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Social media is a tricky, complex form of communication--one that takes a lot more time and effort to be effective than people realize. Here are four ineffective tactics that companies should stop doing in order to increase their success online.

1. Being overly “salesy”
It’s called social media for a reason. Businesses should embrace platforms like Facebook and Twitter for what they are. In the long run, more people will trust a brand if they feel like they’re being talked to instead of talked at. This doesn't mean a business can’t sell its services or products, it just means it must be done in a conversational way that gives the audience a reason to stop and read what the company has to say. Content should be about 80% conversational and 20% promotional.

2. Posting the same exact post on all platforms
While it may be more convenient to write one post and then blast it out across all social media platforms, the message ends up falling into the black hole of endless tweets and posts that have no strategy behind them. Each platform has a different audience and messages should be geared toward them specifically. In addition, businesses should avoid sending the same message to multiple people on Twitter. It comes off as lazy and Twitter monitors duplicated posts as a way to check for spam.

3. Posting too much content at once
Businesses should schedule their tweets to spread out their messages and avoid posting 15 tweets in a row, or even worse, a bunch of Facebook posts all at the same time. When a business knows the content they want to send out ahead of time, resources like Hootsuite and TweetDeck allow for posts to be scheduled at the best times to reach their audience. It also helps small businesses who don’t have a dedicated social media manger to make sure they are staying up to date with social media even on days they might have less time to spend online.

4. Being Socially Removed
Again, this is social media—businesses should be engaged with their followers and monitoring the social atmosphere. The more a user interacts with followers, the more likely they are to leave comments or reply to posts. Ask questions, use call-to-action words and share thoughts on interesting posts made by others. Just like in communicating face-to-face, it’s important to avoid talking too much and not listening enough.

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