6 Common social media mistakes

1. Ego alert!

Nothing is more irritating at a party than the guy who is only interested in the sound of his own voice. You know, the people who nod away when you are talking but you can tell their mind is elsewhere. Social media is no different. If you want to use social media to tell everyone how great you are then it is the wrong channel. The whole purpose of social media is that it is two-way. People expect to be able to have a conversation with you. If you are posting as an individual engage them in a conversation. If you have created a site on behalf of your organisation give it a named contact but most importantly show some interest in what your customers are saying.

2. No strategy

A common mistake made by organisations on social media is to not have a strategy. They know they need a Facebook page, blog or Twitter account, they get one set up and then wonder what all the fuss is about as no-one visits their site. Even worse, they introduce their sites with no thought about how they will be moderated and updated or what they are trying to achieve.

It isn’t difficult. Start by asking what you want to achieve. Are you simply after large numbers of followers? If so, you again need to ask what the purpose of this is. Are you after creating ambassadors of your organisation who can help drive interest and more importantly customers to your brand? A simple strategy and action plan will help you maximise your ROI.

3. Silence

We all know how annoying those websites are that never update their content  – social media is no different. In fact it is worse. At least with websites not many expect them to be updated in realtime. Social media is different. People expect quick answers to their questions. If they have to wait days they will simply give up on you.

4. Spam

One of my biggest bugbears are those social media sites that simply use the channel to spam people. Whether it is a Facebook page that sends me endless messages because I happened to ‘Like’ the organisation or a Twitter feed that simply churns out press releases – this is bad practice and should be stopped.

5. Don’t call me an idiot!!!

Now i’m not suggesting the old phrase the customer is always right applies in social media but if you have a site and someone criticises you on it, it is really bad practice to start rowing with them in public. The most powerful benefit of social media is that even if you cannot solve a person’s problem you will often temper their criticism simply by listening to them. You may respond outlining the reason for the decision that has upset them or can direct them to more appropriate channels for making a complaint. Either way, going all defensive and trying to get the upper hand in public is not the right approach.

6. No protocols

We’ve all read the horror stories about people criticising their boss on Facebook,using inappropriate hashtags or tweeting derogatory comments about their town or place of work. Put simply, social media can be the creator or destroyer of reputations. Running some awareness sessions with staff about the pitfalls of using social media will help mitigate some of these risks but it is always beneficial to have some simple protocols in place if nothing else to protect them from becoming the latest viral sensation.

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