This might sound contradicting – and it’s scary for us to admit.
But, despite buildinga product that helps people succeed on social media, we have committed a good number of social media mistakes ourselves.
Mistakes that have cost us reach and engagement, maybe even fans and customers.
Now that we have learned from many of those mistakes, I would love to share our top 10 and how you can avoid committing them yourself.
Let’s get started
Learn from These 10 Social Media Mistakes We’ve Made
Here’s a quick overview of the social media mistakes we’ve been making until recently:
- Focusing on quantity over quality
- Being on all social media platforms
- Posting the same content across platforms
- Using only landscape images and videos
- Sharing only our own content
- Not curating user-generated content
- Not uploading videos to social media platforms
- Not targeting specific audience for our content
- Not boosting the right posts
- Not replying to questions on social (fast enough)
Mistake 1: Focusing on quantity over quality
Posting less 3X our reach and engagement
We were posting way too much.
As we have been producing a lot of content on our blogs and podcast, we had many things to share. So we shared – a lot. Also, to fill our Buffer queue, we might have included content which was good, but perhaps not the best.
When we posted less (once or twice per day) to our Facebook Page, our reach and engagement increased by three-fold.
Limiting our Facebook posts to just one or two per day forced us to share only the best content. These quality posts resonated with our Facebook fans, and the Facebook algorithm surfaced them to more people.
Small business owners and solo social media managers usually don’t have the time to create or find enough high-quality content to post five times a day on Facebook or tweet 10 times a day on Twitter. By reducing the number of times you post each day, you can focus on the quality of the posts rather than the quality of posts.
Mistake 2: Being on all social media platforms
Fewer channels, more focus, better content
As a social media management company, we feel a duty to test outall social media platforms so that we can understand how each platform works and can share what we’ve learned about succeeding on each platform
what we’ve not been so great at is deciding when to stop using a certain platform.
We weren’t getting the results we want for the time and effort we put into Snapchat and most of the users on Snapchat aren’t our target audience. Whereas Instagram provides several advantages such as better discoverability, analytics (including audience insights), and audience targeting through ads.
Every additional platform your business is active on means additional time and effort required to create great tailored content for that platform and engage with your fans on that platform.
Take stock of your social media profiles and consider which channels are performing for your business and which are not. By moving away from social media platforms that might not suit your business or not beperforming well, you can double down on those that are.
Mistake 3: Posting the same content across platforms
Tailored content for each platform increases reach and engagement
We often recommend people to share unique content for each of the social media platforms because the platforms are set up differently and people have different expectations for the content they want to see on each platform.
For instance, on Instagram, hashtags can help to increase your reach, but they don’t quite have the same effect on Facebook.
To help solve this problem, we recently improved our product so that you can customize your posts for each social media platform and share them to your profiles all at once.
Mistake 4: Using only landscape videos and images
Square videos have higher average views and engagement
We were used to posting landscape videos and images because that was the ideal image size for most social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.
1,024 pixels by 512 pixels.
But that might not be true anymore. As square videos and images are no longer cropped on Facebook and Twitter, they take up more real estate on someone’s feed – 78% more, in fact.
After spending $1,500 on experiments, we found that square videos actually generate higher average views and engagement, especially on mobile phones, than landscape videos.
Once we discovered these findings, we started posting more square videos and images on our Facebook Page and Twitter profile. It could be worth experimenting with square videos and images to see if they perform better for you, too.
Another fun experiment to explore might be posting vertical videos and images, especially since Facebook isshowing a larger preview of vertical videos on its mobile feed.
Do you have any experience with vertical multimedia? How do they perform compared with landscape or square multimedia?
Mistake 5: Sharing only our own content
Curated content helped grow our Facebookfan base
We used to shy away from curated content because we thought it wouldn’t contribute to our bottom-line: traffic, signups, and revenue. It even felt counter-intuitive. Do we really want to send traffic to someone else’s website than our own?
Then, we realized that might have been a short-sighted thinking. While we were marketing to our fans, we weren’t growing our fan base much. So we were marketing to mostly the same people who could potentially be annoyed by too much Buffer content.
When we experimented with posting also content from other sources such as TechCrunch and Wired, our Page’s reach, engagement, and fans grew significantly. Five out of our recent top 10 Facebook posts are curated from others. In total, they reached over 1.7 million people, most of whom are (or were) not our Facebook Page fans. (For context, we have about 93,000 Facebook Page fans.)
Five out of our recent top 10 Facebook posts are curated from others. In total, they reached over 1.7 million people, most of whom are (or were) not our Facebook Page fans. (For context, we have about 93,000 Facebook Page fans.)
Posting quality content from others increased our brand awareness and following on Facebook. These pieces of content reached people who may not have heard of Buffer before and converted some of them into our Facebook Page fans. Now, we can share Buffer content to a bigger engaged audience.
To quickly find great relevant content on Facebook, use the Pages to Watch feature in your Facebook Page Insights. Here’s a quick video on how it works:
Mistake 6: Not curating user-generated content (UGC)
UGC grew our Instagram account by 500% within six months
We were trying many different strategies with our Instagram account when we first started it in 2013. We posted photos of our retreats and our meetups, took turns to share about our daily lives, and promoted our weekly Twitter chat, #bufferchat.
It was fun trying all those Instagram strategies, but few people were interested in the content we posted. Our Instagram account wasn’t growing much, and there were few interactions on our posts. Then, we found a strategy that grew our Instagram following by about 500 percent (4,250 to 21,000 and counting) within six months.
The strategy? Curating user-generated content.
By curating photos that our target audience is interested in (and posting a few Buffer news), we have been able to grow a large engaged following on Instagram-with whom we share social media and marketing tips through Instagram Stories and live videos.
This is the technique we use to quickly find and share UGC on our Instagram profile:
Mistake 7: Not uploading videos onto social media platforms
Native videos are shared five times more than YouTube videos on social
Quintly analyzed over six million Facebook posts and found that videos uploaded onto Facebook receive more engagement and shares than YouTube videos on Facebook.
The interaction rate for Facebook native videos were on average 109.67% higher than for YouTube videos.
Facebook native videos had on average a 477.76% higher share rate compared to Youtube videos.
But just a year ago, we were still sharing YouTube links to our videos rather than uploading our videos onto the social media platforms (even when we could upload videos onto Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, and LinkedIn through Buffer <img src="http://s.w.org/images/core/emoji/2.3/72×72/1f648.png" alt="