10 Social Media Pitfalls to Avoid (1 to 5)

Darren HealyA guest post from Darren Healy, Director and founder of Uber Social Media, a young company specialising in Social Media Management and Development mainly for SME’s in Scotland.

When chatting with company executives, I often hear the same things repeated over and over again during our initial social media discussions. Quite often they will say something like “We have that well taken care of already” or “Oh yes we handle it all ourselves and use (Facebook, Twitter etc) regularly” or “Oh I leave that to so and so to handle” or “We tried social media and it didn’t work”.

Usually the person who tells me it didn’t work is the most honest, because most of the time I am talking to companies using social media ineffectively and no matter what they say I already know they aren’t doing it well.

What’s interesting though is after talking some more I start to unravel the actual reasons why it isn’t working.  I have found that it’s for very similar reasons across the board.

To help you avoid falling into the same ‘trap’ as those believing they are doing social media well, when they are not, I have listed the 10 major social media pitfalls to avoid. Pitfalls 1 to 5 are presented below.  A follow-up post will list 6 to 10.  As usual, comments and feedback are very welcome.

    social media pitfalls

  1. Don’t leave it to one person to handle – social media should be company-wide and requires the adoption of a ‘social mindset’.  Without a ‘social’ attitude across the company, one person will ultimately feel too burdened to handle everything (the posts, generating content, customer service enquiries, and complaints). Furthermore, employees often inherit social media duties on top of everything else they do and simply don’t have the time do everything well.
  2. Don’t leave it to the wrong person or people – it is critical that responsibility for social media within your company is allocated to individuals with the right skills and experience.  Don’t close the door on leveraging outside expertise.  Avoid the pitfall of delegating responsibility to ‘that young person who you know uses Facebook’. Hybrid skills, combining solid social media and business expertise are required.
  3. There is no social media content strategy – in other words, what do we say on the various social media platforms and channels. Many companies are still using messages regurgitated from PR and other broadcast marketing channels. A clear strategy and unique content should be developed for each social media platform. Why? Because each platform allows for different types of communication allowing you to stand out from the crowd.
  4. Lack of understanding of social media ROI – most companies still apply old metrics and paradigms of success to their social media ROI.  Many are numbers driven i.e. ‘I have thousands of followers/fans/subscribers on my platforms therefore it’s been a success’. But there’s a lot more to it. You need to think about quality not just quantity. 100 actively engaged fans who love your brand or are highly engaged is more valuable than 10,000 fans who barely respond to your messages. Delighting those 100 fans will mean they actively spread the message for you, both online and offline. You can take that success to the bank.
  5. They are on the wrong platforms – like any carefully planned marketing strategy you have to go where your target audience is.  You need to engage where your audience is already hanging-out.  Too many companies still operate on a ‘they will come to our social media channels’ approach. You should undertake Social Media Landscape Research to identify the key ‘hubs’ where your customers (actual and potential) already hang-out.

Feedback and comments are very welcome. Can you identify with the above? What other pitfalls have you experienced trying to push forward social media in your company or with clients?

Pitfalls 6-10 to follow.


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