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5 Biggest Social Media Mistakes - 5/28/2013 -

Look down this list of the top self-defeating social media mess-ups, and see if any of them sound familiar.

By Drew Neisser

When we started doing social media audits several years ago, it was unclear exactly what weíd find. What we soon discovered is that many organizations seem to be making the same mistakes, regardless of company size, B2B vs. B2C vs. nonprofit, or the department leading the charge.Here is a quick overview of the five most common mistakes in social media, along with some initial thoughts on how to correct these self-defeating faux pas.

1. Measuring the Wrong Things
The most common metric mistake is emphasizing the number of fans you have over other markers, an approach that is symptomatic of a larger problem: viewing social as another mass medium through which branded content can be pushed. The reality is that it doesnít matter how large your social footprint is if fans arenít talking about your content on Facebook (PTAT-People Talking About This, or the number of unique users who have created a story about a page in a seven-day period) and sharing your videos, tweets, and/or LinkedIn posts.Enlightened brands use and monitor several more illuminating metrics, including brand sentiment, speed and quality of customer service resolution, and engagement (comments, shares, CTRs, etc.).

2. Too Many Channels and/or Sub-branded Pages
Once the social media bug began to spread across companies, every line extension of a line extension wanted its own Facebook page or Twitter account and/or Pinterest board.IBM, for example, discovered through an audit that it had hundreds of branded handles on Twitter and ultimately decided to reduce that list to only a few handfuls. Similarly, many brands are stretched too thin, jumping onto new platforms without the resources to keep their content fresh and their fans engaged. It is better to just do a few channels really well than to be everywhere inconsistently.

3. Boring Non-Conversational Content
In social settings, brands, like people, get really boring if they only talk about themselves. Of course, you want to attract more members and sell more products, but unless you have genuine news or offers, brands should focus on being interesting and interested in their social channels.Creating content that is interesting requires knowing your target really well ó something that is increasingly easier with Facebook analytics platforms. Being interested starts by responding to comments and continues by asking questions.

4. Social is Isolated in One Department
Isolating social in one department often limits the multi-functional role that it can play for an organization. This need not be the case. Social media touches the work of editorial, advertising, media buying, web development, SEO, PR and customer/member experience, which speaks to the necessity of sharing the social love across your organization.

5. No Social Media Road Map
As the old saying goes: Any road looks good if you donít know where youíre going. And so it goes with social, which sprouted haphazardly within most organizations.Establishing a clear road map for your association is imperative, and an effective road map should assign a purpose to each channel, set up an editorial calendar, create an escalation process for member complaints, and determine staffing needs. Lastly, the road map should define the paid or earned media that will ultimately be required to achieve any kind of scale.

Final note: If you arenít making mistakes in social, then chances are you arenít trying anything new. The trick is to turn these mistakes into learning opportunities that will ultimately put you one step ahead of your more cautious competitors.

Drew Neisser is CEO & founder of Renegade and blogs at The Drew Blog


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