Failure isn’t “rocket surgery”.
Any person or organization can handle its social media posting without a huge commitment of time or money. It is quite likely that by doing it right, you, and your organization, will achieve at least some level of measurable success. And while success is never guaranteed, there are several different ways to guarantee failure. Here are some of my favourites.
- Post nothing but link spam:
This is probably the number one rookie mistake. You’ve taken the plunge into social media marketing, you’ve chose a realistic and measurable goal (driving more traffic to your website), and you begin your tweeting and posting. Three times a day, five days a week, you post something along the lines of.
“we have the prices in Toronto for silver plated widgets! Click Here to buy some.”
Ask yourself how often you’ve clicked on a link like that? Probably not too often. How much value does a post like that add? Is there anything worthwhile to be learned from it?There is a saying from the early days of the Web that’s as relevant today as it was twenty years ago, “content is king“. Every post should provide something of interest or value to your stakeholders, even the posts with links back to your blog or website.
- Spread yourself too thin: If you are a full-time social media professional working for a larger organization, this may not apply to the same extent, though it still matters. If you are a self-employed professional, or working for small volunteer-staffed organization, it is all too easy to sign up for accounts on every social media platform that you happen upon, in the hope that by being everywhere, you can get your message across to everyone. Unless you actually are a social media professional, you’re soon going to learn that if you post everything to every platform, you’re not going to have enough time to actually accomplish the core tasks of your organization. Or, you’ll spend so much time working on promoting your work, that you don’t have time to actually do any work! Or (most likely) you’ll just give up completely on social media and just walk away. Choose a couple platforms that are right for you and/or your organization, and work them consistently.
- Choose the wrong platform: Not every platform, not even all of the “big three” (Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn) may be right for your project, business, or organization. Eventually most organizations are going to bump up against their limits of time and monetary resources. Like any other important project, it’s important to concentrate your social media efforts where they are most likely to yield your desired results. A retail business selling gourmet chocolate products will probably get great bang for their marketing efforts by investing time and money in its Facebook Page. LinkedIn would likely be much less effective for a retail business like this. On the other hand, the exact opposite would be the case for a professional who offers business to business services. In a previous post I offered some helpful advice on choosing the best platforms.
- Become too busy, too lazy, or too complacent to post:
.…And of course the absolute best way to fail at social media marketing is to not do any.Back when I was a teenager just starting to go out to restaurants and bars on my own, my buddies and I couldn’t figure out why our waiter would not return to our table after we bought our first round. I finally screwed up enough courage to go up to him and ask. This was his response:”a horse can’t do no work if you don’t give it no hay”
Simple, and to the point. If you don’t put in any effort, you will not reap any rewards. By avoiding to the three previous failure “tips”, it becomes much easier to avoid this last one too. All it takes is a few minutes, once or twice a day, and the self-discipline and task prioritization needed to make those few minutes available every day.