Common social media mistakes and how to avoid them!

Barry Libert recently said ‘If you want to become a meaningful part of social conversations and interactions, you’ve got to know who your [audience] is , where they spend their time online, and what sort of content is valuable, relevant, and will foster their continued interest and participation. And that’s just for starters’.

Indeed, there is plenty to be considered before jumping into what Barry calls a ‘profile creating, news-tweeting, blog-posting frenzy’. Half the battle though, is to figure out what not to do. So, to make things a little easier, here are some common social media mistakes and how to avoid them.

Too much, too soon
A quality social media presence requires focus and patience.  Before trying to create a presence on every social media site, achieve success on one and then leverage your learnings in additional accounts.

Under investing in social initiatives and abandoning them too soon
Early on, you’ll need to invest a good deal of time, thought and money in attracting fans and followers – and your efforts will need to be sustained. Successful strategies include posting quality content people want to consume, encouraging interaction and responding to criticism. Include customer and employee testimonials and use multiple approaches (blogs, Facebook pages and your web site) to reach more people.

Neglecting to encourage and inspire your followers
It’s not about you; it’s about your audience. Don’t broadcast; listen. Ask questions and incite participation. When you think about it, your fans and followers are essentially giving up their time and energy to interact with you and promote your company – you need to respect that and take their comments on board.

Relying on a ‘build it and they will come’ philosophy
This kind of thinking is flawed from the start – you can’t simply build a social community and expect people to join. You need to offer incentives, develop a strategy and target your audience through multiple channels to ensure they know you want to build a relationship with them.

Underestimating  the power of a social network
Social media and community collaboration can bring many benefits including brand-building, customer loyalty and retention, cost reductions, improved productivity, new product ideas and improvements, product and organisation promotion and revenue growth.

Forgetting your brand
Your social media activities should supplement (not replace) a balanced and integrated marketing and communications strategy that supports overall business strategy and objectives. In that way, your social media activities should reflect, support and enhance your brand. You must maintain your reputation and image while providing value to your audience.

Selecting the ‘wrong’ social media spokesperson
Your social media presence provides the ‘voice’ of the company so it is essential to select an employee with a detailed understanding of your products and brand to manage your social media accounts.

Failure to train employees
You need to provide staff with a baseline of the basic ‘what to’ and ‘what not to’ do’s, as well as set expectations and provide policies for employee participation.

Forgetting to measure metrics
It is important to define the metrics by which you will measure your social media activity, success and campaign results. Some metrics to consider include; number of followers, impressions, clicks, sales and registrations, to name a few.

Barry Libert 2010, ’10 Social Media Mistakes We Bet You’re Making’, viewed 24 April 2011.
My Charity Connects 2009, ‘Top Ten Social Media Mistakes’, viewed 24 April 2011.
Brian Rice 2010, ‘Top 10 Common Social Media Mistakes to Avoid’, viewed 24 April 2011.


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  1. #1 by natwom on April 30, 2011 - 8:07 PM

    This is a great article that really identifies the importance of putting your customers first when using social media.

    Although a social media campaign may start with strict objectives in place it is important to be flexible and adapt the style or message depending on customer interactions and feedback.

    I definitely agree with your comment that you should start with one social media site before branching into others; this allows you to bed down your approach, particularly if you receive a different response from your customers than anticipated.

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