Poor use of social media by businesses

by Yeevon Ooi on 31 May 2011

It’s nothing new, if anything, it now seems compulsory for businesses to have it – yes, I’m talking about social media integration. It’s hard to blame businesses when everything they see on the web, on printed ads, on newspapers, television programmes, magazines and other means of media seem to be donning a series of new icons – the social media superheroes. The likes of Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Flickr etc. are making their way into every business it seems.

Blinded by this excitement and anxious about being left behind, I think some businesses have overlooked the fact that social media integration is more than creating a new Facebook account or inserting an icon on a website. I have compiled a few of my own observations of social media areas to watch out for:

1. Unnecessary integration of a social media element

I recently came across the website of an international creative agency and it’s obvious the content was excellent material written by professionals. However, the fact that only 2 people ‘liked’ the article reduced its credibility almost instantly. In fact, having an indication of 2 people liking something can do far more damage compared to having no indication at all.

2. Lack of monitoring – poorly maintained social networking sites

A poorly maintained corporate YouTube account or Facebook account gives a slightly negative impression of the business. It’s as simple as walking into a garden – well kept flower beds and mowed lawns indicate a flourishing garden; weed and dried leaves everywhere indicate a lack of resources or even worse, a lack of care.

3. Poor understanding of your customers

Some businesses might think that as long as I have a row of ‘tweet this’, ‘like this’, or a Facebook group component to my business proposition I’m all set for success. Well, this is not quite the case. It’s important to think about the customer base and align your social media strategy with them. For example, if most of your customers are not Internet-savvy and don’t own iPhones, it’s probably wise not to create a business proposition around social media or an iPhone app. Likewise, if your business proposition is created purely based on social media and networking, make sure you understand how your customers will most likely interact with your brand so that you target the right channels.

So, how should we move forward with social media? All the points above boil down to having a clear social media strategy. As mentioned earlier, following the proliferation of social media elements in ourbrand experiences, businesses don’t want to be left out from what feels like a ‘social media race’. Yes we are social beings, but for a reason. We have goals and intentions for our actions and behaviour, and understanding this is the key to creating an appropriate social media strategy for your business. Some questions to ask include: ‘What are the goals for incorporating social media into my offerings?’; ‘Who will be in charge of monitoring it?’; ‘How do I measure the success of social media integration?’

In a nutshell, it’s less about simply adding a page or button and more about understanding and creating.

Let us know how you decide what aspects of social media to include in your marketing plan in the comments below!

Need more ideas, help or guidance? We have a social media training course which is perfect for the social media beginner.

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