Even the biggest and most established companies can have social media “oops” moments. Many social media managers start campaigns and think they are a piece of cake, but mistakes are easy to make. Here are some the top 5 mistakes marketers make on social media platforms and how you can overcome them in your own business.

Talking too much (about yourself) – A friend who talks and doesn’t listen won’t keep friends for long, and the same applies to social media. Your feed should include a wide range of information as well as engagement with other people or other brands. For every link from your website or invite to your business sale, you should have at least four engagement messages, retweets or shares from other people. Social media needs to be consistent, too. Your feed should be a constant buzz of information. Talking to others will help you make connections and build relationships so that when you do post promotional messages, your followers and fans will listen.

 Being unprofessional – Conduct yourself on social media just like you’d conduct yourself in your brick-and-mortar store. Refrain from using foul language and be respectful of your messages. Stay away from controversial messages or statements and respond to negative messages quickly and kindly. Proofread before you send – spelling and grammar mistakes are magnified on social media and can reflect poorly on your business. Think of social media as an extension of your brand – if you wouldn’t say it in person, don’t say it on social media.

Auto Direct Messages – Recent studies have conclusively found that auto direct messages on Twitter are a terrible idea, leading to almost 245% increase in unfollows. Sending your new followers a direct message may seem like a friendly thing to do, but it annoys many Twitter users. Instead of DMing your followers, engage them by responding to their conversations, asking a question or retweeting something they have tweeted. This act acknowledges their follow and can be a great way to get more followers.

Not responding to customers/Not engaging – Social media done the correct way is much more than “set it and forget it”. Although there are many platforms to help you automate your social media process by scheduling tweets and monitoring more efficiently, there’s no substitute for real human interaction – after all, it is social media. Many businesses go into their social media marketing with no plan and with a vast underestimation of the resources they need to have a successful social media campaign. At a minimum, social media managers should be spending about a half hour to 45 minutes a day monitoring, engaging with and responding to their fans and followers. It’s especially important to acknowledge responses and answer questions as soon as you can.

Not having a plan – You wouldn’t start a business without goals and you wouldn’t start a traditional advertising campaign without a budget, so why would you start social media marketing without a plan? Develop general guidelines for your engagement and set quantifiable goals for your campaign before you even begin. Build your profiles with photos and a few status updates or messages to establish your voice before you start engaging your customers. Create a list of content from which you can draw inspiration, including news, events, blog posts, photos, industry news, tidbits, general updates and even some “fun” messages. A plan is especially important if you have a limited amount of time to spend on social media. Pre-planning your messages can help you meet your goals by giving you more time to focus on engagement.

About the author: John Stallworth has been working as a freelance writer for the tech industry for many years and has received many accolades. When he’s not writing about tech, he’s busy reviewing rental insurance for various outlets.

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