Top Annoying Social Media Habits to Avoid

Social Media Habits to Avoid


These days, having a stellar social presence is essential for online business growth, but simply creating profiles, getting followers, and posting whatever you want, whenever you want, isn’t enough to get there. There must be strategy, of course, but even when you operate within a strategy, there are a few things you can still get wrong. These are the top annoying social media habits I’ve seen brands committing regularly across social media – and I’m here to tell you to stop, right now. Even if you think you’re doing your brand some good, believe me, you’re not.


Posting Information Without Fact-Checking

If there’s ever a place full of misinformation that looks real, it’s social media. Tons of memes are floating around with false data, contributing to the dumbing-down of our society. If you see anything you think may be worth sharing to your audience, do everyone a favor and fact check it first. One of the best places to check is Snopes – but you can always go to Google, too. If people figure out the falsehood of what you’ve posted, you’ve knocked your credibility down a notch, and possibly lost a follower or two… maybe more.


Posting All.The.Time.

Fear of missing out (FOMO) is a real thing online, and that’s why we see teenagers posting everything from what they ate for breakfast to the movie they’re watching right now. You may think that because you have to compete with everyone else out there, the best way to do that is to post all the time. But, if you fill your audience feed too much, they’ll start to ignore whatever it is you’re saying, or worse yet, unfollow you all together.

There are many studies on the best time to post on social media to guide your efforts. On Facebook, the data shows:

  • Sunday: 32% higher engagement
  • Thursday: 18% higher engagement
  • Friday: 18% higher engagement
  • Saturday: 32% higher engagement
  • 9 am
  • 1 pm: Get the most shares
  • 3 pm: Get the most clicks

On Twitter, however, it looks a bit different:

  • Wednesday is the best day to tweet.
  • The best times are 12 pm, 3 pm, 5 pm, and 6 pm.

Posting on Wednesday and noon and between 5 and 6 pm is optimal, though to increase retweets and clickthroughs, you can also tweet right at noon and 3pm. You can safely experiment with 2-3 am, 6-7am, and 9-10 pm.

Use Pinterest? Take a look at this:

  • Sunday: Best for Food
  • Monday: Best for Fitness
  • Tuesday: Best for Gadgets
  • Wednesday: Best for Quotes
  • Thursday: Best for Outfits
  • Friday: Best for GIFs
  • Saturday: Best for Travel

The best times to in are 2 pm, 9 pm, and 2 am. Avoid Pinterest during work hours, and for best results, include a call to action, and try to match the best topics of the day.

The data for LinkedIn shows the best days to post are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. The best times to post are between 7 and 8 am, noon, and 5 and 6pm.

The data for Google+ shows you should avoid posting in the early morning or late evening. The best time to post is between 9 am and 11am, or between noon and 1 pm, especially on Wednesdays. The majority of people there are lurkers and will not interact with what you post.

The data for Instagram shows people are engaged throughout the week, but Mondays and Thursday tend to get a bit more attention. Avoid posting between 3 and 4 pm on those days. Videos do best every day between the hours of 9 pm and 8 am. Generally speaking, the best times to post to Instagram are between 8 am and 9am, 2 am, and 5 pm.

Factoring in time zones sounds complex, but it doesn’t have to be. Half of Americans live in the eastern time zone, and when you add the central time zone, you’re accounting for 80% of the population.

So, now that we have the best times to post for optimum reach and exposure, that still doesn’t answer the question about how often you should post to your business accounts. And just like each network has ideal times, each network has ideal frequencies.

Conventional wisdom says you should post to Facebook twice a day, but this only works if you have a following of 10,000 or more. Posting twice a day with a smaller audience translates to 50% fewer clicks per post. Those with less can post one to five times a month and see clicks per post double.

In terms of Twitter, there’s no clear cut answer, because it depends on your goals, according to this study. If you want to want to get the best engagement from each tweet, then stick to one to five tweets per day, but if you want to get more responses overall, tweet as much as you want… with up to 50 times a day having no negative effect on your account.

For Instagram, it’s not the frequency, but the consistency that matters. You can start posting multiple times a day, even up to 15-20x a day on your account without negative effects, but setting that standard means you have to do it consistently. Changing to posting just a few times a week will translate to lost followers and less engagement for each post.

For Pinterest, post between four and 10 times a day to get maximum engagement, but some studies show pinning up to 30 times a day is okay for brands with lots of content.

And while we’re at it – let me take a second to say – don’t post to your social profiles apologizing for a lack of posts recently. It’s pointless – and because posting more often doesn’t really offer any benefit, just jump back in to posting regularly. Take time to curate some content and get it queued up and ready to go so you can avoid gaps in the future.


Constant Self-Promotion

People don’t use social media to be sold to constantly. Yes, they use it to discover new products and services, but they want do so on their own terms. Constantly tooting your own horn will lead to followers ignoring you, or completely unfollowing you all together. Some self-promotion is okay, but focus on providing content that educates, entertains, and informs. “Interesting” content ranks as one of the top three reasons people choose to follow a brand on social media. If you’re creating interesting and useful content, getting that content in front of the right eyes, the rest will fall in line.

There’s no real hard and fast rule about how much of your social content should be about your brand, but the consensus seems to be to apply the 80/20 rule. This means only 20% of your social content should be about your brand, and the rest of it should be focused on building relationships with your followers.


Automated Messaging

The automated direct message on Twitter, to say “Thanks for the follow!” or “Check out my new…” may seem like a good idea to connect with followers who catch you when you’re offline, but really, it defeats the purpose of social media. Social media is a platform, regardless of which channel you use, to connect with people you wouldn’t otherwise be able to meet… on a personal level. The automated message approach is highly impersonal, and can turn off new followers.


Informal Posting

Social media is fun to use among friends and family for your personal account, but it is fast becoming a powerful professional tool, and should be treated as such. It needs to be considered a conversation with a client you’ve known for a while. It’s okay to be conversational and casual, but don’t use that as a reason to be informal. You still want to show respect and leave an impression. TyPiNg Lik DiS, Or This, OR THIS, won’t do that.


Hopping on All the Trends

If you see something trending, your instinct may to be jump on the train and get in on the action. After all, if it’s tending, thousands of people are talking about it, so you’d get massive exposure outside of your current audience, right? Before you jump on that hashtag, do some research.

What’s the hashtag really about? In 2014, well-known pizza brand, DiGiorno taught the world a valuable lesson about hopping on trends without doing due diligence first. The brand jumped on the “#WhyIStayed” hashtag, with what ended up being an offensive tweet. The hashtag was actually in response to Janay Rice’s decision to stay with NFL player Ray Rice, after he’d committed acts of domestic violence against her. Thousands of women used the hashtag to share their stories, and DiGornio didn’t take 10 seconds to figure out what the hashtag was about before tweeting. As soon as they realized their error, they deleted the tweet and began issuing apologies.

Is the hashtag relevant to your business? If not, skip the trend. You don’t need to waste time talking about anything and everything. It could confuse your audience, and especially any new or recent followers.


Buying Likes and Followers

Okay, so this one should be dead obvious, and many of us know better. And yet, there are still countless services out there offering to get you likes and followers on any number of social media networks for a fee. It can be really tempting for an unsuspecting business owner to get a start that way, because they’re worried about having high numbers to make themselves look good.

The problem with this approach is – number one, these followers and fans are likely just spam accounts – up to 11.2% of Facebook accounts are. If they are actual user accounts, chances are they’re not targeted users, even if the service says they are. So, you end up with hundreds, if not thousands of followers who don’t give a flying hoot about what your business and what you have to offer.

Your business is far better served by 50 followers who are actively engaged in what you have to say and genuinely interested in your product – part of your target audience – than it is with 500 random people. Social isn’t a numbers game, no matter how much it looks like it. Quality over quantity is definitely true here.


Excessive Use of Hashtags

Hashtags are used on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook as a way to categorizing information, curating content, and ultimately, reach a specific audience. Two to four hashtags is best – two for twitter, and more for Instagram where the image could easily appeal to a wider audience. Keep it simple, and don’t make up crazy ones.


Syncing Cross Posts

You think, “Hey, this is a good update for Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, so I’ll just save time and sync them all to each platform automatically.” It sounds good in theory, but take the time to do it manually. Each network has its own style and the audience expects content to be delivered in a certain way. When you automate the process from one network to another – you’re sending the message that you’re lazy… and followers on all platforms see the same thing over and over.


Ignoring Requests from Your Audience

When someone sends you a message on social media, don’t ignore it. Do what you can to respond as soon as possible. 32% of customers expect a response within 30 minutes, while 42% expect a response within an hour. Think that’s rough? 57% of them expect the same response time outside of normal business hours, including nights and weekends. If you need to, have a team of people who can respond quickly. It’s okay not to be on top of things all the time, but make sure to include response time into your schedule so your audience can see you’re paying attention. One study found failing to respond to customers on social channels can lead to a 15% increase in churn rate for existing customers.

Putting it All Together to Create a Solid Social Strategy

Pay attention to your audience analytics on social media channels to see when your audience is most active. Use that data to determine the types of posts and topics they share and respond to the most. Focus less on how much you post, how many followers and fans you have, the hashtags you add to the content, and more on providing quality content, and responding to your audience. Remember your goals, and make sure everything you post fits into helping you accomplish them.

What other social media habits do you find annoying? Share them with me below.

Photo credit: Adobe Stock

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54 thoughts on “Top Annoying Social Media Habits to Avoid”

  1. The part about self-promotion really got me. That is one of my biggest pet peeves when it comes to social media. I see, on Instagram, way too much of the same people not promoting a product/brand but promoting themselves. Insta-famous has become a real thing and it’s annoying!

    • So true, Kevin – there’s a fine line between blatant self-promotion and sharing your personality/personal life with your followers, especially if you’re representing yourself and not a company or brand.

        • Hi John, I would say not to do that, only because links don’t work within the comments of Instagram. You could try linking them to the article on Twitter or Facebook, or if you have the link in your Instagram bio you could leave a comment directing them there. (“I included you in an article I wrote, the link is in my bio if you want to check it out!”)

  2. This is a really EXCELLENT article!! I especially like the “best times to post”. I am going to be experimenting with this and see if it makes a difference in engagement.

  3. This is a great article. I’m just getting started and struggling with when to promote my “brand”, which is really just information. I love Instagram but how do my cool photos translate to promoting my brand, rather than me? I see a trend with what people love on Instagram (running, food, wine, beer). I will get there. With Facebook it’s difficult to use it for both personal and business posts and I’m not sure I want two separate accounts just yet (other than a “business” page). I’m still getting my feet we with Twitter, although I’ve had an account for years. I haven’t quite gotten into the groove. Thanks for the article. It is bookmarked.

    • Hi Marcie, Instagram is a great tool for branding – personally or professionally. Sometimes posting about yourself (what you like, your hobbies, your family or pets) is a good way to show people a more personal side of yourself. Humanizing your brand is always a plus! Keep it curated and “un-spammy.”

      Also: The good part about having a professional Facebook page (like a public figure page) is that you can link it to your Instagram to turn it into a business Instagram, with a “contact” option next to the follow button.

  4. Really enjoyed this. There is much information out there about recommendations on how, what and when to post that can be confusing. You made it simple and easy to ‘get’. Going to use your advice. Thank you!

  5. I guess people have to pay for information like this. Mr. Sacks, why do you have to dish out all these info just for nothing?
    Hahaha. Just kidding!!!

    I bet you – I have learned enough from your post to take me throughout my social media life.

    Please accept my best wishes.

    • Having a set posting schedule (every few days, weekly, etc.) can be helpful for both social media managers and the audience. The audience comes to expect/look forward to great content, and the social media manager’s can work ahead to produce quality content without doing it last minute.

  6. Thanks Eric – a great article and I must admit a to a little guilt in a couple of those areas – some changes underway. In terms of the best times – were those stats “global” or US focussed – just womdering if there are national or cultural differences etc

    • Hope you found some helpful tips in the article! In terms of “best times to post,” I would say they’re fairly universal. For example, its been said the best times to tweet are 12pm, 3pm, 5pm, 6pm – that would be for your specific timezone. Of course, you should still play around with posting times to see what’s most effective. Depending on your industry and audience, different times may work better for you.

      • Hi Eric, I started reading all the information on so many different important issues, and I found myself, reading more and more.. Thank you my friend in sharing such great points in so many things that we all should use.. I have been posting on LinkedIn for a while now, and just recently, I found that I have had some more people liking my post.. Not enough, but it a start… Trying to promote my product and at the same time, telling them how important it is staying healthy with articles… Thank You for sharing… Great article……

  7. As someone with a start up consulting business these pointers will become very useful to me, especially the best times to post on social media. It is not surprising to me that people have misused social media to self promote….over the last decade or so I have seen the ‘me’ generation become even more self important. A perfect example of this is people taking “selfies” of themselves and posting on social media.
    For beginners my recommendation is to find a business counselor. A good place for me was SCORE.

  8. Thanks for the excellent post! I have avoided using third party apps to push content to multiple platforms at once because from my experiences, they typically receive less engagement. However, I often wonder if I’m wasting too much time not taking advantage of this time saver. Glad to read that I’m doing the right thing! Also, I really like the Facebook Insights feature that shows you data on the most active times for your page’s audience by days of the week and time of day.

  9. Thanks for your good advice! Gives me confirmation of my own thoughts and experience 🙂
    One more point that I dislike is when people make posts in strong emotional situations, angry scared or sad, that is sometimes so hard to pic up as a follower and so personal. Keep that out please and think it over a while first.

  10. I guess the best way to thank you is to subscribe, repost and credit :). Your post is helpful and concise. As a digital marketer, I am driven crazy by information overload. Your to-the-point tips are powerful while employing a helpful dose of brevity. I look forward to more.

    • Thanks for your feedback, Dennis! It’s true – information overload is a problem marketers today are facing every day. How do they post useful, relevant content without spamming their audience? These are tips to keep in mind for anyone when scheduling/creating social media content.

    • So true. Content is king, and rehashing someone else’s POV doesn’t add anything of value to the conversation. And if you don’t add anything new/fresh, why should people follow you?

  11. Great article. Thank you. I look forward to retesting the posting times as you listed to see if better results are achieved based on that timing

  12. How would you recommend handling customers, or any social media user, that are aiming to damage your brand?


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