Five Social Media Marketing Mistakes

A few days ago, Mashable had a good post about the five marketing mistakes made on Facebook, which inspired me to create a list on the five social media mistakes overall.

1. Unrealistic expectations. Even though there may be less hype about social media, many companies still believe it is a silver bullet or magical solution that will generate fantastic results in a short period of time – be it more sales, better customer service, more Web site traffic or more buzz. It often means companies are disappointed when they don’t get instant gratification from their social media efforts. As a result, they lose their enthusiasm for social media or abandon it altogether.

2. Not recognizing there is a lot of grunt work involved. Social media just doesn’t happen. It requires an awful lot of work on a day in, day out basis. After the strategic plan has been created, the real work starts to happen when the tactical plan is executed. It requires someone to invest the hours to create content, engage with consumers, build a community and establish a vibrant presence.

3. Adopting a shot gun approach in which multiple social media services are launched at the same time based on the idea more is better. What usually happens is companies spread themselves too thin and, as a result, their efforts are, at best, mediocre. Instead, they should focus on doing less but doing it as well as possible. Only after establishing some traction should additional social media services be considered.

4. Not listening. In the scheme of things, listening is one of the most important things a company can do on social media. As much as creating content and engagement are crucial, listening is a key element because it offers companies insight, information and intelligence to effectively target their social media efforts. Too many companies are so intent on talking that they forget about listening, or make it a secondary consideration.

5. Creating social media as a standalone or silo-ed activity. Social media can do a lot of wonderful things but it can’t succeed or even establish a solid foothold without support from other parts of the organization. Many companies, however, think social media is so magical it doesn’t need any support to thrive. Some of the common mistakes include not highlighting their social media services prominently on the Web site, or not mentioning social media within sales or marketing collateral. In an ideal world, social media supports a company’s other activities, AND a company’s other activities support social media.

Any other common mistakes that companies make? Leave a comment to let us know.