6 Pitfalls For Businesses To Avoid Failing In Social Media

Social media as a guilty pleasure and social media as a business marketing strategy are two completely different online animals.  Businesses that jumped on the social media bandwagon for fear of missing out on the global phenomenon have generally found their expectations to be unrealized. When fear in any form is the basis for any decision, the outcomes are rarely, if ever, judicious.  Social Media can optimize the online presence of a business in a number of ways, but there are some pitfalls that need to be avoided in order to ensure a successful venture into social networking.

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Failure To Formulate A Social Media Plan
Depending upon the size of the business, a failing social media experiment may be attributed to something as simple as trying to put a square peg into a round hole. The larger the organization, the harder it is to incorporate social media into an existing marketing plan.  This may also apply to smaller business enterprises that do not have a  content marketing strategy.  For this reason, a separate and comprehensive social media plan of action should be drafted to set goals and objectives, as well as roles and responsibilities for each division.

Failure To Assess or Allocate Required Resources
Traditional marketing and online marketing may share some core principles, but they are not interchangeable in their approach.  Social media requires constant attention in order to be successful. It is about building online relationships and as with all relationships, they fall apart if left unattended. Allocations for both designated manpower and financial resources need to be established. In the case of a larger organization, this means for every department. For smaller businesses assessing what is possible given limited resources should be considered beforehand, not afterwards.

Failure To Understand Social Media Assets & Limitations
Failing Social Media ventures usually have at its root cause a lack of understanding of the nature and purpose of social media as it relates to business.  Social media began as an experiment in online social networking.  Social Media serves a purpose, but it is not the be all or end all in a content marketing strategy.  A primary asset centers on the ability to interact with consumers and receive feedback in a way that websites cannot provide.

Failure To Engage
Social media is about building relationships and an online community. It is not about generating a larger database, although given the right content and effort, this will be realized. Social media is an excellent opportunity to personalize the online consumer-company relationship.  Successful social media is largely due to what a business is willing or able to invest in both time and effort.

Failure to Add Value To The Consumer
Competition is keen across the entire spectrum of the Internet.  Rich, interesting content that adds value to the consumer will not only draw people to a social media site, but will keep them coming back for more. There is also a greater likelihood that they will recommend the site to their own online communities. Satisfying the needs of a target market with information beyond a product line helps to develop trust which is an asset for realizing online sales.

Failure To Measure Both Quantitative & Qualitative Results
There is no argument that measuring results is critical for a business to determine how well they are achieving their goals and objectives. However, beyond the quantitaitve, a business should also analyze the qualitative results that social media provides. In traditional terms this is called good will. There is no price that can be placed on good will other than it is an important aspect in achieving customer loyalty, another priceless commodity.

As success breeds success so too does failure breed failure. This is primarily the case for businesses that are unsuccessful with their attempts to harness the power of social media. There is no substitute for due diligence when venturing into unchartered terrain. Haste makes waste when jumping in without adequate planning and a thorough understanding of what a new venture entails.

What has your experience in social media taught you?  What gets (or loses) followers for you?

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