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The Secret Ingredients to Grow a Healthy Brand

  • Writer's pictureRenae Golden

WARNING: Do Not Do These 5 Things on Social Media

Updated: May 29, 2023

When it comes to social media, it’s just as important to know what not to do as it is to know what to do.

Part of our passion for supporting small businesses is to help them avoid the common pitfalls and bad marketing habits that we’ve seen happen over and over again. By learning what not to do, you can better invest your limited time, energy, and resources into strategies that actually work.

By avoiding these 5 common mistakes on social media, and using the strategies we suggest in their place, you can get on your way to effectively grow your business using social media.

1. Play the follow/unfollow game

A lot of businesses focus heavily on their number of followers, and for good reason - the size of your audience certainly plays a role in the type of impact your business can have. Many businesses will try to increase their followers by following new accounts in the hopes they will follow you back. Then at the end of each week, they unfollow these same accounts in order to keep their following number low.

In our experience this “strategy” rarely works, is time-intensive, and isn’t a good way to grow a true and authentic audience. In fact, it’s not really a strategy at all, just a game to increase that number on your profile page! A much better and more intentional use of your time is to focus on organically growing an audience that is committed to your success.

2. Use the same hashtags on every post

We all know that hashtags are a great way to drive new traffic to your content. But, it’s been shown that Instagram’s algorithm takes note of accounts that consistently use the same hashtags and often flag them as spam.

Another important reason to avoid this is that it doesn't help you get your content in front of the right audience. If you write a post about motherhood but use hashtags related to your photography business, you’re not going to get the right eyes on your content.

Instead, create hashtag groups for the different types of content that you typically post about and use them intentionally on posts related to that content.

3. Only post when inspiration strikes

Posting consistently is a key way to grow the following and engagement on your social media platforms. If you wait to plan and post your content when you feel inspired, have time, or are in the mood - chances are you won’t end up posting!

The best way to stay consistent with your audience is to plan and schedule your content in advance.

4. Pray for engagement, without engaging

Everyone is after engagement, but so often we see businesses who aren’t taking the time to actually engage themselves!

Engagement is a two-way street. You can start by asking questions of your audience, including calls to action to like or comment on a post, and replying back to comments that you receive.

You can also spend time going through your feed and commenting/liking on content from your followers.

The more you give engagement, the more likely your followers will give it right back to you!

5. Pretend to be something that you’re not

This may just be THE BIGGEST mistake that we see small business owners make. More and more social media is about creating personal connections, and the desire for authenticity is on the rise. As a business owner, you may feel like you need to stand behind a “wall” and adopt a voice that is only professional and not personal.

While I do recommend being professional, I think audiences want to feel personally connected to you and your brand. Don’t get so caught up trying to be what you think your audience is looking for that you lose what makes you unique.

Showing up as you are and letting your following peek behind the curtain is the most sure-fire way to attract the right audience that will connect with you and your mission.


I hope these 5 "not-to-do’s" help you cultivate an authentic, organic and growing community on social media! Don’t forget to follow Halcon for more great marketing tips and resources.

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Nicole Powell

Meet Nicole Powell, an expert whose journey spans from Manila to the Midwest, helping businesses transform into profitable and brag-worthy brands with research, creativity and neuroscience. With a determination to uplift fellow entrepreneurs, Nicole draws from her experience and mentorships with industry leaders for the past 15+ years. Her mission is clear: pay it forward, sharing the knowledge and skills she's acquired to empower others.

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