17 May 2010

5 Pitfalls of Social Media and How to Avoid Them

Before you venture aimlessly into then world of Social Media, you'd ask yourself: "Have you thought it through?" Take a look at these 5 pitfalls and learn how to avoid the most common mistakes. If you want to know how to become a Social Media Champion you can read my earlier blogpost.

1. Interact with your vistors
The secret is in the two words: Social Media. Social meaning a kind of relationship or involvement and media meaning communication. So you have to interact with your users, members or visitors. You can't leave your page empty, You have to update it regularly and update it with content the visitors can use. Don't spam them. If you do they will disappear. Before you begin make sure you know: What you want? If you just want to be with hype, you probably will fail. Make a Social Media Strategy.

2. Be honest
You can't fool your visitors. If you commit yourselves to a dialogue you have to go all the way. You can't delete entries on your blog, Facebook page etc. You are in a dialogue and you don't censor in a dialogue. But when people complain or argue on your page - at lease you know. If they complained elsewhere you wouldn't know, hence you wouldn't be able to answer. Use that opportunity. You should also write about things you rather not write about eg write on Facebook if your website is down. Then you show you are honest and people respect that. Just like you respect your friends because they are honest.

3. Let everybody work with Social Media
The use of social media should be a common mindset in the entire organization. Let customer service answer questions adressed to them, the online department answer question about the website, HR department tell about vacancies and so on. Don't let the communications department be the only one to make entries. They don't always know what to answer - and people sense that. Naturally the entries should reflect your brand.

4. Keep doing what you do

Keep updating your website, keep your search marketing on track and distribute your newsletter. Who knows how long Facebook, Twitter etc. are going to be there. Remember a few years back where the corporate blog was the answer to everything. Today, this isn't the case. Use the specific media which can be used to obtain a particular goal or purpose. And be aware that different people prefer different media.

5. Measure the effort
Be sure to set a goal. How many members/fans do you want to have? How many referres from Facebook or Twitter do you want to have? How big a drop in calls to customer service do you want? It isn't easy to measure it but it can be done. So do it.

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