We’re always hearing about the things we should do, when it comes to social media, but could you be making some fundamental mistakes that are putting the ‘anti’ in front of ‘social’?

Believe it or not, there are plenty of mistakes made by social media users, big or small, every day. So what should you try and avoid the next time you’re thinking of your next big status?

1) Don’t be lazy and rely too much on scheduled tweets.

So many have fallen victim to this mistake.

Take Tesco’s Twitter fail during the horse-meat scandal last year. It sent out a pre-scheduled tweet, which read: “It’s sleepy time so we’re off to hit the hay. See you at 8am for more #TescoTweets.”

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Not exactly what people wanted to see while inspecting their freezers for horse bolognaise.

2) Don’t become that annoying salesperson you can’t get away from.

Whether you want donations, volunteers, new customers, or exposure, imagine your social media timelines as real-life conversations. No one wants to hang around with the people that just talk about themselves and ask for money all the time.

That feeling when a door-to-door salesman rings your doorbell, is even worse when they seem to have found themselves on your Twitter feed, and consequently inside your brain. What’s that button? Oh yes, unfollow.

3) Don’t forget to interact.

The networker with good conversation is much more likely to make new friends and contacts than the wallflower who doesn’t join in and makes no effort to appreciate other peoples’ thoughts and ideas. With social media, the more you put in, the more you get out.

Don’t believe me? Then you need to read the best Twitter conversation that ever was – courtesy of Tesco Mobile, Jaffa Cakes and Yorkshire Tea amongst others. Where a simple tweet from a customer turned into a party on Twitter, where we even found out if the Jaffa Cake was indeed a cake or a biscuit.

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That, my friends, is how you do social media.

4) Don’t underestimate it.

With a little time and effort, social media produces results. It may not be instantaneous, and it may not work every time, but it can be a sales tool, it can make you laugh, it can make you think, and it’s proven, many a time, that it can change the world too.

Take Stephen’s Story. For the last three years, teenager Stephen Sutton has been battling an incurable form of cancer and decided to spend his time raising money for a charity close to his heart. His honesty and positivity has raised over £3,000,000 for Teenage Cancer Trust and he’s even broken a world record, just through reaching out and telling his story on social media.

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Why would you not want to be a part of that?

5) Finally – don’t forget to have fun with it.

Social media is just another way of having a conversation, but perhaps with more people than you ever thought possible. So don’t be a bore.

Don’t be afraid to share things that will make your friends and followers smile.

We can promise you that cats have a brilliant response rate – as do inspirational stories, jokes and videos.

Just remember that your followers are human – and humans like to have fun.

Smiles are infectious, and so are shares and retweets too.

And that, ladies and gents, is your five social media don’ts.

Since we recorded this video and wrote this article, Stephen sadly passed away, leaving a huge legacy behind him. So we’d just like to take a moment to point you in the direction of the charity that he supported so much, Teenage Cancer Trust.

Reason Digital News