Social media can create a PR disaster or waste employee hours when it is not approached with care. Here are four terrible pieces of advice you do not want to follow:

“Social media does not provide ROI, it’s just about brand exposure”

There are hesitant business leaders and experts out there proclaiming social media as ineffective and like shouting into the void. The real problem is, there are many ways to operate a social media platform and they may not be doing it correctly. Many marketers, for example, mistakenly track the wrong metrics and then their companies are frustrated by the lack of impact their campaigns are having on their profits.

Instead: Realize Engagement Does not Equal Revenue

The goal is not to get likes, clicks or comments – though these are certainly nice – but to get conversions. Always measure conversions and realize that your social media content should be acting as a major part of your sales funnel. This alters the way you go about content creation and what your ultimate CTAs include. If you are struggling to determine the level of impact your social media page is having on sales, consider offering a promotional coupon to track sales that come through social media viewers.

“We didn’t get enough attention on our Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn profile, so we decided to move to a different platform.”

Far too many company heads expect to see fast growth and quick leads. However, social media needs to be treated as a one-to-one platform before it can become a one-to-many. This means your company has to take every single quality lead seriously and work to build your audience.

Instead: Build a Trusting Audience Over Time

Social media management is much more like being a soy bean farmer than Jack with magic beans – you won’t see a giant bean stalk sprout overnight, but you will reap rewards with the right effort and planning. Do the work ahead of time to determine where your audience likely hangs out. Don’t abandon your profiles or they will look unmanaged and your brand will look sluggish. And, most importantly, remember you are in it for the long haul and stop posting so many self-promotional updates.

“Just keep posting, just keep posting”

Sing that over and over in a voice like Dory from Finding Nemo and you will sound just as mentally defective (remember, she had a brain issue that cause severe, short-term amnesia and sang, “just keep swimming.”). No. The goal is not to just keep posting. Continuous posting without strategy is a huge problem most companies are in the midst of struggling through.

Instead: Post Smarter

Duke University did a study revealing companies are spending just nine percent of their marketing budgets on social media marketing. This number is forecasted to almost triple over the next five years to include one quart of the average marketing budget. This sharp increase in investment means companies need well-defined strategies with measurable outcomes more than ever before.

“You can automate to save time.”

This is a dangerous piece of advice. Of course, it is ideal to save as much time as possible and have posts planned out and sitting in the queue for publishing, but it is also detrimental to businesses who post their content during the wrong time, like some companies did during the Boston Marathon bombing disaster. Plus, your viewers will catch on quickly if your content is just being generated and churned out. Automating direct messages (DMs) and personal messages (PMs) is one of the worst things you can do, since these automatic messages are considered spam by most users.

Instead: Use Automation Only for Improved Timing

Don’t be lazy. Only use automated posting to send out your posts at the ideal time. Always keep track of your posting schedule and know how to cut the power if something happens. When the Aurora shooting occurred, the NRA sent out a horribly timed auto tween a few hours later that read, “Good Morning, shooters. Happy Friday! Weekend Plans?” When Tesco set up an automated Tweet that read “It’sleepy time, so we’re off to hit the hay! See you at 8am for more #TescoTweets,” they probably never imagined they would be in the midst of a PR disaster over horsemeat in their meals when it posted. This is why it is so important to keep track of what you are posting and use automation with reservation.