Learn from over 30 marketing experts with decades of experience their recommendations on the crucial mistakes too many businesses are making on social media.

How NOT To Use Social Media

Learn from over 30 marketing experts with decades of experience their recommendations on the crucial mistakes too many businesses are making on social media.

On September 15, 1970, the BBC aired a new episode of the comedy sketch show, Monty Python. During this particular episode, the troupe unveiled a new skit - The Ministry of Silly Walks.

Considered one of the funniest Monty Python routines ever - and the 15th best comedy sketch of all time - the humour here is found in the juxtaposition of professional-looking men in business suits carrying about in the silliest of walks and positions.

Headed to the Ministry of Silly Walks

But why was this so funny?

Simply put, it illustrated the breaking of a social norm - the expectation that men dressed in suits should behave with dignity and decorum. Years earlier, Sociologist Harold Garfinkel actually performed experiments along these lines in public to gauge people’s reactions. Unlike a law, which is written, a norm is an understanding or an unwritten rule that people are not required to follow, but it’s expected.

Social Media, as a microcosm of society and culture, has its own sets of norms. There are rules and laws of course which are prescribed by the networks themselves - deviations which would be punishable by suspension or removal.

But what about norms? What are some of the unwritten rules?

These are the kinds of behaviors that, while they won’t get you banned from Twitter, may certainly result in having people unfollow or block you.

The problem, of course, is that they’re unwritten.

Until now, that is.

I’ve written in the past about some of the things folks should or should not do on social media, but I decided to poll a few of my friends and come up with a more extensive article on the subject.

Featuring:

Amerland, David
Andrew & Pete
Ann, Jessica
Baader, Kelly
Brenner, Michael
Brooks, Rich
Cell, Erin
Cleary, Ian
Cohen, Heidi
Damanis, George

Dodaro, Melonie
Gerbyshak, Phil
Gottschalk, Carrie
Gritmon, Christine
Heimann, Yvonne
Hyken, Shep
Kawula, Michael
Leonhardt, David
Liu, Stephanie
Mirabella, Kelly

Monzon, Danny
Morin-van Dam, Dorien
Moritz, Donna
Nissen, Steph
Robinson, Amanda
Rubin, Ted
Schaffer, Neal
Shervington, Martin
Webb, Amanda
Yu, Dennis


So, without further ado, let’s find out what these gifted and experienced marketers had to say about:

Where do you see most businesses wasting time and effort on social media? What tactics, tools or platforms are they getting wrong?

David Amerland

David Amerland, said…

A lot of businesses use social media as a shortcut to augment their existing one-to-many advertising channels. Even when they enter the space thinking "it's a conversation" what they're really interested in is a monologue where they gain followers, influence and market share simply because they create content and share it.

I always understand the difficulty of scaling the effort of creating and maintaining an on-going relationship with an audience. At the same time we must never lose sight of the fact that it is "a relationship with an audience". That means that conversations, such as they are in the public social media space, must touch upon areas of concern, must address points of true interest and must take place in a way that allows a sense of shared values to build up.

None of this is possible if a business hasn't clearly worked out its identity, established its values, communicated them internally with every other part of its business and then worked out how to best project all this online. All this 'soul-searching' takes trust. Unless trust exists internally (which means a business knows "what" it does, "why" it does it and then gets on with the "how") it cannot be created outside it.

Businesses that have defined the true reason for their existence and work in environments of trust are less stressful, more productive, happy places to work in and they are also the most profitable. It is no accident that their social media activity also produces engagement that does favorably impact the bottom line.

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Andrea and Pete

Andrew & Pete, said…

Most business owners think that they have to be on as many platforms as possible to be seen by everyone. However by trying to create content to grow an audience on multiple platforms spreads one's efforts too thin... simply resulting in average content being produced. Average content is not going to get you anywhere fast. Instead you should follow the *90:10 Rule* to get faster results, that is to spend 90% of your marketing efforts just doing one thing remarkably well. By stopping creating content for many different platforms, you can re-invest your efforts into creating something remarkable in one place and building a huge following very quickly.

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Jessica Ann

Jessica Ann, said…

Business owners that want to increase followers just for ego metrics without a high-level marketing strategy go in circles. Setting clear goals and intentions before executing any social media strategy is crucial for long-term success.

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Kelly Baader

Kelly Baader, said…

1) Just post self promotional content without considering whether it would be resonated with their audience.

2) Only focus on vanity numbers - rather meaningful and deeper engagement with their tribe.

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Michael Brenner

Michael Brenner, said…

The trick to being effective on social media and with any kind of content is consistency and frequency. Spend some extra time defining how frequently you can or should post on various platforms and then stick to that schedule.

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Rich Brooks

Rich Brooks, said…

Too many B2B companies are wasting their time focusing on Facebook and Instagram. I'm not saying these can't be powerful platforms, but I often hear from B2B firms that want help on their Facebook page when that's the last place they should be focusing their limited resources on.

After uncovering who they are going after and how and where those prospects do their research, it's usually a combination of LinkedIn and blogging that makes the most sense.

Facebook is great for B2B companies that are targeting small business owners who are busy marketing themselves on Facebook, or looking to recruit (look how cool our offices are!), or promoting their community involvement. But it's not where you're going to generate qualified leads for most B2B firms.

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Erin Cell

Erin Cell, said…

Great question & my response to this is wasting time on platforms you don't belong, don't like or your ideal customers aren't on. There are so many social media platforms to choose from today & more popping up daily.

The biggest mistake I have seen businesses make is spending their time & resources on platforms they shouldn't waste their time on. I always tell business owners to find 1 or 2 platforms which make sense for their business - focus on those platforms, really connect & engage with their audience. Once they've done that they can consider moving to other platforms.

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Ian Cleary

Ian Cleary, said…

The biggest problem with social media is the narrow view people have of social media. To them social media is posting content to Facebook, Twitter. They post because they feel they have to. But they need to step back and think about what's happening on the internet.

Word of mouth is moving online and you want to make sure that people know about you online, talk about you in a positive way and engage with you when they are interested in products and services.

So don't just post content that nobody is seeing. Create real engagement with the right audience.

For example, find a group online full of your target audience and jump in with positive discussions. Or create a group and attract them to you.  Alternatively if they come to your website give them an opportunity to chat with you. Give them your phone number or have a chatbot on your site. Or maybe be completely different than everyone else and make yourself available online at a specific date/time every week to help your current and potential customers.

Social Media is not for broadcasting and it's not just about Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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Heidi Cohen

Heidi Cohen, said…

Without a tailored social media marketing strategy and related business plan, you are fooling yourself and your management that you’re supporting key business objectives.

The top 5 ways businesses waste budget and man-hours include:

1. Skimp on resources to support effective social media marketing. This includes:

  • Providing additional content creation and/or advertising budget to develop new content distribution presentations and content transformations including formats,
  • Answering sales and customer service questions in a timely manner, and
  • Having a set budget to test and use paid social media advertising.

2. Ignore the need to build your social media community as well as to participate in other related social media communities. Often this requires the support of a professional social media community manager like Content Marketing Institute’s Monina Wagner and BuzzSumo’s Susan Moeller.

Without deepening these relationships, your business is unlikely to benefit from these followers. Further, to support mega-content efforts, you need to develop relationships with bloggers and journalists.

3. Only use social media flybys to distribute content. Without keeping your new and road tested content visible on social media for at least 1 to 2 months, reduces the chances of reaching the broadest possible audience.

Further, they often neglect to use multiple, tailored content distribution presentations. This should be part of an on-going editorial calendar that includes regular content audits to keep content up-to-date.

4. Neglect to use calls-to-action and connected content off-ramps. As a result, your social media audience doesn’t follow you to owned media entities.  For example, Mike Allton did this on Google+ and had to scramble to get at least a portion of his quarter of a million followers to engage with him elsewhere.

Connected Content

5 Types of Connected Content

5. Only measure what is easy-to-track not what matters. Orbit Media Studios’s Andy Crestodina calls this Julian’s Law named for Jeff Julian. Yet I still talk to senior marketers who worry about the number of shares a specific piece of content got.

When they should be focused on the metrics that move the needle for their specific business.  For most businesses, this translates to building an addressable business audience.

To capture this informaton, you must use calls-to-action, tailored tracking, often referred to as UTM codes and landing pages. Further, they must be integrated not only into your digital tracking but also into other business systems.

$ Ways Addressable Audiences Create Value

What social media tactics, tools or platforms do businesses get wrong?

Since many marketing executives undervalue their business blog and email lists, they’re truly the cobbler’s children of social media. So they become owned media outposts filled with poor quality, me-too content.

Blogs provide an owned version of social media that allow you to optimize for your 5 key audiences:

  • Your prospects and customers by providing the information they actively seek.
  • Social media by supplying curation-worthy, useful content to fill empty feeds.
  • Search by demonstrating to search engines the most important information for specific keywords.
  • Influencers by mentioning them in your content and giving them additional platforms to publish guest posts.
  • Your business by providing opportunities to attract and convert prospects and customers via your connected content.

Optimize Content

I see a cartoon bubble hanging over your head questioning whether email is social media even though it’s at the heart of every social media platform.

Don’t take my word for it! How do you sign into your favorite social media platform? And how do they entice you to return for further engagement?

For email to support your business, you must treat your audience with respect and serve consistent content on a regular basis. More importantly this enables you to build share of audience attention (aka: SOAA)

SOAA

So write your email newsletters like you’re Warren Buffett who writes his annual letter specifically for his siste. (Hat tip: Ann Handley who has been leading the 2019 Email Crusade!) As an experienced writer, it’s taken me a while to get my weekly newsletters to hit the right combination of voice and content. Here’s a sample to help you:

Newsletter

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George Damanis

George Damanis, said…

Most mistakes I see businesses doing are using social media as their own personal billboard and not developing relationships. They come from an old mindset of advertising that skates the line of spamming and refuse to accept the reality that social media platforms are fluid and evolve with the preferences of their users.

Many businesses feel entitled to using platforms like Facebook as a billboard because they are paying and because they are paying, they feel an incorrect sense of ownership in the platform. This often leads to abusing the platform. One of the comments I hear frequently is "social media advertising doesn't work." Many businesses are also still fixated on "likes" and followers and want to brag about their follower rates, so they waste money on like campaigns, rather than engagement to nurture a following organically and on targeted lead ad campaigns.

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Melonie Dodaro

Melonie Dodaro, said…

The biggest mistake I see businesses make is taking a "hope and pray" stance to marketing. They are continually trying to get more eyeballs on their content, yet they are relying on external factors they can't control. That is a recipe for disaster.

Consistent results will come from a proactive approach via outreach marketing.

Finding, connecting, and starting conversations with your ideal clients is 100% within your control.

Content has its place in digital marketing - which is to keep you top of mind with the network/community you build, but it shouldn't be relied upon to turn those people into clients.

The best method I have found for B2B businesses is to use LinkedIn along with a strategic outreach plan to build relationships with the right people! You do this by starting meaningful conversations and moving those conversations offline where you can learn about the needs and challenges they are facing – and when appropriate, offer your solution.

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Phil Gerbyshak

Phil Gerbyshak, said…

Most businesses waste too much time and effort trying to make all their employees sound corporate instead of letting them share what's their weird and why it matters to the prospects and customers they want to serve. They're especially doing this wrong by over templating messaging/connection sequences on LinkedIn, using automation tools so all team members post the same status updates, drive people to the same landing pages, and try to fill top of funnel activity with people they are already connecting to, instead of pausing a few beats and personalizing every interaction they have just a little, and sharing why each employee's connections should care about what was just posted to LinkedIn.

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Carrie Gottschalk

Carrie Gottschalk, said…

Heading into 2019 we have seen a lot of changes in social media. One of the biggest changes (or additions) I have noticed is the use of Facebook Messenger Marketing. There are a lot of questions about how this new tool works and how it can help your business. I've found a lot of success with messenger marketing through trial and error and one of the biggest things I've noticed while testing out other businesses automated message systems falls under a few categories.

1. They are set up to ask a question with an assisted responder. This means that someone will have to manually respond to one of the top three questions position with Facebook's native tool for this service, most of the time, go unanswered. The lack in response time has shown that interested prospects will usually lose interest in the conversation all together by the time someone gets back to then 48-72 hours later.

2. Using messenger advertising as a form of Direct Response for sales. Yes, sales can and do happen in messenger, but usually after some nurturing, educating, and engagement. This is where the sequence feature can play a huge role in assisting with sales.

3. Sounding like a robot! While the automation is considered a "chatbot" it doesn't mean that it has to sound like a bot or sound like a marketing ad. I've found that informal conversations, that sound like your best friend is asking what you are up to, how they can help you, and then later providing value on the backend, performs the best!

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Christine Gritmon

Christine Gritmon, said…

The biggest waste of a social media post - and one that I see all the damn time - is just putting an event flyer up as an image. The algorithms hate them and won't give them reach, and they're not optimal methods of catching the eye, stopping the scroll, or communicating information on social media. Break down the ELEMENTS of the flyer, and create an image carousel with captions - or, better yet, scrap the whole thing and tell everyone about your event via a quick video!

Another thing I see is people doing what they've heard they "should" be doing on social media - posting videos, sparking conversations, starting groups - and then dropping out, only to randomly comment a month later. If you're trying to inspire engagement, you have to stay engaged in that conversation.

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Yvonne Heimann

Yvonne Heimann, said…

When working with my clients on their business efficiency I see a trend of three areas where most waste their time and effort.

No Focus

Many have not taken the time to clarify who they are (or want to be) and who they serve how.

When we can’t answer those questions our social media efforts are like throwing spaghetti on the wall and see what sticks. This often leads to not so perfect business relationships and wasted time. Knowing who you are and who you serve allows you to make fast decisions: is that a great opportunity for me or just waste of my time? Can I serve this client well or should I refer them to someone else?

No Plan

How often have you had the moment of “I need to post something” and then you stress out because you have nothing planned. Then going down the spiral of writing a blogpost, coming up with a freebie, and the social media posts… just for the day to be over, nothing productive (or paid) has been finished and what you shared was...OK.

You need a plan!

No Optimized Use

Which goes right alongside the other two - when you don’t have a focus, you don’t have a plan and when you don’t have a plan you don’t use your content in it’s optimal way.

Building pillar content that’s promoted with a handful of social media posts and maybe even more personalized with a video allows you to showcase your awesomeness.

Make one video into 26 pieces of content and ensure optimal use of your time and resources.

Planning can be frightening and overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Start today by clarifying who you are and who you serve how.

Tomorrow you choose a topic each of the next three months and then decide on a few lessons for each topic. There is your content!

Yes, it really can be that easy IF you handle your business as if it is a client and schedule time for it in your day to day.

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Shep Hyken

Shep Hyken, said…

Many companies simply post content, and that's it. No interaction or responses to comments. And, worse is if the content they post is always promotional. While some overtly promotional posts are okay, remember that social media is... social. It's about two way communication, also known as engagement. Social media is not just an advertising platform. More than views or impressions, you want interaction. You want to post content that engages your customers and followers - that starts conversations. That's what the smart companies do.

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Michael Kawula

Michael Kawula, said…

Sometimes we need to slow down to speed up in life and definitely when it comes to business.

Too many of us jump on different marketing tactics because the ‘guru’s/experts’ say that we need to.

So like sheep, we follow the herd and unfortunately that doesn’t end pretty.

Before jumping on any Social site, you first need to define your strategy and if your on that site for business, where are your customers.

For instance, I see a ton of people jumping on Twitter Chats that aren’t relevant to their business and their customers aren’t in the chats either.

Is this the best use of time? Maybe, maybe not.

I see people posting on Instagram, but they’re using Hashtags that are super popular, but the hashtags aren’t relevant to their niche.

Is this the best use of time? Maybe, maybe not.

I see people posting videos on LinkedIn, because videos are hot, but they’re in the b-2-c space and not posting videos on Facebook.

Is this the best use of time? Maybe, maybe not.

There are no blanket solutions when it comes to marketing on Social.

My best advice would be find the site your customers are on the most, who are they interacting with the most, what hashtags are they searching on and what content are they looking for.

Create a strategy around that, buckle in, stay focused, ignore the noise and deliver 100% daily.

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David Leonhardt

David Leonhardt, said…

The biggest mistake I see is businesses seeing social media as one-size fits all. I think this is more out of laziness, trying to do social media in bulk so as to spend as few resources as possible, rather than misguided strategy.

What businesses often fail to understand is that their audience is different on different platforms, and that audience is in a different frame of mind. The classic example is that Twitter is a great place to post links and drive traffic to engage on one’s company website. It’s not so great a place to have a discussion. On the other hand, FaceBook and MeWe are great places to have discussions, but not so great for driving traffic. A single cookie cutter post won’t work across all platforms. It gets more complicated when considering different demographics among a company’s audience.

Expanding on that is the matter of images. Never mind that many companies use dull, non-engaging images to start with, one image also doesn’t fit all platforms. I use the word “fit” quite literally. In fact, even on Twitter, one size doesn’t fit all. A squarish image works well when attached to a post, whereas for a Twitter Card, the aspect ratio has to be pretty much 2:1 to work.

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Stephanie Liu

Stephanie Liu, said…

When it comes to social media, most businesses are wasting time and effort by blaming the algorithms. Instead of diving into their analytics to understand what type of content resonates with their audience, leveling up their knowledge on platform features, and shifting their strategies accordingly, they're looking for someone or something to blame.

Every social media platform is like it's own country, they each have their own set of rules and audience engagement varies across each platform. Taking one piece of content and blanketing it across all platforms and expecting the same results on each, is a one-size-fits-all approach that's set up for failure.

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Kelly Mirabella

Kelly Mirabella, said…

Everyone is looking for the new email but the mistake I see is they treat these mediums like email and ruin them. For example, Facebook Groups are not the new email and neither are chatbot messages.

  • Groups are community driven
  • Messenger is conversation driven
  • Email is broadcast driven

All different. All valuable

Marketers need to start looking at ways to use all these tools for their best use case to help build community, deepen the conversation and ultimately drive more business. But you can't run before you walk so to speak. Start with building trust. Start with earning the right to sell to your audience.

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Danny Monzon

Danny Monzon, said…

I see a lot of brands investing time and resources into automation, and I am all up for automation, but some brands are missing the mark as far as humanizing their messages in a way that resonates with other humans on the other side of the screen.

I'm a firm believer that you shouldn't automate anything that you're not willing to get good at doing manually. If you're too quick to adopt automation without listening to your audience and knowing the psychology of human behavior and how we make choices, you might be automating failure.

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Dorien Morin-van Dam

Dorien Morin-van Dam, said…

I see businesses do several things that waste time, effort (and money).

1) Businesses often 'post without purpose' instead of with intent.

This might mean a clear call-to-action is missing from a post, or traffic is driven to a website that is not user-friendly and does not serve the potential client the content they need, or does not convert to anything.

When there is no content strategy in place, businesses post without intent or real purpose.

2) Businesses create (too much) low quality content.

Instead, businesses should concentrate on creating fewer, but high quality pieces of content and repurpose and reshare this pieces on as many places as possible on social media. Quality of quantity any day! That includes blog articles, videos, graphics and photographs. Invest time and effort into high quality content will yield results faster.

3) Businesses hire someone cheap to do the work

'You get what you pay for' is true in any business; marketing is no exception. When a business hires someone cheap, or someone inexperienced who is cheap, it is pretty clear to spot online. Social media is the calling card of the business, and when a bad first impression is left, it's hard to erase that!

Less money spent on cheap labor in the long run won't save a business money, but cost money in lost revenue.

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Donna Moritz

Donna Moritz, said…

The biggest thing I see businesses getting wrong is trying to be everywhere and not really honing in on:

(a) where their audience is engaging online and

(b) where they like to hang out too (and where they like to create content).

If they can focus in on where these things intersect, and create consistent helpful content on THAT one main platform to start with, then they're on the right track. It could be a blog, a YouTube Channel, a podcast or a really focused strategy on Instagram. The key is knowing where their time is best spent. Get that right and you can branch out later or share that content to other channels that also meet the criteria. I could make some sort of analogy about tree trunks and branches here, but I don't need to, right?

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Steph Nissen

Steph Nissen, said…

The biggest issue I see in wasting time and effort is trying to do everything on every platform talking to everyone. You can't do it all! Most businesses have limited resources in either time, budget, or talent. Don't over exert yourself trying to be everything to everyone. Do one platform really well. To have an impact in a space like social media, you need to focus your efforts. Excel in a space, get your systems set, get a process and strategy moving, and then move to the next new space.

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Amanda Robinson

Amanda Robinson, said…

Facebook Ads.

Businesses are wasting dollars on boosting posts without having a strategy behind WHY they are boosting the post and WHAT they hope to accomplish with it.

That's not to say that boosting posts are bad. I personally call it "the training wheels of Facebook Ads", and it usually serves as the warm up that businesses owners need to get comfortable with Facebook Ads before diving into Ads Manager and getting more targeted with their ads.

If business owners invested in a Digital Marketing Professional to help them learn and navigate Facebook Ads to start, then they will start to see their efforts and marketing dollars being used more efficiently rather than going to waste.

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Ted Rubin

Ted Rubin, said…

Every employee is an individual with their own unique skills, outlook, and ability to solve problems. With the right training, an employee can learn to be a true ambassador for your brand, an asset to your company’s image, and a key reason that loyal customers keep coming back to your business and new customers consider the brand. However, many brands put their employees into a box, with a selection of scripted responses and not many tools for genuinely addressing the problems of their customers. For them, promoting the brand is an afterthought and customer service is a means to an end.

Not every brand operates that way, of course, and the smart ones empower their employees to be more than robots. Treating your retail employees more like Mary Kay reps(direct-sales reps in general) rather than cogs in the machine, is crucial for establishing a better customer experience.

Empowering employees is key to creating a better customer experience. At a brand like Mary Kay, each representative is like a mini-franchisee, which comes with both expectations and opportunities. Reps are expected to promote the larger brand, recruit new members, and organize events, all while building their own personal brand in the process. They are treated as individuals, which means that they can solve problems with efficient solutions, even if it means that sometimes they’ll mess up along the way. However, it’s their business —and they are invested in striving to make customers happy.

Your employees may not be franchisees, but the same rules apply. When the employee succeeds, the brand succeeds, too. An employee who is empowered to solve problems, be knowledgeable about the brand, and has a stake in positive outcomes will be much more resourceful when it comes to customer service, customer acquisition, and the lifetime value of a customer.

Learning about the brand’s products/services in great detail helps the employee do their job well and makes them more effective representatives of the brand when engaging customers. While empowering employees does involve a risk that occasionally they’ll do something you don’t like, you can streamline the process significantly by offering effective training. An employee who knows your brand, your values, and your preferred methods of doing business is in a much better position to provide your customers with what they need.

“Smart brands empower their employees to be more than robots.” Empower your employees and they will power your brand.

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Neal Schaffer

Neal Schaffer, said…

Businesses still see social media as an advertising, not collaboration or customer experience platform. The old ways of organic social in the early days of Facebook that most companies still cling to is simply wasting their time and won't lead to good business results. As social media becomes more and more pay to play, businesses are taking social media more and more to be strictly a paid media platform. It doesn't have to be this way.

The two things that businesses should change today should be:

1) Think visual. Social networks went visual a long time ago, but many businesses still rely on good old text content. You need to think Visual first, and not just photos but videos, livestreams, and stories if you truly want to be seen organically in today's social media. These same formats will give you a higher ROI on your Paid Social, too.

2) Collaborate with influencers. Any social media user, whether they are an employee, a fan, or those content creators that yield influence in social media that we often call ""influencers,"" can help you in many ways, from content creation and amplification to product ideas. Do less advertising in social media and more collaborating and you'll see new marketing opportunities unfold before your eyes...

It's time to leave social media marketing 1.0 behind and start implementing a 2.0 strategy.

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Martin Shervington

Martin Shervington, said…

Social Media is about having conversations, centred around content, which in turn builds relationships. The question for a business is this: are you having the right conversations with the right people about the right things? If you are not, then you are probably 'getting it wrong'.

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Amanda Webb

Amanda Webb, said…

I think the worst thing about bad practices is that they are viral.

Here's an example.

I'm sure you've seen those spammy sunglasses ads on Facebook, promising low cost branded shades, these usually appear in our feeds because someone is hacked. They will tag all the victim's friends in the post which means those people's friends will see it too.

You'd think that this was obvious spam, bad practice. Until you meet someone who wants to know how to tag people in a photo just like those sunglasses companies do.

But it's not just sunglasses. You have to be careful with tagging on any network. I know a lot of marketers who use tagging as a way to get retweets and shares. It happens on all networks.

For the marketer, it seems to work. They get shares, RTs and Likes. But why?

I think there are 3 phases to being tagged in these irrelevant posts:

1. Wonder

Why have I been tagged in this post? You look around for a reason but you just don't see it. You choose to ignore the post.

2. Guilt

Your notifications fill up with retweets and mentions because of the tag. Other people tagged in the post seem to be reacting positively. Am I a grumpy old cow for ignoring it?

You retweet to assuage your guilt

3. Retweeters remorse

Because you retweeted the last time the same marketer tags you again. All of a sudden you have become a content distribution tool for their business.

You regret your retweet and the cycle continues.

Why is this bad for marketers?

It's the opposite of building good relationships. Even if the people you tag respond positively the inner tension some of them will feel when tagged destroys relationships.

Is this bad practice? Hinting at a share and filling someone's notifications with irrelevant content is spammy but tagging isn't always wrong.

You can and should tag when someone is mentioned in your content and you want to let them know and give them credit.

But if it's just to get a share of your content. Stop it.

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Dennis Yu

Dennis Yu, said…

Being on social "just because" they want to check the box-- which leads to an obsession with tools, cheap vendors, shortcuts, and all sorts of unaccountable garbage.

Why wouldn't you hold social media to the same standards as your direct mail or PPC campaigns-- business objectives like leads and sales?

To do that, the businesses themselves must create stories via one minute videos - something you can't outsource to people who don't know your company, while living halfway around the planet.

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Mike Allton

Mike Allton (that’s me!), said…

There are two incredible mistakes that I see businesses making on social media consistently:

  1. Broadcasting
  2. Procrastinating

Broadcasting

Social Media consists of platforms designed to facilitate human connection. People use social networks to chat with and keep up with friends, colleagues, influencers and more.

People do not use social networks to be advertised to. Yes, the platforms themselves often employ advertising space just as television programming builds in commercials, but that’s expected. It’s part of the ‘price’ we pay to consume that content.

Imagine then if your favorite television show stopped acting like a sitcom and instead turned into a 30-minute infomercial.

Viewership and ratings would plummet.

Why, then, would a business use their Facebook Page and post daily infomercials and expect any different result?

Businesses should use social media to connect with and engage with fans. That’s not to say you can share product news or developments - of course you can and should - but let’s not make our social activity all about making a buck.

Procrastinating

This issue could just as easily be labelled, “Overwhelmed” as the results are the same. Whether we put off doing social media ‘right’ because we aren’t excited about it, or are simply too busy with other things, it doesn’t matter.

In the end, no matter how we got there, we have social profiles that are old and stagnant.

Facebook Pages that have been neglected for months. Twitter profiles that are never touched. Unanswered inboxes a mile deep.

To combat this, businesses need to do two things:

  1. Take the time and creativity to craft a strategy that appeals.
  2. Recognize where tools can aid productivity.

If you create a plan that excites you and interests your audience - if you know what you’re going to talk about on social media tomorrow and the day after and the day after that - it’s a lot easier.

And if you employ a tool like Agorapulse to help you batch and schedule content, and keep on top of those Inboxes, you’ll be far more efficient and effective.

web | twitter

Wrapping Up

What I always find interesting after doing one of these roundups is to compile the answers.

What were some of the common threads woven through this tapestry of social media faux pas? What was the top recommendation from all these experts?

Let’s take a look.

I read through every response and noted the main point of each (sometimes multiple points), but couched it from a positive reference. Instead of saying, “Don’t spread yourself too thin to too many networks” I said, “Focus On Fewer Platforms.” I found that it was easier to fit the points being made into similar groupings this way, and these positive statements simply sound better.

Here’s how they shook out:

9 Focus On Relationships

8 Set Strategic Goals, Not Vanity Metrics

8 Consider Networks Strategically

5 Craft Engaging Posts & Visuals

4 Focus On Fewer Platforms

2 Be Consistent

2 Allocate Sufficient Budget

2 Foster Employee Advocacy

2 Use Technology Effectively

1 Use Tools When Needed

1 Re-Share & Re-Purpose Content

1 Invest In Influencer Marketing

How To Use Social Media, according to the experts.

While all of the advice and ideas here were excellent, clearly one recommendation came up over and over: Focus On Relationships.

Businesses too often fail to see the importance of creating 1:1 engagement opportunities on social networks. They’re blinded by the attraction of large numbers and believe that individual relationships cannot scale.

But the truth of the matter is, relationships are all that matters. Without even the most superficial of relationships, people will not be willing to convey trust, not even to subscribe and certainly not to purchase.

If you took something of value from this compilation, won’t you please share it and follow all of the amazing people above who took the time to share their thoughts with us?

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Mike Allton, Content Marketing Practitioner

Mike is a Content Marketing Practitioner - a title he invented to represent his holistic approach to content marketing that leverages blogging, social media, email marketing and SEO to drive traffic, generate leads, and convert those leads into sales. He is an award-winning Blogger, Speaker, and Author at The Social Media Hat, and Brand Evangelist at Agorapulse (formerly CMO at SiteSell).

As Brand Evangelist, Mike works directly with other social media educators, influencers, agencies and brands to explore and develop profitable relationships with Agorapulse.