5 ways to guarantee your social media efforts will fail

Nov 28, 2012
Alexandra Barcelona

Social media is a common form of marketing for most brands; however, just because you have a ‘social media section’ in your marketing plan does not mean it will automatically work for you. Here are five ways to make sure your social media efforts will fail:

1) Letting the intern handle it

Intern, newbie, etc. – whatever you call it, it’s a bad idea. Social media is your brand’s voice online. Leave it to someone who is inexperienced with customer service or someone who is not knowledgeable about your brand, you’ll find yourself in a load of trouble.

 “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you'll do things differently.” – Warren Buffet

Think about how much time and effort you’ve put into your brand and how one Tweet or post can take it down in a few minutes. There are multiple real-life examples of this – so before you hand it off to someone who’s only experience with social media is that they have a Facebook page, take the time to find someone who actually knows how to use social media for marketing your brand. (Note: This is not to say that the intern cannot do your social media, you may find that they are the most qualified in your organization to handle it, but make sure you verify that before you hand it over.)
2) Set it and forget it

Social media is not a billboard that you can put up for a couple weeks and take down later. It’s something that needs to be monitored and updated frequently. This does not mean you need to be tweeting 24/7, but make sure your accounts don’t portray your brand as a ghost town. No one likes ghosts.

3) No follow through

So you’ve set up your accounts and you’re getting customer to actually interact with you. They’re sending you messages and @mentioning you in tweets and what do they find? Crickets. According to recent studies, most customer service tweets go unanswered – the kicker is that social media savvy customers turn out to be more valuable customers, usually spending more with the brand.

So when someone reaches out to your brand, don’t just pat yourself on the back that people are talking about you, get in there and talk back!

4) Over moderation

Uh oh, someone posted something bad about your brand on your Facebook page. Delete it, quick! While that may be the thinking of many, it’s really a bad idea. People get even more offended when you delete a negative comment or post, leading them to vent their frustration elsewhere. While it’s perfectly fine to moderate your profiles and delete posts that are offensive or inappropriate, deleting a post every time someone says they don’t like you is overkill. Here’s why:

  • Social media is transparent. It’s a platform that customers use to talk to their peers, so when you’re on there, they see you as a peer. It gives them the feeling that they’re talking to an actual person, rather than talking to your corporate headquarters). Transparency means being honest and accepting the fact that your brand has flaws.
  • Your brand advocates will come to your defense. They may not do it for every single post or tweet, but those who know that people are intentionally spreading rumors about your brand will call them out. Social media is a community, let your community help you.
  • Over moderation out of fear of what people may say about your brand is a weak excuse. If you know that you’re an honest company with a good product, the amount of people who will post negatively about your brand will be very slim. Plus, if people feel you’re being unfair in your moderation, they’ll find someplace else to vent their frustrations where you cannot easily respond with a solution. Just something to think about.
5) No tie-back to your brand

You’ve set up your profiles and you have a solid following. You update regularly and engage with your followers. Awesome! But something is still lacking. You get that feeling when someone says, “I saw the funniest commercial, but I don’t remember what it was for.” While you may be posting engaging, interactive, funny (remember, social media is casual – fun is allowed!) content, make sure it ties into your brand one way or another. Now hear me in this, this DOES NOT mean that you only post stuff about your brand. Again, social media is not about pushing your brand 24/7.

For example, say you’re a company that sells patio furniture. While it’s fine to post about patio furniture, but let’s face it, no one likes patio furniture that much that they want to hear about it all the time. Think about what else you can post, perhaps outdoor landscaping, ways to waterproof materials, outdoor living spaces around the world. These aren’t directly related to patio furniture, but you can easily tie these back into your brand. Just make sure that you’re not posting about car paint and you’ll be ok.

Social media can (and should be) integrated into your overall marketing plan. But it’s also important to note that just because it’s fun, doesn’t mean it’s easy. When you find that your social media efforts are falling short, make sure you’re not incorporating these ‘failures’ into your plan.