We love digital

Call 0845 485 1219

We love digital - Call and say hello - Mon - Fri, 9am - 5pm

3 Common Social Media Mistakes (And How To Avoid Them)

Laura Phillips

by Laura Phillips on 17th April 2013

Video Transcript

Hi there. Today I just want to talk briefly about three common mistakes in social media strategy. Lots of companies these days have social media profiles in one form or another, be it Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and many, many more. They don’t necessarily know why they’ve got it. They’ve just been told they probably should.

So the first place to start is by actually having a strategy. What is it that you’re trying to achieve? What are you using your social media for? So have a proper think about that. You’re probably using it to get more conversions. Everybody wants more business from any source possible, and social media can be a really big way of achieving that, if done correctly. You may also be raising brand awareness. You may have a new canteen with the best penne a la arrabiata in the town, but nobody knows about it. Social media is a great way to spread the word and get people into your business.

You may also be using it for customer service. Social media is used more and more widely now as a great way to get in touch with your customers and have them get in touch with you, as well. If they have a problem, if there’s any issues with a delivery they’ve had, anything like that, they can contact you quickly and easily and in real time. Obviously, everybody’s really busy and it’s quite a popular method.

The second thing is who is going to be in charge of it? This is another place where many companies seem to fall down, whereby they tag social media onto somebody else’s job, who’s already got a full day’s work. It doesn’t really work, especially if you’re going down the customer service channel. If you’re looking for conversions, people are going to want to be able to interact with you, to deal with you in relatively real time, certainly within 24 hours. So if you give social media as a task to somebody who already has a full workload, chances are they are not going to get back to people within 24 hours.

You also need to make sure it’s the right person. Don’t get the intern to do it because they’re 19 and they have a social media profile. It doesn’t mean they know how to use social media. You need someone with a customer service background if you’re going to use it for that, who knows how to speak to people, who knows how to handle it, and also hopefully should have had a bit of training on how to handle it when problems come up.

The third thing is how will users find it? If you have a social media profile, you need to tell people that you have a social media profile. I would advise putting buttons on every page of your website with links. You want to be emailing your clients, you want to be doing offline promotion, anything you can to make people aware that you are present on Facebook, on Twitter, [that] you are contactable. This is where they’ll find the office. This is where they can get in touch with you. Without doing that you’re going to have a really small base, and it’s not going to achieve its full potential.

The second thing is content. Companies that don’t yet know why they have social media tend to do a lot of this, just saying, “Like my page. Like my page. Like my page.” But they’re not actually giving anybody any reason to. What you end up with there is a lot of Likes, but nothing else. People aren’t going to engage with you. They’re probably not your target audience. They might by your friends, your family, people who kind of like the thing that you’re doing, but probably are never going to use you. Things like that.

So just going, “Like me. Like me. Like me,” isn’t going to get you anywhere, and it’s not really good credibility for your company either. You need to provide quality content. Give people things to read, things to share, things they’re going to want to talk to their friends about, things that they’re going to want to buy, services they’re going to want to use. Keep them excited. If you just keep going, “I’ve got this product for sale. I’ve got this product for sale,” nobody’s really going to be listening to you anymore.

It can help, again, with the “me, me, me,” thing. Same thing. Don’t just talk about yourself all the time. If you go to a broader perspective, share stories that are about the industry that you’re in. Engage with you clients. Maybe something interesting has happened with them that’s related to your business. Share that. Engage people. Don’t just give them the same boring thing, because they will stop listening.

The third thing is metrics. Again people seem to think, for example, with Twitter, it’s all about how many followers you’ve got, or with Facebook, it’s about how many Likes you’ve got. It’s really not. If they’re not targeted, it doesn’t matter if you’ve got a hundred Likes or a thousand Likes. If 900 of them are never going to use your service, then there’s no real point in having them. It’s what we call a vanity metric. You feel better because you’ve got a big number, but it needs to be more targeted than that. You need to aim at people who are going to use your business.

What you should measure is, firstly, things like engagement. So you’ve got re-tweets, shares on Facebook, comments on Facebook. People are engaging with you in any form of social media, sharing your Google+ stuff. Anything like that can be a real help, and it gets the word out there.

What that does is it helps to increase reach, which is the next thing you probably want to measure. How many people are you reaching through social media? Is it growing? Is it shrinking? Is something wrong? Obviously, you want to keep growing as much as possible, but there will be times that it might get stagnant. But ideally you want to be pushing to grow the business all the time, grow the reach, grow awareness all the time.

Do your goals match your strategy? This is the other thing. By the time that you get down to this level, a lot of people have forgotten what they started off with. So it’s always a good idea to go back to your first plan and make sure that you are measuring the relevant metrics, compared to what you started off wanting to. You need to be measuring directly attributable conversions, directly attributable traffic. Anything else, depending on what business you’re in, it’s going to vary, but make sure that your goals match your original strategy.

Now a lot of the social media stuff, you can find in Google Analytics. If you look down the left-hand side, you will see a social profile area, where you can have a look, and it will tell you how many people converted and how much traffic you had via Google+, Twitter, Facebook, and all those sorts of things. So it’s quite easy to measure. I would definitely suggest you keep an eye on that once a month or so at least, the very least, and keep updated, and see if things start to go wrong, maybe start looking at why.

To put this all together. Plan a strategy. Give it to a responsible person. Create good quality content. Make it shareable, make it likable. Make sure your timing is right. Don’t tweet every day. Don’t tweet once a month. Sort out your metrics and keep an eye on them. That will help you pinpoint problems. And all together, you should have a relatively good social media strategy.

I hope that helps . If you want to find out any more, you can check out the blog, or you can have a look at the Twitter profiles at the end of this video.

Laura Phillips

Laura Phillips

Laura has experience of SEO, PPC and Social Media both in-house and within an agency environment. Having worked across a variety of industries from travel to law, and retail to education she is always looking for new and innovative ways to improve the search and social visibility of her clients across various platforms.

down arrow

Your Free Whitepaper

Twitter For Business Guide (2nd Edition)

Twitter For Business Guide (2nd Edition)

Download this whitepaper now and get a new one every month!


  • Darin 17th April 2013

    Some good advice there! I’m certainly guilty of the whole vanity metric thing. Need to put more effort in to my usage of social media and get out of that complacent mindset of “quantity over quality”.

    Reply to this comment

    • Laura Phillips

      Laura Phillips 17th April 2013

      Hi Darin,

      Thanks for your comment, it’s an easy trap to fall into! Just keep in mind what you are trying to achieve and those vanity metrics won’t seem very important any more.

      Reply to this comment

  • Keith 26th April 2013

    Yes, interesting how it works well for some & not so swell for others. The office supply company I do webby stuff for, their staff does/will not participate at all so its all up to me but I don’t have connections with their customers & no engagement.

    For my own friends/groups I do make connections & engagement and I can see how there is the potential for better marketing (I teach photography/photoshop).

    Yes, chasing after Likes doesn’t mean engagement

    Reply to this comment

  • Laura Phillips

    Laura Phillips 29th April 2013

    Hi Keith

    Thanks for your comment. It is really variable, but very few companies can get away with a bad social media profile that still works for them.

    Reply to this comment

  • Megan 29th April 2014

    Some really great advice about social media and how it can benefit your company! Thank you!

    I really didn’t appreciate your comment about not getting your “intern do it’. Interns are vital to the industry and are encouraged to learn and create platforms that are accessible and likeable. I feel that this is in fact very disrespectful!

    Reply to this comment

  • Laura Phillips

    Laura Phillips 29th April 2014

    Hi Megan

    Thanks for your comment. I think you may have misunderstood my meaning. I couldn’t agree more, interns are vital and very often go on to do amazing things, I have every respect for them.

    My point was that the position of social media manager will usually require someone with a fair amount of experience in handling complex customer service issues, which can easily spill out publicly in social media and cause a storm where it could have been avoided. It would be unusual for an intern to have a number of years in dealing sensitive customer service issues.

    Equally I feel that companies that do not understand social media fully can make assumptions such as ‘oh our intern uses Facebook personally so they must be the person for the job’ when of course there is an awful lot more to it than that, and that they are being chosen because they are younger and more ‘in touch’ with modern tech. Just because someone has a Facebook profile does not mean they are cut out to handle the issues above in public view.

    So to reiterate, my comment means no disrespect to interns at all, it is about hiring the right person for the job based on skill and experience, be they an intern or otherwise.

    Reply to this comment

Subscribe To Koozai TV