1. Automate it by using RSS feeds A lot of companies seem to doing this and completely going against the rules of social media. It is not about machines any more, social media is all about re-humanising brands. It has to reflect your brand personality and a computer just cannot do this by itself.  

2. Talk at the people not with themGo ahead shout at me, do what have you always been doing and I will carry on dong what I have always been doing, IGNORE YOU. Social Media is not about broadcasting and it is not about pushing sales and marketing at me, it is about the art of conversation. Listen first and then talk with me,  engage me and I will pay attention.

3. Give up after one weekFantastic you have decided to join the wonderful new world of social media and you have just created a Facebook page. You have managed to get my attention with your efforts and engaged me. I am impressed, you got my attention and I now ‘like’ you on Facebook. I come back a week later and there is no activity on your page, I come again two weeks later and still nothing and so I decide to ‘unlike’ you. You have just lost a customer. One of a potential many. You must be committed to your social media activities, you must be prepared to spend time and effort on it.

4. Get scared by all the new tools and networks – Most of the networks are simple to use, Twitter for example is easy to use and once you get the hang of it, you will begin to enjoy it. Tools are always going be tools, you can learn how to utilise them all over time, however it is not about what tools and networks you use but ultimately HOW you use them.

Social Media Marketing5. Get a intern to do itHire a intern because they are young and are already on Facebook and Twitter. No! Lets not. Your social media should reflect the beliefs and values of the company. An intern cannot learn these in a matter of weeks. Nor should your social media activities be the responsibility of any one individual or department. All the various departments; Sales, Marketing, Customer Service, HR should contribute to your social media activities.

6. Isolate it from your overall marketingSocial media should not be isolated from your overall marketing efforts. Your social media objectives need to be in line with your overall marketing objectives. Do not see it is as separate but rather integrate it into your existing marketing both online and offline.

7. Join every single social media networkAnother new shiny social network has been launched, lets join that one too. No don’t, You don’t need to and should not join every single social media network, the obvious point is the ridiculous amount of time and resources spent in managing all of these, but your customers may not even be on those networks. You need to first establish what networks your customers are on and then participate on those.

8. Expect short term gainsSocial media marketing is not an avenue to ‘get rich quick’. It takes time and commitment to see any ROI (return on investment). Don’t expect to see immediate results and do not be put off by this, stick to a well thought out plan and your efforts will pay off.

9. Become obsessed with followers, fans and connectionsBeing successful in social media it is not about the number of followers you have on Twitter or the amount of fans you have on Facebook. You could have 1000 on each but if they are not relevant to your target audience then they are meaningless. You need to make sure you concentrate on attracting relevant followers and fans by being in the relevant social networks and being relevant to your target audience.

10. Treat all the social networks as one – Do not duplicate the same content across all the different social networks you participate on. All networks have different ways of engaging with its members and different members. They need to be planned individually to be most effective.

I am learning as I go, therefore I always welcome comments and feedback. Please comment below.

What other ways are business failing at social media? and how can they not?

Sandeep Vadgama

Sandeep Vadgama


Editor of Fourth Source and freelance SEO/Digital Marketer based in London.