Bad advice is everywhere. From the shoes you wear to the food you eat to the way you style your kid’s hair, it doesn’t take much to get people started on the bad advice train.

There’s a fair amount of bad social media advice out there, too. If you’re not careful, it’s easy to get mixed up with it and actually start following some of what you hear! Whether the advice is ill-intended or just a regurgitation of myths and misunderstandings, it’s time to get to the bottom of it and separate the good from the bad – the yin from the yang.

In this post, we will discuss some of the worst advice that we’ve heard about social media and why it just doesn’t make sense – for anyone. Hopefully you will learn a few things and be more confident about what can work for you going forward.

Bad Advice #1: Streamline your social media efforts by automating all of your updates.

We can understand why people would think this way. Streamlining tasks is important when running a business, and marketing automation is becoming a popular way to be more efficient. However, there is a difference between being efficient and automating all of your interactions on social media.

If you post the same message across all of your channels, you’re going to sound automated, and that’s not what social media is for. People turn to channels like Facebook and Twitter for real-time interaction. Be human. Be engaging. Be active. It might take more time, but it will be worth it.

Bad Advice #2: Establish an online presence by being on every channel.

Let’s get real people. There are hundreds of social media channels, so it’s impossible to be on all of them. What people mean to say is that you should be on the most popular channels. But which channels are these specifically? Exactly.

The key, here, is to be on the channels that make the most sense for your business. In other words, be on the channels where your audience is most likely to be. For many companies, that means Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. For others, it means Pinterest and Snapchat.

We recommend choosing 3-4 channels that your audience is most active on and sticking to them. Use these networks to develop relationships, but don’t think that you need to be everywhere. That’s a good way to exhaust all your resources without getting any return.

Bad Advice #3: Focus on a single channel to create better relationships.

This advice is the opposite of #2. Rather than trying to be everywhere, some advice tells businesses to pick one channel and stick to it. While small startups may begin with one channel, it’s not a wise idea to limit yourself. Over time, every company should expand into more social network territory.

The main benefit to choosing 3-4 channels is that you can reach more of your audience. Not everyone who buys your product is on Facebook, and not everyone who signs up for your service uses LinkedIn. Expand your outreach and cover several channels so that you stay in front of your audience.

Bad Advice #4: The best way to deal with negativity is to ignore it. Or delete it.

There is a lot of poor advice online about how to handle negativity on social media. It can be a sticky issue, but we’ve sorted through the most common issues and how to correctly deal with them.

  • Don’t ignore negative comments. Your audience will think that you don’t care about their issues, and this is not the impression you want to give off. Negative comments should be addressed.

  • Choose the right battles. Not all battles are worth fighting. You are going to deal with trolls at times that are just looking to ruffle your feathers. Address the issues that are genuine and affect your bottom line.

  • Don’t delete negative comments. What’s worse than ignoring them? Deleting them! Not only will your problems not disappear, but also you’re going to have angry people coming back at you. People know when their posts are deleted, and they won’t hesitate to let others know.

  • Disable commenting for less headache. The easy fix may seem to be disabling comments altogether, but then again, what is social media for? If you make people mad, they will just share their opinion on their own profiles or in their blogs anyway. Plus, not allowing comments makes it look like you don’t want people engaging with you.

Bad Advice #5: Social media can replace email marketing.

If you think that social media will replace your email marketing strategy, you’re sorely mistaken. Email marketing is an excellent channel for nurturing your leads through the funnel. It’s also a great channel for communication with your audience, such as by keeping them updated on the latest company news or trending products.

For the best results, you should be using social media and email marketing in tandem. One should not replace the other, or even lead you to use one less. Social media has its purpose (creating relationships) and so does email marketing (nurturing relationships). By recognizing this and allowing them to build off each other, you will be able to make the most of each platform.

Where Should You Be Getting Your Advice From?

With so much bad advice out there, where should you be getting pointers from? We can’t stress enough to know your sources. There are plenty of great blogs out there that contain informative and on-target advice, just make sure you know where the content is coming from.

Most blog posts document who the author is and their background. You’ll find that many people who pen articles on social media are CEOs and Presidents of marketing agencies, and they probably have some good feedback and insight.

We highly recommend HubSpot as well as sites like Social Media Today, Social Examiner or Search Engine Land. Of course, we also recommend our own articles and blogs, as they are fact-checked and written in-house by our team. And, if we catch wind of poor advice, we’ll be the first to let you know!