Ten tops reasons why businesses fail with social media

I know social media is all the rage now and everybody wants to be using Twitter and Facebook.
Still, most businesses never get anything out of social media. After all, does social media really work or not?
It does, and can make a huge difference in any business. The reasons most businesses fail in their social media efforts are many and here I’ll outline a few reasons:

1. Fail to set goals and expectations. Before you start using social media, you need to outline what your goals are and what is the expected end result. What do you want to get out of it? More sales, more speaking gigs, some branding, a new channel of revenue? There are a lot of people that start using tools like Twitter just because they heard they should do it, but with no clear reason to why they should.
2. Fail to have a strategy. After you have set your goals, you need a game plan. You need to have a map of which tools you are going to use and how. Going out, create an account everywhere without a plan will not bring you more business and will take away a lot of time from your day.
3. Fail to understand that strategy and tactics are two different things. When you decide to use Facebook, Twitter and online videos, you are deciding which tools you will use. This is tactic. Deciding how you are going to use them, with a purpose and a plan is strategy.
4. Fail to focus. Using social media can be entertaining and very distracting. Easy to socialize and forget why you are doing it. If you are using social media for business, your actions need to be aligned with the goal.
5. Getting drunk with social media. I know people that spend hours and hours every day inside social media environments. They fool themselves thinking they will get better results. Be really careful with this one. If you had a bar, would it be wise to drink all day long? Selling drinks could be a good business, drinking the product all day long, not so much.
6. Fail to understand that social media is just one marketing effort. Some people think that because it is free to use social media that alone will bring all the business they need. My friend, if you don’t mix different marketing approaches, you don’t invest any money in marketing and don’t have a very good follow-up strategy, you will not succeed in business. No matter how popular you might be on Facebook.
7. Fail to understand that social media is not free. Cheap, yes, free no. Every time we speak for a group we hear people saying they want to use social media because it is free. It is not. There is the time you have to spend planning and applying, the creation of content, there is the commitment you need to have with the tools and the people you create a relationship with.
8. Expect fast results. Social media is not advertising. You don’t put a message out there and get sales the next day. It is a process and you will see results after the level of trust increases.
9. See some results and nominate yourself a social media expert. You don’t want to be one more in the crowd. Just because you saw results in one campaign doesn’t mean you can duplicate that for other businesses. Besides, you will lose your focus.
10. Fail to track results. In every marketing action you do, you should have a system to track results. Can be something simple as looking at your analytics (not that simple!). Today, you need to know which half of your efforts is bringing business and then, do more of it. You cannot afford to guess.

As you can see, there is a lot more than just being able to open a free account somewhere. There is a lot of thinking first, then some learning, acquiring some skills, maybe some talking with people that really understand this environment, not just a theorist and then, some focused actions.
Businesses that avoid these traps can report amazing results. You can see amazing results too.

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