Five Ways to #Fail at Social Media

Graphic supplied by Jez Page

There are some many posts written about how to succeed at social media , that I often think we forget that there are even more ways to fail than there are to succeed at alost any task.  There are way more than five ways to fail at social media, but these are some of the most common . Maybe if we become a little more conscious of them , we can avoid them ( maybe not, but I’m an optimist for the most part).

  • “Hollering in the Hurricane”
    • With so much content being created and shared every day on every topic imaginable, the last thing anyone needs is more traditional sales based marketing funneled through social media channels. In fact, trying to sell to your community when they’re in social spaces is much more likely to have a deleterious result. No one wants to hear your commercial message when they’re trying to relax or hang out with friends.   – The benefit of social media is creating relationships and becoming a valued member of your online community so that when community members need your goods or service, they will reach out and connect with you because they want to. If you don’t take that approach, your content becomes ignored and avoided like the thousands of advertising messages that are thrown at us everyday.
  • Thinking You can engage without a plan
    • Business people whose strategy was “Ready – Fire- Aim” have been failing for years, and using social media doesn’t change that. Though your engagement needs to be sincere and genuine, that doesn’t preclude your having a business reason for your engagement, a target demographic you’re trying to reach, or a business goal as the culmination of your efforts. Take the time to learn as much as you can about how people react to social media, who is succeeding, who is failing and how to participate in an effective manner. Learn about your community, understand what they care about,so that you can  provide good valuable content and important contributions to that community.
  • Assuming There is a Formula
    • There is no “silver bullet” or magic formula in social media. Corporations, Non-Profits, Government Agencies, Small and Medium sized businesses, and professionals can find great success in their use of social media, but they all should be engaging in social media differently. They will use many  the same tools, but they are probably not using them in the same manner or towards the same business goals. Coca Cola for example has a professional marketing staff, while a Mortgage Loan Officer, Real Estate  or Insurance Agent will most likely not have the budget to hire the talent they would lie to. Companies don’t have personalities – people do- and for the small business and professional, that may be their largest asset. Determine who you want to connect with, what your objectives are in your engagement, develop an appropriate strategy and them choose the tools be able to reach your goals.
  • Phoning It In
    • You’re online community isn’t stupid. Posting and reposting the same content over and over again on multiple channels, using Auto-DMs, sending strings of endless quotations won’t make them feel connected to you, it will make them feel that you’re striving for quantity rather than quality and your connections will reflect that quality. For most people social media is about the depth and breadth of their connections, rather than the shere numbers of people in your community. A large group of people that don’t care about each other are less likely to use each other’s goods and services than a smaller group of evangelists or raving fans. Respond to people in your community, be present to comment or contribute to them in a meaningful manner and the results will be far superior. What you say is more important than how many times you speak.
  • Not Getting Offline
    • Social Media is enhanced by face to face meetings where possible. Though social media allows you to reach a larger number of people and connect with them regardless of geographic separation, the relationships that you create in the virtual world become stronger and more meaningful after you have the opportunity to meet face to face. For small businesspeople this element takes social media to a whole new level. Once people have shared an experience with you you are more deeply bound to them and they are more likely to have you and your business at the front of their mind when they, or some other member of their family or their community can use your services. Services like upcoming.com , meetup.com , tweetups and  Social Media Club meetings are all great places to connect with others.
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