It’s medicine with a spoonful of sugar day at Media Bullseye–time to take a look at some of the ways companies inadvertently undermine their own social media programs. All are fairly easy mistakes to correct–or better yet, not make in the first place.
- Set It and Forget It. Despite all the tools designed to help users of social media automate certain tasks, you can’t just set and forget a social media program. It’s great to use tools to help post a note to Twitter when a blog post goes up, but if you’re just using Twitter as a chance to broadcast, you’re missing opportunities to engage with readers. Same with the blog post or Facebook status–just throwing something up there and never responding isn’t very social. It’s actually kind of anti-social.
- Fail to convey the objectives of a social program to the rest of the company. Sure, you’re experimenting with social, or maybe the use of social tools is confined to one area of the company, like marketing. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make the objectives of the program clear to others. Once you have a Twitter handle designated for the company, you might get questions and feedback from a variety of angles–job inquiries, customer service questions, and who knows what else. If you haven’t looped in others in the company to your objectives, you might be damaging your efforts by not responding to those inquiries or responding inadequately.
- Forget to train bricks-and-mortar managers on how to respond. If the posts on Consumerist are any indication, this is a more common problem than one would expect. If you are going to set up a Twitter handle for customer service questions that direct customers to stores, it’s a good idea to make sure the store managers know this, and know how to respond. If you skip this step, you could be creating bigger social problems down the line. You know, like a post complaining about your process on Consumerist…
- Under-fund or under-staff the effort. Thankfully, we’ve stopped seeing the “social media is FREE!” proclamations that dotted the digital landscape a few years ago. It’s still important to keep in mind that social moves pretty quickly, and companies need to respond in a timely manner. Since there’s no formula for “timely manner,” each company will need to assess what this is on its own–just make sure that coverage and monitoring is logical for your business–and fair to your employees.
- Forget that just about everything could potentially make its way online. This is just a good thing to always keep in mind. We can all get lax when sending emails, so consider this a PSA. Don’t send emails in anger or haste. From accidentally hitting “reply-all” to engaging in a terse email exchange, what you send could end up online. Be careful out there.
- Do something that violates the ethos of social. This will take time to “get,” which is why it’s a good idea to listen and watch social channels first, before jumping in. We’ve seen companies get in trouble for deleting comments on Facebook pages–but we’ve also seen companies get in hot water for leaving offensive comments up. Take some time to learn the mores of the online channels in which you will be participating. It doesn’t guarantee you won’t make mistakes, but it could make your mistakes less painful ones.