Let's be honest for a second here. When it comes to quality, a large amount of social media content posted by brands isn't good. In fact, in terms of subject matter, copy, photo quality, and more, much of the content is downright cringeworthy.
Here's the good news, though: Most of the solutions to these mistakes are quick, easy fixes. To illustrate this, here are the things your audience doesn't want to see you post on social media.
1. Inauthentic, forced content
You see this mistake all the time. Companies and individuals force trending topics into their posts in hopes of gaining more followers and engagement. Examples could be anything from an athletic event to the latest dance craze to a natural disaster.
Just because LeBron James is trending on Twitter doesn't mean your company has to post about him. If it isn't a seamless integration, or if it isn't relevant to your brand's values, you probably shouldn't post about that trending topic.
Instead, do this: Only focus on the topics relevant to your business. If your business is a dating app and "worst first dates" is trending, then definitely post about it. Otherwise, proceed with caution.
2. Low-quality photography
Crappy photography can hurt the perception of your brand. In the consumer's mind, if a brand can't take the time to post quality content, then what's to stop it from delivering subpar service or creating a subpar product?
So, please, no Polaroid pictures of your peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
Instead, do this: Post only high-quality photos. These pictures don't have to be taken with a $1,000 camera. Nowadays, most smartphones are sufficient.
3. Being Mrs. or Mr. Know-It-All
Yes, you might be an expert in your field, but that doesn't mean you should act like a Know-It-all. The reason someone is reading your blog post or watching your YouTube video is either to learn something or to be entertained. Be wary of this. Don't talk down to your audience. Be relatable.
Show vulnerability. Talk about your mistakes. Talk about where your company started from. Talk about the lessons you've learned on your entrepreneurial journey.
4. Spelling mistakes
Spelling errors don't look good. Perception is reality, especially online, where your customer touch points are limited.
Instead, do this: Use spell check.
5. Insensitive content
Nothing shows you're out of touch more than posting insensitive content. Keep in mind that you aren't the only person who will be reading your content. Other people, with wide-ranging life experiences, will be reading it as well. Be conscious of this and act appropriately.
6. Way too many hashtags
Please don't use too many hashtags. It can make even the greatest content appear spammy.
Instead, do this: According to research by Buffer, on Instagram 11 hashtags is the ideal number, and on Twitter the amount is one or two. As a rule of thumb, be discreet with your hashtags. Make sure they aren't distracting your audience from the message you're trying to convey in your content.
7. Too much irrelevant content
People are following you on social media for a very specific reason. If you follow a comedian on Twitter or Instagram, you expect his or her posts to make you laugh. If you follow a philosopher on Twitter or Instagram, you expect his or her posts to make you think.
Whatever your niche is, whatever your identity is, your content should reflect that. Sure, you can show your human side and post about your other interests every now and again, but keep most of your content aligned with your brand.
8. Corny stock photos
When selecting which photos to use for your content, try this rule of thumb: If the photo looks like it belongs in a high school textbook or cheesy infomercial, don't use it.
The best solutions here would be either to pay for a subscription to a well-known stock photography provider or to hire a photographer. Yet if you want stellar stock photography that's also free, check out Unsplash and Pexels. These services also allow you to download an unlimited supply of photos with no watermarks.
As a final note, remember that human behavior is a pendulum. As we know, what was cool and interesting yesterday quickly becomes uninteresting in the mind of the consumer. As a brand, you should try your best to be ahead of the curve (or at least at the speed of the curve) so audience members won't get tired of the type of content you're creating.
To succeed, focus on the all-around quality of the content you're putting out into the world. With high-quality content and strategy and scrappiness, it's only a matter of time before you start reaping all the benefits of social media.