More of the Biggest Social Media Mistakes Brands Make

by Gregg on February 22, 2013

Saw this piece on recently about the five biggest social media mistakes brands make, which according to writer Jessica Malnik are:

  1. You think you are your audience.
  2. You assume there’s a direct correlation between the number of "likes" and sales.
  3. You think just being present is enough.
  4. You buy in to data overload.
  5. You keep social media in a silo.

Know what? I agree with all five, and Jessica’s rationale. But why limit it to five? I’ve got a few more that I’d like to suggest.

You think your followers can’t wait for all that content you blast out on a regular basis. Social media is based on engaging with the people that have chosen to follow your brand and, as I’ve argued elsewhere on this blog, actually connecting with them as well. Having a lot of content to draw on is fine, but at the end of day, is it helping your followers? Is it empowering them to solve their problems? Carefully using content as part of the engagement process to do just that will make your brand a trusted resource and a thought leader.

You assume you have to be on all social media channels. Or, you assume you have to be on just one. Authors like Marty Neumeier suggest that some brands have a following that’s almost tribal. Take that logic and apply it to social media. Let’s say your followers are a tribe – if so, where do they congregate? Social media monitoring can help you find that out so you can target them. Just because your competitor has a slick Facebook account doesn’t mean that your tribe is there as well – it may be on Twitter, Google+ or even Pinterest. But you won’t know that without some data.

You think anyone can effectively manage social media. If you think that, I’d direct your attention to R.L. Stollar’s blog, which gives a blow-by-blow account of Applebee’s social media disaster of earlier this month involving the server it fired for posting on Twitter an ill-advised note from a customer written on a receipt. Stollar’s post is titled "Applebee’s Overnight Social Media Meltdown: A Photo Essay," and he’s not kidding – he’s got screen captures of virtually every mistake made by whoever was manning Applebee’s Facebook account during that episode. (Publishing an apology at 2:53 a.m.? Please.) And I know Jessica hates data overload, but consider that tens of thousands of negative comments were made to Applebee’s Facebook account related to that incident. Stollar’s post got more than 1,000 comments. And now I’m talking about it here. The lesson: Get proof that whoever would manage your social media is competent.

Social media is no longer a sidelight (or an option) for a brand. Neither is a cavalier attitude about it, because a brand’s reputation is online 24/7.

(Image credit to

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