5 Signs Your Social Media Manager May Be Sabotaging Your Success

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Is your social media investment falling flat? It might not be your marketing budget at fault. The wrong social media manager can actively sabotage your business growth, even with seemingly good intentions. Often, the issue is that businesses do not know what red flags to watch for, both during the hiring process and once the partnership is underway.

This guide empowers you to spot hidden red flags early on.  We’ll reveal the 5 most common pitfalls and how to address them constructively, transforming your social presence into the powerful tool it should be.

Sign #1: Inconsistent Communication


While occasional delays in communication are understandable, a consistently unreliable pattern of communication is a significant red flag and warrants a direct, actionable conversation. Such an attitude can undermine your entire online presence.

Periods of silence without updates leave you in the dark about the status of your social media efforts, creating frustration and eroding trust in the partnership. Additionally, delayed responses to customer inquiries damage your reputation and deplete brand trust.

How to Address

  • Set Clear Expectations from the Start: Your contract should outline preferred contact methods, typical response times for routine and urgent matters, and processes for keeping you informed.
  • Reiterate Your Needs: If communication falters with your social media manager, don’t hesitate to address it directly. Remind your manager of the agreed-upon expectations and why timely communication is critical to your business goals.
  • Seek a Solution, Not Just Blame: A good social media manager wants to succeed and may have underlying challenges beyond simple carelessness. Open a dialogue to understand the barriers and explore how to improve the situation together.

Sign #2: Activity Without Strategy


It’s tempting to think that simply posting something regularly is better than no social media presence at all. However, without a clear strategy guiding your social media efforts, even the most consistent posting risks yielding limited results. 

An unfocused social media strategy is one where your content is disconnected from business goals, audience insights, or the evolving nature of social media. Such an approach leads to wasted resources, misinterpretation of vanity metrics as true success, and an inconsistent brand presence that can confuse and alienate your audience. 

Look out for signs like posts without a defined purpose, content mismatched to your target customer, unwillingness to experiment based on data insights, reliance on a single content format, or social media operating in a silo instead of integrating with your broader marketing efforts.

How to Address

  • Revisit Your SMART Goals: Ensure they’re specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound, serving as the roadmap for your social media efforts.
  • Insist on Data-Driven Insights: Request regular reports that focus on explaining the narrative behind the metrics, identifying opportunities for improvement, and determining the highest ROI strategies.
  • Discuss Platform Optimization: Understand the unique benefits of each platform and how your social media manager aligns those with your business goals, choosing the channels that truly drive results.
  • Emphasize Content Variety: Ask about how your manager will strategically use different formats (video, text-based carousels, etc.) to engage various audience segments and achieve various campaign goals.
  • Seek Cross-Channel Integration: Explore how your social media presence will actively support and interact with existing marketing initiatives such as blog content, email campaigns, or offline efforts for maximum brand impact.

Sign #3: Questionable Tactics


In the quest for quick growth, some social media managers might resort to tactics that promise instant results but carry significant long-term risks. Practices like purchasing fake followers, using bots or AI-generated comments to simulate engagement, abusing hashtags, or engaging in unethical practices might offer a temporary ego boost, but they undermine genuine growth. 

These quick fixes ultimately erode audience trust, making it harder to attract genuine interest in your brand. Algorithm updates are designed to penalize inauthentic activity, leading to decreased organic reach even if you cease those practices later. potentially harm your brand reputation, and can even invite penalties from social media platforms. 

Social media success takes time and authentic community building. So, look out for suspicious metrics like unusually rapid follower growth with little corresponding engagement, generic or irrelevant comments, excessive hashtag use, or any tactics that feel dishonest or violate platform terms of service.

How to Address

  • Transparency as Core Value: Your initial contract with your social media manager should outline your stance on follower growth tactics and ethical social media conduct. Open and honest communication on this topic cultivates trust both ways.
  • “Gut Check”: If a promised strategy feels dishonest or too good to be true, it likely is. Don’t be afraid to question tactics that raise concern or request clear explanations of intended outcomes.
  • Monitor Analytics Closely: Be wary of sudden follower spikes without a parallel increase in genuine engagement. Track comment quality, hashtag relevance, and any unusual activity that warrants an open discussion with your manager.

Sign #4: Resistance to Feedback


Social media isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it marketing channel. A collaborative mindset is essential for both you and your social media manager to evolve and fine-tune your brand voice over time. Your business has unique needs and a strong understanding of your ideal customer. A successful social media manager blends their expertise with your specific knowledge, creating a collaborative approach that maximizes results. 

A social media manager focused on defending their initial vision instead of achieving your marketing goals will limit your digital success. One who sees feedback, no matter how constructive, as criticism, and dismisses suggestions or displays an unwillingness to adjust their approach based on insights hinders your business outcomes. 

Pay attention to such defensiveness when offered input, an insistence that all data should be trusted without interpretation, or a refusal to try new formats even with a strong rationale.

How to Address

  • Set a Feedback Framework: From the start, agree on how you’ll provide feedback, discuss reports, and offer ideas in a positive, constructive manner. Schedule regular check-ins specifically focused on refinement, not just reporting.
  • Start with Appreciation: When you offer constructive suggestions, begin by acknowledging your manager’s effort and past wins. This creates a receptive environment for discussing areas of improvement.
  • Focus on Goals, Not Personal Preferences: If offering an opinion on design elements, tie your observations back to your core branding or insights about how your audience engages rather than relying solely on subjective “likes” and “dislikes.”

Sign #5: Empty Promises


When hiring social media managers, be wary of those who guarantee unrealistic results in short timeframes, present a one-size-fits-all approach for every client, or are unwilling to adjust their course when performance stalls. While enthusiasm is good, overpromising leads to misaligned expectations, wasted resources, and frustration.

Be wary of contracts promising specific outcomes social media platforms themselves cannot control (ex: “guaranteed viral hit”). A strong manager focuses on what they CAN control – quality content, strategic timing, etc. Likewise, pay attention to claims that seem too good to be true, a focus on vanity metrics without a clear path to business impact, and a lack of transparency about the realities of building a following and driving meaningful engagement. 

How to Address

  • Ask About Processes: How does the manager assess your specific goals, past performance, and target audience to set realistic targets? Do their answers go beyond buzzwords and reflect an understanding of your business?
  • Focus on Long-Term Vision: Discuss the strategy for sustained growth, demonstrating their focus extends beyond initial launch excitement.
  • Transparency on Results: Request sample reports with an emphasis on insights and how those drive ongoing decisions. Look for a track record of achieving measurable business goals for past clients, not just flashy analytics screenshots.


Understanding these red flags empowers you to ensure your social media investment yields results. Prioritize communication, strategic focus, and ethical practices. If issues arise, address them proactively for a stronger partnership.

Seeking a social media manager who values your input and aligns with your long-term goals? Reputable firms work with you, not just for you. Schedule a consultation with us to get started. 


Managing social media accounts for your business can be highly demanding. We have hundreds of experts to help you manage your social accounts

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