By @TheMarkDalton.

This will be my last blog post of 2015 as the holiday season starts to kick into full swing. Usually I work pretty much right through the holidays and take only Christmas Day off. We say that people should put endless hours and hours into what they are doing in order to try and make it a strong success story and that is true, but family is important too and I plan on spending an extended Christmas break enjoying this festive season in 2015 before jumping back into the hard work in January.

Usually I like to look back on the social media highs and lows of the year at this point and talk about what was a success and what was a failure. What was cringeworthy and what captivated the world, but everyone is doing that now so this year I thought we should do something a little different.

Heading into the new year is a chance for businesses to evaluate how they have done and refine or come up with new plans for the upcoming year. Here are five things that your company should STOP doing on social media in 2016.

1)Auto-Posting from Facebook to Twitter

This is still more common that people realise and not only is it down right lazy, it looks sloppy. Nobody should be auto-posting from Facebook to Twitter and with tools such as Buffer, HootSuite and Sprout Social which allow easy sharing over multiple social media channels this should no longer be happening.

It is far from an idea experience for the average follower, if I am following you on Twitter then I don’t want to see the exact same content appearing at the exact same time on your Facebook page (the only exception to this rule is content publishers). What is the point in following both accounts if you are going to do that?

More importantly, different platforms have different formats when it comes to posting. Facebook posts that are auto-shared to Twitter are often cut off and missing images which in turn presents and unprofessional appearance to followers and stinks of laziness. Make sure that you are optimising the appearance of posts for each social media platform you are on.

2)Stop sending auto DM’s when people follow you

There is no secret about how myself and the entire Irish Tech News team feel about auto DM’s when we follow you on Twitter. We have spoken about it several times in the past, basically I see your Twitter profile, have a look at the bio and some tweets and then I decide “yeah this seems like a cool interesting account, I’m going to follow this person” and then you send me something that looks like this.

Why? Why do this to yourself and to me? After deciding that I like your tweets and following you to know more about what you are doing you then hit me with your crap. Auto DM’s are the exact same as junk mail in the front door of your home, serves no purpose and goes straight in the bin.

I have a simple process for dealing with stuff like this, the second I see an auto DM arrive (and you can spot them a mile away no matter how original you think your one is) I head straight to the profile, hit the unfollow button, back to messages and then delete the automated junk I have just been sent.

Worryingly a recent trend which I am hoping does not take off seems to be jumping into DM’s and asking me to read your blog or like your Facebook page. Even more odd is I have got this off one or two people recently who have just started their own blogs and who I would have had respect for on Twitter.

I won’t mention names but a Twitter group message from someone who claims to be a “#DigitalMedia #SocialMedia content strategist” yet sends me a group message asking me to ‘like their Facebook page’ in a group message with people who I don’t know who the hell they are, makes me chuckle before frowning and then lumping that individual into the same category as the auto DM users and as a result gets the same unfollow treatment and loss of any respect I once had for them. Even more mind boggling was that the Facebook page had zero value at all, there was nothing really there.

As you may be able to tell I don’t take many prisoners on social media but if you are wondering why I followed you and then unfollowed really fast then this is more than likely the reason right here.

3)#Abusing #Hashtags

#Please #Stop #Abusing #Hashtags.

Hashtags are a great way to reach new fans and users, join conversations, create themes for campaigns or movements and more. However using too many hashtags makes you look like a really spammy account, it makes you look messy and it is far from appealing.

Again, there is an exception to the rule which this time turns out to be Instagram. Instagram seems to work best with as many relevant hashtags as you can think of. You get more views and likes by using more hashtags on Instagram so feel free to go wild on there.

However, other platforms is a no-no. In fact, Facebook and Pinterest have now started dinging users for using too many hashtags and then offer some “friendly advice” about how you should use hashtags the best. Studies have shown that the ideal number of hashtags is two. Using more decreases the chances of someone looking at your content.

Facebook and Twitter also automatically pull in posts mentioning things you are searching for even if they don’t have a hashtag. So think of the hashtag as simply a clickable link for that particular term which takes you to search results. There is no need to use more than two on Facebook or Twitter.

4)Becoming a part of “team follow back”

“I follow back.”

I hate seeing this on Twitter and even worse I hate seeing people or brands asking for users to follow them. If you are putting out good content then people will want to follow you, simple as that.

If you follow me and you expect me to ‘return the favour’ and follow you back to make up the numbers, well you can forget it. You may as well unfollow me now. I only follow accounts that I have an interest in and that I want to see more from and I go through them around twice a year to clean up the list of people who I have followed and to ditch the accounts that I thought were good at the time and turned out to be spam.

Sure we would like to have more followers because we want to be blabbering to the largest audience possible. Put out good content and the numbers will do their own work and grow on the back of what you are putting out there. Please, don’t be part of “team follow back.”

5)Stop posting just to post and assuming social media is a free marketing ride

Ditch the mindset of “its Monday at 10am so I need to post something to Twitter” and instead use social media to engage and interact. Social media is not “free advertising” or “free marketing.” Sure the opportunity for marketing and advertising is there but only if you go about it the right way.

You need to interact, engage and communicate with others. That is what social media is, tools for humans to communicate with however somewhere along the line brands got confused and now seem to think they are free marketing tools. It is the holiday season so no doubt you may be off to a party at some stage. Imagine if you only talk about you, people will leave the conversation pretty fast. Now think about having that conversation where you ask people about themselves and you provide value to the conversation.

These are the concepts that brands needs to apply to their 2016 social media strategy. Be proactive, comment, reply and engage with followers and not only will your follower numbers grow but your business will grow with it.


So like I said at the start this is my last blog post for 2015, here are five things for you to consider in terms of social media strategy as we head into 2016. Of course I am still going to be very active on social media and email all through the holidays should you wish to reach out. I hope you all have a Happy Christmas and I will see you all back in the New Year.

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