How NOT to Succeed at Social Media

Turtle on its backFirst off, I’m not an expert on Social Media. I have a lot of experience, have observed a lot, and keep tabs on the ‘best practices’. I have never run a corporate social media strategy or spent too much time analyzing how different strategies impact my effectiveness, though I have consulted on both.

I simply share what I want to share and talk to people. That is the point after all, isn’t it?

Even so, I can see when someone is doing it wrong, even without a critical article being written to clue me in to the problem. Recently I have been watching a company try to get their social media engine running and they are flailing.


I want to share the what they are doing poorly.

No Worthwhile Content

Every tweet I see is sharing something, but nothing interesting. A press release announcing what is really normal business operations isn’t that interesting. Telling me about an upcoming event is nice, but why should I care?

Why not create Content around each of those announcements. Talk about what makes it special and unique. Interview people and have them share why people should be excited by the news.

As for an event, start telling people what they can learn there. What problems will they learn to address? Get testimonials from attendees of similar events. Share that information. Make people care about the event.

If some of these pieces of Content told a good story, I might share it. As it is, I have not.

The Echo Chamber

Another mistake I see is having people tweet the news, retweet colleagues who have shared the news, and not share anything else. No engagement. No personality. No reason for anyone to care about their opinion. When people do that on Twitter, do you know what happens?

They are tuned out.

If you are just going to share things about the company you work for, using tweets that were written as ‘example’ tweets, then don’t bother. That is what a corporate account does all day, everyday. Having 5-10 people tweeting the same tweets over the same 24 hour window kills authenticity.

As for the Pictures

Actually, there aren’t any being used. That hurts engagement. On the bright side, at least they aren’t using bad ones.

It Takes Time

A successful Social Media strategy takes time to execute. Not everyone can have that viral piece of Content that launches their brand awareness into the stratosphere. It takes work.A chandelier

If I was running that strategy, I’d do the following.

  • Identify employees who are either active on Twitter or are willing to take the time to be more active.
  • Give them a list of 30-50 accounts that they should follow as both examples and as people in the industry who engage others.
  • Tell them to go forth and spend 10 minutes, 3-4 times a day, on Twitter engaging with people in their feed.

Then, while they are out there turning themselves into real people in the world of Social Media, I’d create a Content Marketing strategy and quickly start creating Content. Then, timed with the release of Content:

  • Ask people to share links to the new Content. The links should be built in such a way to track the effectiveness of the tweets. Having them all tweet the same link won’t allow for good metrics.
  • Do NOT provide sample tweets for people. Make them read the Content and create their own 140 character tweet. If they don’t understand it, they can’t engage around it.
  • Instruct them to NOT retweet every related tweet from their colleagues. If one is well written, no problem. Just don’t tweet them all the time.
  • Have them tweet it more than once with different tweets each time. They should target different times of the day.

Just some highlights. There would need to be more support and education about basic ‘dos and don’ts’ taught to the staff. A lot depends on the organizations goals around the use of Social Media. Details also vary between the various social media platforms.

If your organization is trying to figure things out, research on the web. Ask questions. Consider bringing in someone like myself to help get you started. When you start really making progress and want to take it to the next level, then shell out big money for the experts.

Until then, just be yourself at all times out there. We are watching. We will know.