What is Social Media?
« Too Big to Succeed | Main | The 5 things a senior manager really needs to know about social media... »

The Unlucky 7 - Common Social Media Mistakes

Because social media is so new, most organizations do not have professional social media strategies designed to deliver business results.  

We have identified 7 common mistakes that are preventing organizations from getting the kinds of measurable business results they expect from their social media efforts:

1. Addressing the wrong audience

Too many organizations are investing too much time on the wrong audience, often attracting followers with free content, who will never turn into customers or members. It is important to segment and understand who your target audience really is rather than use a 'spray and pray' approach with broadcast social media. 

2. Confusing "activity" with results

The number of posts, tweets and likes are often measured and held out as a sign of "success" for social media campaigns, but if these activities do not result in measurable business results at some point, it is like having a lot of smoke but no fire. A high level of activity but no real results is often connected to problem number 1., addressing the wrong audience.  

3. Using the wrong social media platforms

If your target audience is primarily white collar professionals and you are just using Facebook and Twitter to reach them, chances are that you are missing the majority of your audience. LinkedIn is probably a better choice for this type of target group.

Likewise, if you want to really add value to your social media efforts for a close-knit customer community, you should probably consider using a private social networking platform. Using the wrong platform means your are not reaching your target audience. 

4. Neglecting to measure what really counts

Some things in social media are easy to measure; clicks, views, retweets, Likes, followers, etc. However, what really counts is if your audience takes some other actions as a result of your social media communication campaigns. Did you get more customers, sales, meeting attendance, member registrations or renewals because of your messaging campaign? These are the metrics that ultimately count and what you expect from your other marketing and communications campaigns. Why should social media be treated differently?  

5. Having no policies or designing the wrong policies

There are at least 3 categories of social media users in your organization that absolutely need social media policies; a.) all employees in general, b.) those employees that are required to use social media as part of their job duties and c.) any employee that has a hire or fire level of responsibility.

Recent court rulings, including several from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), make it crystal clear that employers need to manage social media legal risks. Having appropriate and legally correct social media use policies, along with training and education, is the best defense against this type of risk.  

6. No definition of "success" or metrics

Why are you using social media in the first place? Too many organizations are using social media because of perceived peer pressure to do so. 'Everyone else has a Facebook Page so we better have one too' without understanding why.

Social media may, or may not, be appropriate for your business. The first step in defining if and how to use social media is to define what you expect it to do for your organization. Are you trying to increase sales and revenue or do you simply want to communicate and inform the general public?  Be clear with yourself first and define what social media "success" should look like for your organization. 

7. The lack of a well thought out strategy and implementation plan

Because social media is so new, most organizations have started out by trial and error and experimentation. A growing number have taken a further step and have hired dedicated staff to manage their social media activities. However, even many of those organiztions that have dedicated staff still do not have a real strategy or plan for implementation. Simply hiring a dedicated staff person to manage your social media efforts does not automatically make up for the lack of a strategy or a definition of what you are trying to achieve.

The development of a professional grade strategic plan by definition is designed to address and eliminate the most common mistakes many organizations are commonly making and to help you achieve real and measurable business results.  


Developing a professional grade social media strategy will achieve at least three things for your organization;

A.) You will avoid wasting time and resources on activities that are not producing results. 

b.) You will reduce potential legal and reputational risks from the use of social media.  

c.) You will be able to align your social media efforts with your core business strategy and be able to measure results towards your goals and objectives. 


SOCIALSTRAT helps organizations to develop professional grade social media strategies that are designed to deliver business results, in line with your organizational objectives. 

Contact us today to learn more.

Terrance Barkan CAE - Direct: +1 202 294 5563 - Email: tbarkan@socialstrat.org


EmailEmail Article to Friend