When Renegade started doing social media audits several years ago, it was unclear exactly what we’d find. What we soon discovered is that many companies seem to be making the same mistakes, regardless of company size, B2B vs. B2C or the department leading the charge. Here is a quick overview of the five most common mistakes we’re seeing, along with some initial thoughts on how to correct these self-defeating faux pas.
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 doesn’t matter how large your social footprint is if fans aren’t talking about your content on Facebook (PTAT) 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.).
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, they 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.
Boring Non-Conversational Content
In social settings, brands, like people, get really boring if they only talk about themselves. Of course, you want to sell more products, but unless you have genuine news or product offers, brands should focus on being interesting and interested in their social channels. Creating content that is interesting requires knowing your target really well—something that is increasingly easier with Facebook analytics platforms. Being interested starts by responding to comments and continues by asking questions.
Social is Isolated in One Department
Since marketers want to market, customer service wants to help and HR wants to recruit, isolating social in one department often limits the multi-functional role that it can play for an organization. This need not be the case. We recently participated in a client’s brand integration workshop and concluded that social media touched the work of seven other agencies, including advertising, media buying, web development, SEO, PR and customer experience, which speaks to the necessity of sharing the social love across your company.
No Social Media Road Map
As the old saying goes, any road looks good if you don’t know where you’re going. And so it goes with social, which sprouted haphazardly within most companies. Establishing a clear road map for your company is imperative, and an effective road map should assign a purpose to each channel, set up an editorial calendar, create an escalation process for customer 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 aren’t making mistakes in social, then chances are you aren’t 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. Please let me know if you have any great success stories that started from so-called mistakes–I’d love to make that the follow up story. (A version of this article ran on SocialMediaToday.com)