3 Huge Mistakes Companies Make in Social Media


“It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan.”

– Eleanor Roosevelt

“Plan your work for today and every day, then work your plan.”

– Norman Vincent Peale

Companies love to plan.  They love to present plans.  They plan on how to plan.

The web is a confusing place. Plan what you can.

Yet, for some reason many companies have no real plan for social media.  They continue to open social media channels with no real goals attached to them.  No long-term plans for creating content for those channels.  They are lost when people react to the content they put up – and many times are too timid or frightened to really engage with those people.

Even worse, many companies don’t even know what social media success looks like.

Here are three big blunders companies make with social media:

1. No consistent plan for creating digital and social content

You can’t wing social media.

Social media isn’t a campaign either.  Companies should not be pumping out content only during product launches or at events.  Content needs to be consistent and happen on a daily – or near daily basis.  This is a reality that often sneaks up on companies.  Because providing a consistent level of content creation is a grind.

It might seem easy to tweet 140 characters every day or to update status on Facebook.  But it isn’t.  It takes planning.  It takes time and resources.  It takes integration with communications and marketing.

That’s why corporations should treat social media not as channels – but as publishing platforms.  Create a monthly editorial calendar that integrates social media with communications and marketing.  Make sure that every press release has social components – a video, a tweet, a Facebook status update, a blog post.  All of the content needs to be tailored for each specific channel.

Make sure roles and responsibilities are understood.  Appoint a manager to oversee the editorial calendar and to make sure content is being created and reviewed – and happens on time.

And just as important: Figure out if this is something you can handle internally or if you need to outsource some or all of it to an agency.

2. No engagement plan for when people react to your content

The social content not only needs to have a purpose and provide value to your audiences, but corporations need to take it to the next step.  How should they respond when people react – sometimes negatively – to the content?

In other words, how are they going to engage with people when they interact with their content?

This is often the forgotten part of social media.  But social networks and blogs are inherently interactive so people are going to be using, distributing, commenting and reacting to the content you push out to the web.  So have a plan in place for engagement.  Who is going to speak on behalf of the company?  Should you be proactive or reactive?  Are their guidelines for engagement?  Do you have rules for responding on your Facebook page?  How do comments work on the company blog?  What is your follow strategy for Twitter?

All of this needs to be considered ahead of time.  It needs to be policy.

3. No social ownership

Who owns social media?  Where does the buck stop?  Too many corporations have their social media fragmented.  IT owns the web site.  Marketing has blogging.  Corporate communications is running the Twitter feed.  Product marketing is putting videos on YouTube.  It’s a jumble of confusion with no consistent look and feel and inconsistent messaging.  Sometimes the companies doesn’t even know all of the channels it has open.

This is a big mistake.

Someone needs to have set the overall strategy.  Someone needs to be the glue that holds all the disparate channels together.

This doesn’t mean they need to approve everything or own everything.  But it means that there are eyes and ears monitoring every channel and making sure that the channels are all working together as seamlessly as possible.  So when you do have big events or product launches, this means that all the channels and content are working together.

What are your thoughts? Anything to add? How well do you think companies are doing with social media?

Links:

5 Reasons Why Businesses Struggle with Content

5 Steps to Avoid Social Fragmentation

Image by Steve Jurvetson (via Flickr)

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