING TO DO when they’re done reading/watching your post.

Examples include:

  • Driving users to a blog post
  • Sending them to a landing page to become a lead or customer
  • Asking for engagement or starting a conversation

Whatever you’re doing on social, it should come pre-packaged with the next step.


Full disclosure: I started my career in sales, and we literally have our family car salesman on text, so don’t get the idea that I don’t appreciate a good sales rep. Believe me, I do!

BUT we also know that terrible, slimy sales pro that we wouldn’t send our worst enemy to.

So why do so many of us dislike that in real life but totally act like that on our business social?

If every post is about BUY NOW, BUY NOW, BUY NOW, you might as well put on a plaid suit and head to your local cash-and-carry car lot. It’s the same vibe.

“But Becky,” you say “you JUST TOLD ME to give customers something to do with every post and one of those things was selling. What gives?”

The difference is in value.


I’m definitely a fan of using social media as a sales tool. Yayyyy! But it’s all about using a value approach instead of a “BUY ME NOW” approach! Here’s what that  looks like in various examples:

1. Straight Up Sales
Get this one out of the way first: there are definitely times when it makes sense to sell on social media. I’m more a fan of driving users to a sales page so you can capture their data, but you always want to be driving with value.

So, much like Vanilla Ice, you should (yo, I’ll) solve it, “it” being common customer pain points. Don’t lead with the feature, lead with the benefit. Sell the hole, not the drill. GENTLY.

2. Lead Gen
If you’re trying to generate leads, you should be offering some value in exchange.

This could be a webinar, a lead magnet or a free consultation. Whatever that looks like, we’re putting the customer’s needs (their problems) before our wants (them to buy from us).


3. Engagement
Getting customers to engage is a form of sales. After all, it helps drive the algorithm of a post to get in front of more peeps.

But don’t be the brand that “punishes” engagement by replying to comments with a cheesy link (value links are A-okay) or messaging new followers to follow you everywhere. Join in the convo or do nothing.


This could come in a couple of different forms, but things I see a lot are:

  • Doing the same types of posts day after day (this is boring, and it won’t appeal to multiple types of customers)
  • Posting the same post across multiple platforms at the same time
  • Literally posting the same thing a million times in a row (Just. Don’t.)

The overarching theme here is that none of these activities (or the like) give viewers a good reason to come back and continue to engage with your brand.


Within the boundaries of your social media strategy, you should mix up the formats, calls to action, information shared and delivery vehicle (i.e., video, graphic, long-form text, etc.) as much as possible to stop the scroll.

A couple of things I recommend:

  • Mix up the purpose of your content, like providing information, starting a convo or just providing a bit of entertainment.
  • Use different formats or angles to share the same info. Some people like video and some people like infographics. Post both.
  • Stagger the same posts across channels on different days to boost reach.
  • Posts about the same thing (like a blog or upcoming webinar) should appeal to different audiences (based on logic, emotion or deadlines)


I can’t tell you how many national social media accounts look like I dressed in middle school: VERY UNCOORDINATED. Ideally, you have a brand style guide so anyone can create content and have it look cohesive and on-brand.

It’s tempting to grab existing quote graphics, memes and stock photos, but please, please, please don’t. For one thing, those are probably copyrighted. Using them is frowned upon (I’ll give the exception in a sec). Second of all, you want peeps to instantly know it’s YOU!


Brand guide, assemble. Or rather, throw together a quick Google or Word doc with your brand colors, tone, fonts and graphics. I bet you can do it in 30 minutes or less, and even if you’re doing your own social media it will help keep you in the right mindset.

Use apps like Canva or Adobe Spark to add your logo, color scheme and fonts to most of your content.

Make your own memes using a meme generator. Note: if there’s a specific meme I’m referencing, or a GIF I post directly, I’ll just go ahead and use the original version. I know, I’m the worst. But I maybe do this a handful of times a year.

The point is that 95% of your content should look and sound unique to your business and reflect who you are as a brand, and it just takes a few decisions (that you are allowed to shift as you evolve) to get started.


We are! If you shift just a couple of your activities in 2022, you could see a whole different outcome with your social media marketing this year. Go get ‘em tiger!

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