WARNING! This post contains high levels of snark and marketing snobbery. Read with caution
While some mistakes are harmless, others may cause your potential customers, audience members, donors, or partners to think you either a) don’t know what you’re doing or b) don’t care enough about your product, service, or mission to communicate about it effectively. Either way, it’s not a great look!
Below is a list of digital mistakes that are so common, so egregious, and yet so easy to fix that we’re baffled they continue to show up everywhere we look.
Are you guilty of one of these?
1. Including Links in Your Instagram Posts
Whether you use Instagram as a private individual or manage an account for your organization, you must have noticed by now that the platform does not support links in captions. So why do you keep adding links to your captions? And yes, we’re talking about bitly links, too. The majority of users are scrolling their feeds on smartphones, which means they can’t copy your in-caption link and paste it into a browser like Chrome or Safari. You’re essentially asking them to memorize the link and then type it into a separate app. Good luck with that.
Instead, use the favorite phrase of all Instagram influencers: “Link in bio.” Use a resource like Linktree or, better yet, link to a dedicated page on your website where your Instagram post resources live.
2. Using Hashtags in your Facebook posts
Like Vine, YikYak, and Periscope, hashtags on Facebook have gone the way of the dodo. There was a brief moment where they maybe-almost became a thing, but that moment has passed. It’s time to update your approach.
Drop the hashtags (but keep them on Instagram!); focus on writing short, sweet, un-hashtagged copy and developing compelling graphics.
Schedule those posts. And you’re done.
3. Putting a URL on Digital Graphics
Before digital advertising was crowned Queen, print media ruled the land and every marketer knew to include their company’s website in every poster, poster card, or newspaper ad they placed. While this practice still rings true for print, it makes absolutely no sense for digital; the ability to add clickable links is built into nearly every online platform. No one is going to open up a new browser window and manually type in your URL from memory. Posting a graphic on Facebook? Just add a link to the post copy. Designing a banner (or display) ad? Leave the URL off! Banner ads are clickable!
Also, please never, ever use a QR code on a digital graphic. Your audience is already reading your ad/post via a connected device and would literally have to use a second device to scan your QR.
4. Not Optimizing Your Website for Mobile
Mobile devices account for roughly half of all global web traffic. That means that potentially 50% (or even more) of your customers are trying to navigate your website on a smartphone. Plus, this number keeps growing. Mobile devices are particularly important for e-commerce, as customers report feeling less inclined to make purchases on websites that have a clunky mobile checkout interface. Is your website readable, responsive, and easy—not to mention rewarding—to explore on a small screen? A website that looks beautiful and clean on a desktop means nothing if 50% or more of your site visitors never actually see it and instead encounter the mangled confusion of the mobile view that you never bothered to fix. On mobile, it’s important to make navigation easy for fingers and small screens, reduce the unnecessary clutter and text, and provide a consistent user experience across every page of your site. Your conversions will thank you.