SEVEN Things You Should Never Do on Social Media

Social media has basically become a necessity in pretty much everyone’s lives. You open a social media app when you wake up, before you go to sleep, in the middle of the night, at work, literally everywhere! You just sit at your desk or in your room aimlessly scrolling through posts, then closing the app just to open it back up and scroll through the same posts you just saw. Yeah, me too. 


Eventually, something interesting catches your eye as you are scrolling through, but it just so happens to be something that rubs you the wrong way. It is something that makes you angry and left feeling confused. Yup, it is something controversial that someone or some brand has posted. 


 People make mistakes, I mean we’re all human right? No matter if your brand is a big corporation or a small local shop, if you make a mistake, people will remember. It's like those embarrassing photos people post of you when you're not looking. Although you may forget about it after some time, there is always someone who remembers that photo. There are countless things you should never do on social media. Being racist, being sexist, even some political views can cause a stir among the social media universe. Let’s take a look at seven things you should never do or post on social media.


1.     Make Insensitive Posts or Comments about a Particular Group



This one sounds like a no brainer, but some major brands have made the mistake of posting something that came off as racist or insensitive. Take Dove for example. Dove is a cosmetics company known for providing various beauty and hygiene products. Dove released an ad with the goal of promoting women’s empowerment and focusing more on realistic beauty standards. Unfortunately, their ad failed to get people to see that. 


This ad shows an African American woman transforming into a Caucasian woman after using Dove body wash. People did not take too kindly to this ad. After receiving a ton of backlash and angry messages from customers, Dove took down the ad from Facebook and released the following statement: 


“As we’ve seen with all the other ads, the apology doesn’t do much, but the ad does teach us to always review your content through a critical lens. Make sure that it doesn’t offend or in this case, totally go against what your brand represents.”


These types of ads on social media can come off as extremely insensitive and degrading towards another race. You will quickly lose customers by doing this so be sure to review all ads or posts before posting them to ensure that everyone feels included instead of excluded.


2.     Engage with haters

Every brand has their handful of haters. People who do not like them for most of the time no reason or because they have had a bad experience with the brand. According to Inc. com, a Scottsdale, Arizona based company called Amy’s Baking company appeared on the popular cooking tv show Kitchen Nightmares. They apparently had a disagreement with the star of the show, celebrity cook Gordon Ramsay, because of him being difficult to work with. Fans discovered this episode and started lashing out at the couple who bashed Ramsay. The couple lashed out right back. They started arguing back and forth with people on social media and replying to the nasty comments and being just as nasty if not nastier. 


Remember that you are not always going to get along with everyone and everyone will not like what you are doing or how you do things. Try to stay calm and do not give in to the negativity because it makes you look just as bad as the people originally commenting. Always strive to have a good social media presence. You might be tempted to post something in defense of someone talking bad about your brand, but don't cave in. Stay professional both in real life and online.


3.     Be unprofessional


You might be asking, aren’t all business supposed to be professional on social media? I mean they are a business after all and should be taken seriously. Well, some companies have a problem with being too casual and not being professional enough. 


Social media is meant to be fun and interactive. You should be responding and posting what pertains best to your target audience while staying professional. Posting something about what you ate this morning for breakfast probably would not be the most relatable content to post to your followers, unless your business is a restaurant of course and it came from your business; otherwise it would just be silly to post. 


Taco Bell once had to remind someone that they do not tolerate crude comments as someone made an offensive remark once and took it way too far. Have fun but also maintain a professional relationship.


4.     Leave comments unanswered


You want people to comment on the things you post. This means they are interested and engaged in what you are posting enough to comment on it. I know for one I do not comment that much on posts from businesses simply because I have no opinion about it enough to want to post a comment. 


You should strive to post relatable content that customers are going to want to engage with, but make sure to keep up with those comments. Nothing angers customers more than when their questions are not answered. You have those lovely people who just live to post nasty comments for no good reason. Although those may not be our ideal customers, they are still a customer. Be sure to respond in a timely manner and be professional. Try to resolve whatever issue they are having and keep them a happy camper. 


5.     Bad Timing when scheduling posts

I am sure by now you are used to using a social media management tool like Sprout Social or Hootsuite to help with your scheduling needs. It just makes scheduling less of a hassle and much easier to manage. Using one of these tools helps you schedule posts to go out for weeks are even months in advance. Think about if there was a crisis though. If something super tragic happened that shook the whole world.

Learn more about what is social media management and why you need a social media management company. gave a great example of this by stating if you had a footwear company and wrote about the greatest Boston Marathon of all time. You wrote the article and went ahead and scheduled the post for the future, then something terrible happens. There is an attack during the Marathon. The article you wrote would come off as insensitive as people will see it as you are trying to make a profit off of a tragic incident. 


Be sure to always watch the news and keep up with what is currently happening in the world to avoid making this mistake and posting at an inappropriate time. 


6.     Post without using photos and videos


What is a post with no pictures? I mean no one wants to look at a Facebook or Instagram post with no form of visuals. Visual pieces are 60,000 times faster for us humans to process than text is. Plus, pictures and videos are easier to share with others. High quality visuals also increase the amount of likes you get on your post. 

Learn more about how to organically grow your social media!


7.     Wrongly use Hashtags


Hashtags have become a vital part of an Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook post. Some say they can’t post new content without using hashtags and they can actually give your content a pretty good boost.

When brands use hashtags on Twitter, their engagement increases by 50%. Using hashtags is a great way to expand your reach and gain new followers and customers. Hashtags also play an important role on Pinterest and Google+. 


Hashtags are fun to use and all but be sure not to overdo it. Having too many hashtags can make your post look cluttered and disorganized. Use only the hashtags that are relevant to your post and make sure that your followers can actually read and understand the hashtags. 


Examples of Social Media Fails

Now that we have went over some of the main things you never want to do on social media, let’s look at some more examples of some social media fails and companies who clearly didn’t read this article. 


Snapchat’s Would You Rather Quiz


Back in March 2018, Snapchat posted a Would You Rather quiz asking users to choose between ‘punching Chris Brown’ or ‘slapping Rihanna’. Of course, this caused some major controversy considering the assault case between Chris Brown and Rihanna back in 2009. Rihanna was not happy with the presentation of this quiz and posted on her Instagram story a lengthy post putting Snapchat to shame for even posting it. Snapchat soon enough took down the ad off of its platform and apologized publicly, but that didn’t not stop thousands of former users already deleting the app in protest of the crass game.  


YouTube’s Flag Mishap

YouTube posted a tweet quoting “It’s almost #4thofJuly2018! Who are your favorite American YouTube creators?” They failed to use the American flag emoji and instead used the Liberian flag in the tweet. Followers quickly pointed out the flaw in YouTube’s tweet and many corrected them by tweeting the actual American flag emoji. Emoji’s a definitely a fun add-on to any post, but just be sure to double check you are using the rights ones. 

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Cinnabon and Star Wars 


The infamous Star Wars actress Carrie Fisher passed away back in December 2016. This news broke the hearts of millions including family members, Hollywood personnel and major Star Wars fans. Popular cinnamon roll bakery Cinnabon posted a picture of Fishers most popular role as Princess Leia in the Star Wars Franchise with a Cinnabon as one of her noteworthy space buns hairstyle with the caption “RIP Carrie Fisher, you’ll always have the best buns in the galaxy.” Sounds a little weird doesn’t it. Yeah, we thought so too. 


Fans were not too happy about this tweet because it seemed like Cinnabon was making a mockery of Fishers death by promoting their Cinnabon’s. Adding to the fact that Fisher hated that hair style which haunted her to most of her adult life. 


Yanny vs Laurel

Let’s go back to the spring of 2018 when a viral recording took the internet by storm. This recording was posted by a social media influencer and asked people if they heard the word ‘Yanny’ or ‘Laurel’. The United States Air Force posted an insensitive tweet about the Yanny vs Laurel situation highlighting the drone attacks and bombing victims by saying that victims would much rather hear Yanny or Laurel than a A10 drone. 


To no surprise, this tweet stirred up quite a bit of controversy that lead to the U.S. Air Force deleting the tweet and apologizing, but people will still remember the questionable tweet because once it’s out there, it’s out there forever. 


Key Takeaways

Social media is so powerful for both the good and the bad. Utilize social media in a positive way and try to avoid posting hateful and insensitive posts that will more than likely upset a handful of your customers. 


Have a social media policy that clearly outlines what you as the brand expect out of your employees who run your social media accounts along with all other business accounts. You don’t want to be the next brand in the news getting bashed over something that seemed harmless but turned out to be a complete disaster.

Click the highlighted link to learn more on why your company should have a social media policy.

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Kierra Amerson

Social Media Intern

Caffeine Marketing