The world has changed dramatically in the last ten years with the social media revolution. The world is now a much more connected place than it ever has been. This transformation has turned many businesses on their heads as they scrabble to grasp the methods to succeed in this brave new world. Like the dash to the Wild West many years ago, there are many casualties along the way as companies know they need to be active on social media, but don’t know how.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

So here are my top ten mistakes that companies are making with social media that, if they didn’t, might make a big difference to their fortunes.

1. Using social media in the same way they used to use traditional advertising – The advent of social media has meant that people are bombarded with entertaining content all day, every day. Adverts just don’t stand out in this noisy world like they used to. But good quality entertainment does. So if you want to be seen, BE the entertainment, not the advertising that interrupts it. Give emotion, not promotion.

2. Not using social media to listen – One of the best things about the new communication channels is that companies can listen to not just what people are saying about their company, but about their competitors too. It’s amazing what you can find out with your ear to the ground.

3. Not thinking about their buyer personas – If you’re trying to connect with your potential customers, then it’s important to fully understand who they are. Interview your buyers and ask them their priorities, metrics for success, perceived barriers, buying process and decision criteria.

4. Thinking that because they’re on Facebook, they’ve caught up – While Facebook is still by far the most popular social media website, it’s also the most polluted and noisy. It’s also becoming expensive too. There are many other channels that are much clearer with much higher engagement rates than Facebook. Instagram for example, has 58 times more engagement than Facebook, and 120 times more than Twitter.

5. Believing their average customer is too old to be on social media – It might surprise you to know, that the fastest growing demographic on Twitter is the 40-60 year old bracket. Also, the older generation are heavily influenced by their offspring, so connecting with the children of your target audience can yield great results with the elders.

6. Getting the office intern to run the company’s social media – You wouldn’t ask them to hold a press conference for the company, so why are you letting them run the social media? The voice of the company should be spoken from the top. CEO and managing director buy-in and involvement is vital to the success of any social media campaign. Get them blogging!

7. Letting everyone in the company use the Facebook page as their notice board – The algorithm that decides how many of your fans see each post is called Edge Rank. There are a number of factors affecting your Edge Rank and the number of people who see your post organically currently sits between 3% and 15%. If you put out a good piece of content, it gets more likes and shares and Facebook sees this. It then will show more people your next post. But if you put up content that isn’t of interest to your fan base, then less people will see your next post. It then becomes a downward spiral. So by letting everyone say ‘can you just put this up on Facebook for me’, can massively damage your Edge Rank and ruin your chances for future posts being seen. Be strict about what you put on your page. Make every single post count.

8. Putting exactly the same content on every platform – Every platform has it’s own psychology behind it. People are on different platforms for different reasons. It’s vital to understand these subtle differences to ensure good results. Don’t put the same thing on Facebook as you do on Pinterest. It just won’t work as well.

9. Not having a strategy in place for both their social media and their content marketing – Without clear strategies for both your social activity and content, you’ll just be shooting in the dark. Your strategies should be aligned with your business goals and fit your budgets.

10. Not understanding how social media fits with the entire sales funnel – Probably the worst mistake of all. Either thinking that social media is now the only way to build awareness, generate leads and close sales – or – thinking that because the sales didn’t come directly from social media, that it isn’t working. There are several steps through your sales funnel, so understand which parts fit with social media and how they push people into the next step, and where you might need it again further down, or even out the other side after the sales and retaining customers.

I’m sure you might disagree with some or all of these! So please let me know your thoughts in the comments below. And if you liked this article, please share it on your social channels for others to read.

Thank you.