We have been working with Social Media marketing as a tool to help grow business for quite some time now and we have learned some pretty important things about getting started in social media. In fact, some of them have been underscored this week with a few clients that tried to go it their own. We want to be a resource to help protect companies from themselves when it comes to navigating these “new” waters of social media and have compiled the following list of 5 biggest mistakes we see in regards to companies’ social media marketing efforts.


  1. Not being the “owner” of the accounts
    All too often companies select whom will be the person responsible for social media by picking the person that appears to know the most about that “Facebook thing.” Seems like that would make sense until later down the road you realize you are not the owner of the accounts that have been built. Very frequently employees, many times because they don’t know another way, will setup the accounts using their existing profiles or user/email information. The problem with this is that if that person leaves, gets fired, or takes issue with any aspect of the company they can cause havoc by doing things such as deleting your accounts, posting hurtful information, or holding the accounts captive.  We recommend making sure you have a company hosted email or at least generic Gmail account or the likes to use as a transferable entity to help alleviate this issue. Refuse to be held hostage.
  2. Not having a plan
    Finding new customers is not a plan. It can certainly be part of the plan, but how is that going to be achieved. Where? Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, etc? A comprehensive plan is critical in not only defining your actions but also measuring your success.Here are a few of the topics we think you should include in your plan:
    a. Establish goals such as conversions, conversations, exposures, inquiries, etc.
    b. Communication style (fun, corporate, informational, etc)
    c. Response timelines (Social media responses should be same or next day)
    d. Growth strategies
    e. Critical players in your geographic area, industry, niche, related industries. (this should include your competitors)
    f. Who is responsible for content creation, responding, monitoring, reporting. Make sure everyone knows what their job is and how to do it.
    g. Where does it make sense for you to participate in social media. All SM accounts are not created equal for all businesses.
    h. What tools are needed to manage and report
    i. How much time and money to dedicate to your efforts
    j. How to respond to negative and positive
  3. God gave you one mouth and two ears – use them in that ratio!
    Too often companies want to jump in the waters and start splashing around screaming look at me thinking that will attract followers and business. Unfortunately (actually fortunately) it works just the opposite. The screaming and splashing turns on our “ignore that whiney kid at the restaurant” alarms and not only turns people off but sometimes turns them against said screamer! There are more than a few fortune 500 companies that have changed entire marketing campaigns because the social media crowd banded together and brought the “Goliaths” to their knees.  Setup your accounts (properly), join the groups, and LISTEN and learn before you begin to contribute!
  4. Forgetting to feed the fire
    Very often we see companies jump into the social media realm hot and heavy, lots of updates, lots of conversations and then slowly the conversations fade, the posts vanish,  and the account hasn’t been updated in months. What happens? The most common cause is they run out of things to say, get busy because of the increase in business and neglect what brought the business, or think that their social media accounts should be on autopilot. Our social butterflies spend a majority of their time finding relevant, entertaining, and sharable content for use in our clients’ campaigns. Very often as much as half of their allocated time for a client can simply be for creating content (assuming the client doesn’t have enough.) It is important to remember that in order to have something that will continue to attract and engage customers with your social media – you must feed the fire!! Give them torches and road maps to go out into the darkness and spread your company’s light amongst their friends.
  5. Not joining the Social Media world out of fear!
    This is something we see almost daily! We answer questions like – “What if they say something bad? What if nobody follows me? What should I say? Why would they care what I have to say?” and the list continues. All of these get back to one simple thing in my opinion. Fear. Guess what? They already are saying negative things, you may not get as many followers as you want, and you will certainly share things that some will not care to hear about. The great news about all of that is that joining the social media conversation at least allows you to have a centralized place where you can respond to criticism, a place to attract people that will become “brand advocates” for your company, and a place you can share information they DO care about! While the fear is reasonable and certainly understood; it should not prevent a company from joining Social Media marketing. With a solid social media marketing plan it is possible to respond to the negative comments ( even turn them to positive) as well as grow the lifetime value of your clients and followers! At very minimum it is best to move past this fear to prevent others from taking and using your brand name on social media.

Social media marketing can be a scary world and even scarier if you make some of the mistakes above, be sure to not be among the unfortunate ones that left it to chance and then got stuck dealing with something that could have easily been avoided.

We wish you the best in your endeavors! Hey, if you got anything good out of this article, please share it with your friends via (yep you guessed it) social media or email.

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