Are your social media mar­ket­ing (SMM) efforts pay­ing off, or miss­ing the mark? If your met­rics are paint­ing a pic­ture of the for­mer, you might be mak­ing a few of these com­mon mis­takes. Read on for some things to avoid, and some things to try—plus a few cau­tion­ary tips.

1.Going in without a strategy

An SMM plan is much more than just “Post three tweets a day, five days a week”—a good plan sets clear goals, match­es plans to those goals, then assigns met­rics by which you’ll mea­sure your suc­cess.

Social media can be a waste of time and bud­get with­out a focused effort. Choose your plat­forms wise­ly, lever­age inte­gra­tions to help you cor­ral data and met­rics from each, engage a pro to keep your mes­sag­ing on brand, and post with con­sis­ten­cy and pur­pose.

2. Neglecting comments, questions, or posts from fans—especially negative ones

Some­times, you don’t have to do any­thing wrong for a social cam­paign to tank—in fact some­times, it’s what you don’t do. Peo­ple use social media plat­forms to con­nect and con­verse. Use your brand’s pro­files as a bullhorn—only talk­ing about your­self, and nev­er acknowl­edg­ing interactions—and engage­ment will drop off. That lack of engage­ment can have far-reach­ing effects (i.e. your con­tent won’t be seen) thanks to algo­rithms designed to show posts from accounts users inter­act with most.

3. Being too sporadic about when and where you post

We hear you when you say that you’re not going to post just for the sake of posting—and that’s spot on, con­sid­er­ing users have the abil­i­ty to block a brand that only posts time­line-crowd­ing fluff. There’s val­ue in wait­ing to post until you have some­thing rel­e­vant to say, but try and spread across a few posts for more mileage, or cre­ate an edi­to­r­i­al cal­en­dar that gives you top­ics to talk about on a more con­sis­tent basis. Oth­er­wise, a lack of reg­u­lar engage­ment may cause your con­tent to be hid­den thanks to algo­rithms.

4. Being too regular about when and where you post

There’s a flip­side to the above. It’s pos­si­ble to lever­age automa­tion too much, mak­ing your sched­uled posts feel pre­dictable and robot­ic. Be sure your SMM bud­get includes room to spend time on each plat­form dai­ly, spend time inter­act­ing, share oth­ers’ con­tent, and use rel­e­vant cur­rent events to your advan­tage.

5. Posting in any voice or tone, to an unspecified audience

Know who you’re talk­ing to and you’ll be bet­ter able to craft a tone for how you talk to them. Social media is all about connecting—be sure your brand has a clear­ly defined per­son­al­i­ty that comes across con­sis­tent­ly. And avoid being too salesy in what you post—it can come across as inau­then­tic and be a real turn-off for fol­low­ers.

Tip: Your voice isn’t just lim­it­ed to the copy of your posts—it can include the “fla­vor” of pho­tos and videos you post, too.

6. Posting without proofreading

Some SMM foibles are worse than oth­ers. You don’t have to go full-on foot-in-mouth to make the wrong impres­sion; some­times, even a sim­ple typo can require some dam­age con­trol. Proof­read, con­sid­er sen­si­tive con­tent from every angle, and when nec­es­sary, run cer­tain posts by a legal con­sul­tant.

7. Only measuring success from vanity metrics

This mis­lead­ing tac­tic might cause you to keep using inef­fec­tive tac­tics of fail to piv­ot your strat­e­gy because van­i­ty met­rics don’t mat­ter, even though they might paint a rosy pic­ture. Know what you’re mea­sur­ing and how it’s con­tribut­ing to your bot­tom line.

8. Not integrating your social media marketing with other marketing efforts

Have a blog, reg­u­lar pro­mo­tions, affil­i­ate mar­ket­ing, or land­ing pages used to dri­ve sales, con­ver­sions, and traf­fic to your site? Cross-pol­li­nate con­tent and mar­ry those efforts up with what you’re doing on social. But be sure to tai­lor the mes­sages and intent with each plat­form, or it might end up feel­ing forced or out of place.

9. Posting uniformly across all platforms—or, putting the wrong objectives toward the wrong platforms

This speaks to the above, and to automa­tion. You might not use the same voice, hash­tags, or even the same con­tent on Twit­ter that you would on Face­book. Inte­gra­tions that make it easy to share con­tent across all plat­forms are tempt­ing, just make sure your posts don’t end up look­ing lazy or out of place.

For exam­ple, try not to use a pro­gram that auto­mat­i­cal­ly tweets your Face­book posts, or shares a link to an Insta­gram pho­to instead of the pho­to itself. Instead, take an extra sec­ond to post or upload pho­tos native­ly to Twit­ter.

10. Not investing in paid social media promotion

It’s an unfor­tu­nate real­i­ty, but it’s hard to get your con­tent seen on social as a brand­ed page. When you’re work­ing up a bud­get for your SMM, be sure to leave room for paid pro­mo­tion so your more impor­tant con­tent is get­ting bet­ter engage­ment when you need it to.

When it comes to spend­ing mon­ey on SMM, how­ev­er, don’t be tempt­ed buy fol­low­ers or pay bots to engage with your con­tent. If you’re authen­tic and put in the work, engage­ment and audi­ence will fol­low!

Social media mar­ket­ing can be incred­i­bly valu­able to brands, let­ting you per­son­al­ly con­nect with cus­tomers where they spend a major­i­ty of their time online. Stay the course with a good strat­e­gy and the above tips, and you’ll be on the right track to seri­ous SMM ROI.