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Social Media 14 Risk Factors to Avoid


I recently gave a presentation at Tech Summit that was very well received. Here is a link to my slides for this presentation. Additionally, I recorded a podcast to share it with you. Below are the highlights with more detail covered in the podcast.

Social Media is Mainstream

Businesses are jumping in with both feet. But, there are risks in social media marketing.  You should know what they are and how to minimize these risks. Here is a list of 14 of the top risks.

No Strategy

When a business says let’s just dive into social with no objective and no strategy, that’s a big risk. You can expect limited or poor results, if any.

Wrong Strategy

If sales improvement is your goal but you have product problems, maybe your strategy should be improved customer service. Align your social media strategy with the current circumstances in your business.

Lack of Executive Support

If you want to achieve any social media success, executive support is a must. Otherwise, it will be a skunkworks project. Some companies can pull this off, but not many.

Wrong Staff

The staff must embrace social media. If they are resistant it could undermine your social media strategy. Assess if the current staff has what it take to engage in social media.

Not Measuring Progress

It’s important to measure progress.  For example, measure customer successes, downloads, comments, reach, subscriptions, etc. These can be “first downs” along the way to scoring touch downs (results).

Measuring the Wrong Stuff

What and how you measure depends on your objectives. If improving customer service is an objective, then measuring growth of fans on Facebook is only important if they are existing customers. Set measurement strategies that align with your objectives.

Not Using Available Tools

Measuring progress and results can be achieved through many available tools. Some are free and some are fee based. Here is a partial list of tools to measure your social media progress and results:  HubSpot, Website Grader, Twitter Grader, Facebook Grader, Facebook Insights, Unilyzer, Raven, Hootsuite, SocialOomph, Manage Flitter, Google Alerts, Google Trends, BrandMentions.

Unwilling to Experiment

You must be willing to try different ideas. That’s why executive support is so important. If you don’t experiment, you won’t know what is effective.

Expecting Overnight Results

Results vary according to a business, industry, people, and circumstances. Set expectations with executive management that results usually don’t happen overnight.

Trying to Maintain Control

We have little or no control over of our markets. We can influence our markets, but we can’t control them. You can build your reputation but you can’t control it in social media. I offer two examples in the podcast of brands who tried and failed to control their community.

Employee Abuse

All employers have this risk, but large employers have more risk just based on the numbers. In the podcast I describe the experience of employee abuse at Domino’s Pizza in 2009.

Responding Slowly to the Community

The social web is 24/7/365. We now live in a world where we must respond in minutes, not hours, days or weeks. In the podcast I provide an example of how Comcast has done this successfully.

Shorting the Effort

Not applying enough resources. If a new social media strategy is added to someone’s job, in the beginning it may make sense but as it evolves you’ll need to allocate more resources to be successful. Don’t under resource your social media marketing plan.

Underestimating the Influence of One Person

United Airlines learned this lesson the hard way. Band leader Dave Caroll wrote a song and produced a video viewed over 8 million times on YouTube when United Airlines ignored his complaints due to mishandled luggage which broke his guitar.

These are 14 of the most common risks in social media marketing. The way to minimize your risk is to have a well defined strategy, get executive support, allocate resources, get the right people, be responsive in a timely manner, be willing to experiment and use tools to measure progress and results.

Do you have any other risk factors to add to this list?

BTW, I cover this topic in my book, Marketing 2.0. Have you picked up your copy?

14 thoughts on “Social Media 14 Risk Factors to Avoid”

  1. Bernie;
    Thanks for a great list of things to think about! I'm happy to see that someone else gets the "Importance of Strategy" but as so many people leap in without first planning. Big Mistake.

    I've found that the best results come from not only designing a strategy up front, but in thinking about Social Media Marketing, or SMM, as a Process. A formal process, that is.

    The best way to conduct the SMM campaign is thus according to a rigorous Process Specification which dictates what to, how to do it, and when to do it, and perhaps most importantly, what to do about measuring your effort. This is the path of Continuous Process Improvements and its followed by using the Mantra: Think, Plan, Do, Measure and Repeat.

    Sounds very theoretical, doesn't it? To give our clients an example, we wrote a series of posts which describe the approach in detail, specifically in how it relates to SMM. There are 4 posts in the series:

    1) How to Run a SMM Campaign. This is the formal process description on how to run your campaigns. And because it calls for one to measure ROI as one of the metrics to use in monitoring your campaign, the other 3 posts cover:
    2) How to measure the ROI of your website as a whole
    3) The 10 best free ROI calculators on the Web and
    4), How to build your own ROI calculator so that you can measure the ROI of your SMM.

    1. FindandConvert

      I love processes. Too many businesses do not apply processes to social media thinking it's all art with no science. All marketing has some element of science through good processes and metrics. Your blog posts are awesome. Thanks for sharing them here.

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