7 Obsolete Social Media Tactics You’re Wasting Your Time On

social media tactics

You already know social media marketing is a channel that can drive traffic and sales, but the question is: are you actually seeing an increase in traffic or sales?

Chances are you are not. Why? Because you are using obsolete tactics that aren’t effective anymore.

If you want to change that, just avoid these 7 strategies:

Obsolete tactic #1: Posting whenever you’re free

Posting daily or whenever you have time isn’t ideal. Why? Because your followers may not be online when you are posting.

That means no one is going to see the content you are promoting.

Simply Measured has some free tools that show you when you should be posting. It will analyze your user base and tell you the days and times the most optimal for engagement.

Here is an example report for Instagram:

instagram stats

Once you figure out the ideal days and times you should be posting, sign up for Buffer (free), and start scheduling your posts.

Facebook posts are the exception. If you schedule them, you’ll see your share and like counts drop. Instead, you’ll have to post on your Facebook profile yourself and schedule posts through Fan page by clicking the clock icon.

facebook scheduler

Obsolete tactic #2: Selling directly to your audience

Once you have a big following, you’ll want to start convincing them to buy whatever you are selling. But just posting a link, telling your followers to buy your book, product, or service, won’t do much for you.

The only time I’ve seen it work is when a sale or a discount is offered, which isn’t an ideal scenario.

What you need to do is drive your social media fans through a funnel. First, collect their emails, and then offer your products or services through email.

A good example of this is Josh Flagg. He started driving people to a blog, where he collected emails. Within a few months, he collected just over 2,000 emails.

He then launched a webinar course for $499 dollars, and within 24 hours, he made $12,974 in sales. When he promoted his webinar product directly to the group, he didn’t even generate $1,000 in revenue.

The reason this works is because you are getting your fans to make micro commitments. Eventually, when you ask them to make a purchase, they are more likely to say yes.

Obsolete tactic #3: Trying to game your follower count

I’m continually seeing people follow thousands of users in order to build up their accounts on sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Some people even go as far as buying thousands of fans. The big numbers may make you look cool, but they will eventually hurt you.

Why? These social sites are getting smart at analyzing how many of your followers are actually engaging. And if the ratio is poor, your content won’t spread much, which will cause you to get less traffic compared to having a smaller fan base that actually engages.

So, instead of trying to game the system, start looking at your competitors. See what types of content they are posting that causes engagement. Test posting similar types of posts. And avoid posting content that doesn’t get likes, comments, or shares.

Obsolete tactic #4: Sharing without optimizing

Sharing content from your site isn’t as simple as copying and pasting your URL on a social site. If your website code isn’t optimized for social media, you’ll notice that when you share your content on these sites, no images appear:

no graph

When you optimize your code, social sharing will look more like this:


So, how do you ensure your site is optimized? You add social media meta tags to your content.

The difference is huge. When I implemented this on Quick Sprout, my Facebook traffic went up by 174%.

Obsolete tactic #5: Being self-promotional

I started participating on social sites because I wanted to grow my brand, traffic, and sales. I didn’t really care about anything else, and people saw it.

People started to unfriend and unfollow me, and I wasn’t getting any social traffic. But once I started sharing other people’s content, answering questions, and just helping people out, I quickly noticed that I started to build a loyal following.

The loyal following eventually converted into traffic and sales once I started to build a funnel similar to Josh Flagg’s. But when I was just being self-promotional, I didn’t generate one sale.

Make sure you help people out, answer their questions, and share content from others within your industry. You don’t have to promote competitors, but you should be promoting news and content sites.

Obsolete tactic #6: Linking directly to someone’s site

When you share someone else’s link, you are driving traffic to their site and generating no traffic in return. That kind of blows.

What if I told you that every time you promote someone else’s site, you can actually drive more traffic back to your site?

There is a cool social tool called Sniply, which puts a promotional box on any site you share.


When you drive traffic to others, there is a chance that some of those visitors will come back to your site.

Obsolete tactic #7: Adding one too many social sharing buttons to your site

If you want people to share articles on your site, what do you do? Add social sharing buttons to your site, right?

But did you know adding one too many social buttons to your site can hurt your traffic? I tested placing 3, 4, and 5 different social media options on Quick Sprout. When I reduced the button count from 5 to 3, I was able to increase my click-through rate by 11%.

So, instead of treating your site like Nascar and promoting every social site out there, focus on just 3. Pick the sites that resonate most with your readers. Chances are it is going to be Facebook, Twitter, and one other social site.

And if you are wondering what kind of social buttons you should be using, try the plugin Flare. It’s flexible, it looks pretty, and it’s free.


What worked a few years ago in the social media space doesn’t work anymore. You need to adapt your approach and avoid the obsolete tactics everyone else is leveraging.

By staying up-to-date on social media algorithms and trends, you’ll be able to maximize your social traffic and sales.

What other obsolete social tactics should people be avoiding? 

P.S. If you want to grow your social media traffic click here.


  1. Hi Neil, Your points about Optimizing the posts for social sharing and scheduling the posts on Facebook (based on the most effective timings) are really important and every small to large brand with social presence needs to follow these simple but very effective tips for social media success.

    I thing that I want to point out is the abundance of Fiverr gigs about social media that promise X number of fans or Y number of followers – this only proves that there is still a demand for these kind of “desire for more fake numbers” and the sooner people realise, the better!


    • Debjit,
      You bring up a great point. Fiverr type sites have made it easier for people to fluff up their follower counts. However, it is often transparent when someone has done so. Their favorites/RTs and overall engagement numbers will show you that the followers are not real.

      If you want to really grow and provide value to a real community you have to do all the heavy legwork.

      • Dear Neil,

        It’s apsolute a great post as always, of optimizing the post, and think about the post tactics before posting, most bloggers generally don’t care about it!

        But, this week i was expecting something really new from me which disppointed me little bit. I was expecting something new like post on ‘referral marketing’.
        By the way its okay!

        Altamash Sid
        (personal branding advisor)

  2. Great article Neil! You’re hitting the nail on the head with this one.

    I often see people constantly posting on Twitter, Facebook and Google+ and after some time I have to unfollow or unlike them because of their spammy behavior.

    Buffer is great, Tweetdeck is also great. I haven’t had a lot of experience with HootSuite, but I hear it’s good as well.

    Micro-commitments are inherenlty the “yeses” that you get in the sales process. Psychologinallcy, someone who has said yes to you 3-4 times will likely say a yes the next time as well. By not selling outright at the beginning, you are also developing familiarity – which improves liking.

    Finally, in today’s over shared social media, micro-content needs to be optimized or you are gonna get lost in the heaps of ignored or considered spammy messages.

    Thanks for the sharing and keep it up!

    • Karan, great points. I like how you articulated and outlined all of your points.
      It’s all about engaging with real followers and learning how to soft sell. People want to believe and know they are talking to a person, as opposed to a brand.

      All of the scheduling applications that you mentioned really help in regards to providing useful insights and data.

      It sounds like you are on the right track. Let me know if you have any other useful information.

  3. Nino Natividad :

    Another great article, Neil.I never realize some of these strategies are obsolete until this post!

    Reducing my social share buttons increased my CTR by about 10%.

    • Nino, glad you liked the article. That is an interesting stat you provided. It’s possibly because you narrowed the buttons down the essential core.

  4. Yet another awesome article bro. Got to know about sniply and the advantage of reducing social buttons 🙂 Im using wordpress jetpack sharing buttons and any comments on that ?

    • Digbijay, in my limited exposure to Jetpack I have heard great things. They really simplify the process and allow you to reach out to a large audience. At the end of the day you just have to focus on your calls to action and simplicity.

  5. formo référencement :

    Totally true ! i actually was one of “buying likes” guy for my women dresses store just to look like having a fan base in front of my costumers. But actually there is a HUGE difference between having real fans, and having thousands of FAKE fans. Once you will reach 300 to 400 fans you will start to see some conversions and purchases coming from social media (specially facebook)

    • Formo, thanks for sharing your experience. There a ton of those types of scams out there. It’s really transparent to a savvy marketing or someone who spends a lot of time on social.

      The real fun is when you create content and real people engage and interact with you. That’s where the best sales are made.

  6. A similar article you wrote on the 29th of september, 2014, Neil you are soooo creative, from what i can see once can write this topic in 200 ways, Nice job Sir,

    • Uzoma, thanks for the kind words of support. I also believe that one could write forever on this topic. It’s very relevant as everyone is on social media and everyone is selling something.

  7. Greg Strandberg :

    I would highly disagree with Sniply. Do you need another pop-up on your site?

    How about as a visitor?

    Real sites don’t need crutches like that – get rid of your pop-ups before they rid you of your audience.

    • Greg, interesting points. Do you have any additional data or personal experiences to back up the points. I ask because I am curious as to why you are opposed to pop-ups . Looking forward to your additional feedback.

  8. Diana Altobelli :

    With so many scheduling tools available posting when you are free should be productive. As far as follower count quality is better than quantity. Just like Google penalizing websites for poor content and spamming tactics goes for social media as well. I think it’s great that social networks are getting smarter by analyzing follower to following ratio.

    • Diana, they really are focusing on core metrics like follower/following ratio. Essentially these algorithms want to ensure that quality content gets pushed to the top of feeds. Twitter also has a new setup where suggestions are made on your feed based on your friends’ followers — actual tweet suggestions are made.

      It’s harder to game any system without quality content and real followers.

  9. More great advice, thanks! Absolutely agree with #3 – what’s the point of having thousand of followers if none of them ever read or engage with your posts, let alone have any need for your products or services?!

    Much better to concentrate on organically growing a social media following that have the potential to become customers (or great advocates for your business). After all, that’s surely why you’re investing time and effort in social media?

    • Hannah, glad you found it helpful. I particularly like your point about engagement. I personally would feel like my efforts were a waste if my followers were fluff and there was no engagement. The point of social media is to share thoughts, that hopefully spread. If your followers are fake then whats the point?

  10. Neil, thanks for the article. Good real-life advice!

    By the way, I’ve not heard of snip.ly before and it sounds really smart.
    I guess Bit.ly must catch it up soon 🙂

    As another example of tactics that does not work, I’d say pretending to know everything and pretending not to make mistakes.

    I think sharing mistakes and the learned lessons adds credibility.
    I think you are a good example of such working tactics.

    • Michael, chack out snip.ly and let me know what you think.

      As to your point about mistakes, you are spot on. No one wants to follow a “guru” who is a know-it-all. People want to hear about real life struggles and failure and ultimately overcoming obstacles. Social media is about shared experiences and learning from others.

      • Yeas, I’ve checked snip.ly before.
        The cheapest plan 5,000 conversions costs $85.
        It’s equal 1.7 cents per conversion (i.e. getting a visitor back yo tour site).

  11. I’ve build lovely groups on Facebook and Linkedin and drive traffic back to my own site, and list build from there. It works, yet all the so-called social media experts are always telling people to blast links and sell because when you have a “relationship” people will buy. Erm, no they don’t.
    Micro commitments are the future, gently nurturing people to take a step towards a goal rather than bludgeoning them into an action they don’t want.
    Let’s hope people read and take your advice, or better still they’ll read it and ignore it leaving more people for me to love and look after 😀

    • Sarah, I like how you articulated this point. It’s very true.

      People don’t want to buy based off fake relationships or gimmicks. People buy based on mutual respect and relationships. It’s all about creating a sense of community in the end.

      I like your point about micro-commitment because you have to earn trust before you sell the whole enchilada.

      I sure hope people follow my advice (and yours) .

  12. I find the biggest fault on social media account is being all me, me, me whether this is posts to blogs or trying to sell.

    Social media is about engagement. You followers want to see your personality and this is done through the varied nature of posts. Think about your audience and the sorts of things they like because it’s not all about you, you, you

    • Michael, great point!

      I think people get so caught up in themselves that they forget that social media is about community building. I like to treat social media like real life. If I was at a cocktail party I wouldn’t talk about myself non-stop. I would be sharing and asking questions and listening to others.

  13. Reginald Chan :

    Hey Neil,

    Thanks for sharing this. Something new is the buttons! I also thought about that but yet to get down to it.

    Yes, will do it right now!

    Thanks for the knock on the head man.


    • Reginald, glad I could help. Let me know if you need any help along the way. I think if you minimize the number of buttons you can really improve your conversion rate.

  14. Just shared this same post using sniply to see how it goes! the tool is easy to use

  15. I really like this, Neil!

    For one, marketers need to stop pretending that social media is the best place to drive sales.

    Second, sniply looks like a really neat tool and I want to give it a try. I haven’t been optimising my site when it comes to offsite clicks so this is something interesting.

    I’ll make sure to share this on Twitter and Facebook.


    • Jason, glad you found it helpful.

      To your first point: I agree, however, it is a good place to capture some low hanging fruit.

      To your second point: You should definitely check it out, it’s a valuable tool that saves a lot of time.

      Looking forward to hearing much more from you.

  16. Sniply looks useful and I see they have an API – I might have to integrate that with Womplify! A killer combo.. 😉

  17. Aha, Neil,

    That’s a great post. I also agree with all of your points. Mainly 1st and 3rd.

    I get more engagement when I share during night times on Friday and near to no engagement during week ends :p what about you?
    Looking forward to hear from your side.

    Thanks for sharing
    ~Nitin Singh

    • Nitin, I think your experience is pretty true across the board. There are definitely optimal times to post. The weekends are kind of odd. I have found that it is hit or miss for me. Sometimes on Saturday nights I’ll get a spike in traffic from Twitter. It really all just depends on what your content is.

  18. Sniply is great!

  19. Great article as usual Neil. I did have a question as to why you say that you shouldn’t be scheduling posts on Facebook. I’ve never seen a detrimental effect when I’ve done it on our accounts or for our clients. It seems to share as well as if we were doing it manually.

    I’m pretty curious about snip.ly. For those who are using it, do you have any statistics on how many people who click through your feed to a referrers site end up coming back to your site?

    • Mark great questions:

      As for Facebook I have found that posting manually actually helps boost your posts to the top of the feed. Facebook’s platform is based on ad revenue so they try to encourage personal posting rather than scheduled posting. If you manually post something there is little they can do do hinder your engagement. However, if you schedule the post they can disregard the significance of it.

      As for Snip.ly I currently do not have any data. Let me look into it.

  20. This site is amazing

  21. Sumon @AdvanceITBD :

    Hello Neil,

    Many thanks for the extra ordinary post about Social Media Marketing.
    I also agree that If I help people, Sharing post of others and Post by maintaining time after analyzing than My post engagement will be increase.
    Will follow all of your tactics ………..

    • Sumon, you have the right strategy then!

      It’s all about reciprocity when it comes to social media. Help others out and you’ll find that they will be more inclined to help and engage with you.

  22. Hi Neil
    We’re revamping the “Traffic Cafe” blog and deciding how many social buttons to include. It’s absolutely clear now thanks to your timely and insightful article. (We’ll use three.)
    Jonathan Gunson

  23. Elisabeth Kuhn :

    Thanks so much for sharing this info. Looks like I’m in need for a major overhaul. I’ll get the plugins as well as sniply and buffer, and will follow your tips carefully, for my own site and my clients’ sites too.

    Oh yes, and I’ll also reduce my social media buttons, too…

    • Elisabeth, awesome! Sounds like you’re on the right track. I definitely think Buffer and Snip.ly will help you out. Keep me posted on your progress.

  24. Hi Neil,

    Thank you for a very helpful article. I’ve only started with my on-line presence and your advice is invaluable. While I instinctively suspected that buying Twitter followers is just a bad idea, I went seriously over the top with my shareholic buttons – I’ve got ten! Looks like more than half will have to go… I think I will stick with FB and Twitter, having a dilemma whether to chose Pinterest or Google+, or perhaps keep them both? Thanks again for great food for thought.

    • Beata, sounds like a good idea to get rid of at least half of them.

      I would really go through and see which buttons have been performing best before making any big decisions. It’s important to keep in mind that just because a network is big doesn’t mean that people will automatically click or share via that network.

  25. “Facebook posts are the exception. If you schedule them, you’ll see your share and like counts drop. Instead, you’ll have to post on your Facebook profile yourself and schedule posts through Fan page by clicking the clock icon.”

    Could you elaborate a little more on this, Neil? Is there research that suggests using Buffer to schedule your Facebook posts decreases engagement?

    • Kevin, there isn’t specific research. I am just going off my personal experiences. I have found that posting manually allows me to stay atop the feed longer. Think about it; personal posts are deemed relevant by Facebook. They place an emphasis on personal posts and their own ads. If you incorporate widgets (schedulers) they have no incentive to help you out.

  26. Hi Neil sir,

    You just made a very details post here.your article topics always attract me..amazing work man.


    • Debarpan, glad I could help. As usual your commitment to comments is much appreciated. Looking forward to hearing more from you.

  27. Nice Article, I learn many things from this. I Post daily my blog article on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn but doesn’t get ant like, comment and share. May be I don’t know the time of posting or selection of right audience. I get ideas from this post.

    Thanks Neil For this.

    • Lissa, try out the tactics outlined in this post and I am sure you’ll see marked improvements across all categories. I look forward to hearing from you.

  28. Thanks for the great post, once again. I will try and use this techniques and see what happens. I was about to give up on social media, but will give it another chance.


    • Elena, never give up. Social media is full of low hanging fruit. You just need to put in the time and effort to increase engagement.

  29. great stuff neil, like this

  30. Nice Post Niel patel. I am regular follower of your blog. It really save our time for startups.

  31. Love this post Neil – especially the reminder to optimize images – it’s so easy for people to have images optimized for Facebook and Twitter or to use Twitter cards . I won’t share a post without there being a great image attached. And I totally agree on #1 (my engagement went up significantly when I started scheduling content from my own blog and others – and it freed me up to respond!)… there is nothing like chunking your time. #2 is absolutely important and again so many people miss the point. I do have a question about Sniply though. Initially I thought it a great idea, but I have heard rumblings from many people that it is the equivalent of squatting on someone’s content. I like to keep my sharing “pure” and I have opted not to use it but I do understand the attraction. However recently I clicked on a link for one of my own posts being shared by Sniply to see how it came up on mobile…and on a mobile I couldn’t actually scroll, click on my own post because the Sniply image had taken over…. I wonder if it is interfering with the experience of people wanting to read the actual post they clicked on. I will do more investigating as I have only checked out the one post, but I got so frustrated trying to see the post and read it, I shut it down! What are your thoughts on it, if it is interrupting the person’s ability to read the post they are wanting to read? From memory though it is different on desktop. I wonder whether people will start to take advantage of tools like Social Warfare’s Sniply blocker. I’m on the fence, just wondering if you have heard similar feedback :o)

    • Donna, I think having pure links and making things easier to digest is a great strategy. If you find any insights that would be helpful please feel free to share them!

  32. Terri @ Alexia's Books and Such... :

    Very helpful information Neil!

    I’ve started scheduling my Facebook posts on a consistent basis using the FB scheduler, but haven’t seen any improvement in my reach or visits yet. Guess I just need to be patient!

    I love the idea of Sniply, but curious if you use it? I signed up and have shared a few links, but have mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, I think it’s a great way to encourage traffic back to my site, but on the other hand I don’t want to be accused of stealing advertising space. Honestly, it made me a little uncomfortable so think I might hold off on using it until I gather more info.

    • Neil Patel :

      Terri, glad you found the post helpful.

      Just wait and you’ll see that driving traffic to your site requires quality content and patience.

      As for advertising, you should do what you are most comfortable with.

  33. Gabrielle Woudenberg :

    Thanks for sharing some great information Neil. I’m going to implement some of the “retain users” tips.

  34. I really love your article. Its really helpful to me. I have implemented some of them and found them working. Thanks 🙂

  35. Howdy! I could have sworn I’ve visited this web site before but after going through many of the articles I realized it’s new to me. Regardless, I’m definitely pleased I discovered it and I’ll be book-marking it and checking back frequently.! Thanks

  36. King Kevin Dorival :

    Great tips and I’m sure this will help tons of people out there in the social media world. When people share other relevant content it shows that you’re not selfish.

  37. Neil;
    This is one of the most informative posts of the past year. I’ve been researching the latest tools and this info is a good combo of explanation and reasoning. I’m still on the fence about Sniply – had the tab open for a few days but haven’t tried it out yet. Any additional thoughts since you originally a year ago? Thanks.

  38. Awesome post…I hope these are still valid even at the end of 2015. Nevertheless plan to implement reducing the social sharing button for sure. Thanks Neil

  39. Awesome post , a true eye opener … so informative …. Loved this post ! One should always optimise his site for social media , it may be the post title , or share buttons .

  40. Hii Neil patel I have job website give me Some Suggestion To me for Increasing Social traffic

  41. Well after Facebook’s Newsfeed algorithm change Facebook marketing is a big headache now.

  42. Wow , Amazing Giveaway . Thanks for giving us a great opportunity and also thanks for featuring my name in this list . Hope so i will win this giveaway

  43. We’re revamping the “Traffic Cafe” blog and deciding how many social buttons to include. It’s absolutely clear now thanks to your timely and insightful article. (We’ll use three.)
    Jonathan Gunson

  44. I found this post yesterday while I was looking for something on google. great article. Great tips. keep up the good work buddy

  45. @Neil Patel Thanks for writing a great article. keep write as such type of post.

  46. Amit Khatkar :

    Keep writing such great articles @Neil Patel.
    Your posts quality is really out of crowd.

  47. i use jetpack wordpress plugin to share my article on social media such as facebook, google+ and twitter. i only use this three sites

  48. Hi Neil, Good topic I have been wondering about that too. I made a bunch of social media sites but now what? How to actually use them as a marketing tool…no clue. On twitter what do you tweet…I made a new painting…who cares? Sometimes I re tweet stuff, I think I did one of yours that I liked…but who sees it? It seems to be a science in and of itself.

  49. Hi Neil,

    I was going through this article of yours, but then something clicked me #7. People want to share the article or website and make a huge reach out to their followers and expand their network. So why is just adding 3 social media sharing buttons helpful. I mean if something goes trending and we started generating traffic from that source then we need to extend it..or may be we can say for the article to be heard we need more social platforms. The more, the better!

    • More isn’t necessarily always better. In some cases less is more. In our case, our test was more effective by focusing on just 3, mostly Facebook and Twitter

  50. Dear Neil,

    This really great Article of Social Media Marketing. It will help me to start me Social Media Marketing in New Way.

    Thanks for your Nice guideline 🙂

  51. Dear Neil,

    Found your article very useful, i had always get confused while it comes to the social marketing. Because i hadn’t get good response in past.
    But now i will follow your guideline on social media market. As everyone knows their is huge potential available on social media, only need is of good tactics.

  52. Hello Neil,

    Can you share some tips to increase Facebook page reach of job niche site?? is frequent posting effects negatively on page reach??

    Waiting for your response.

    Thanks and regards
    Divakara Ganesh

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