Five Social Media Hang Ups to Avoid Like the Plague in 2012

There is no better time to take a hard look at your social media program than the beginning of the New Year.  Chances are you’ve already turned in your 2012 plans and your 2011 year in review, which gives you this nice little break to really reflect on your program or even begin to build one if you’re just beginning to activate online customers through social media.

This may not be your first rodeo and your program may be running smoothly, but as your community grows larger, so will your likelihood to fall into social media traps that will slow down your ability to activate your community successfully. So, here are five social media hang ups to avoid lime the plague in 2012:

1. Not Planning for Success

This tends to happen during or shortly after big campaigns that are garnering large numbers of new followers, readers, etc.  When your numbers jump from 100 to 10,000 in a short amount of time, your ability to scale along with the growth becomes more complicated, same goes with 10,000 to 100,000.

While everyone is running around giving each other high fives for a job well done, the realities of larger numbers of followers tend to snap into focus.

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Do not plan a social media campaign focused on growing awareness and followers of your community without building out the plan of how you’re going to deal with larger amounts of engagement.

Not planning for the success of your promotion or campaign can be the breeding ground for PR debacles. Make sure you are staffed appropriately or at least have some help from another department for the period your campaign is running and the period immediately following the campaign

2.  Treating Every Mention from Customers Equally

Some people may not like the sound of this, but not every consumer message is created equal.   This doesn’t mean that every customer isn’t important; , but with limited resources, and a growing community base, you better start building a priority system for your incoming social media mentions and conversations.

What and who is most important is up to each company, but take the time to build out a list and make sure every employee who is speaking for your brand on social networks knows it inside and out.

These priorities can change with campaigns or focus, but if every message coming in is treated equally, your staff will soon become overwhelmed and reaction time for everything will slow down.

3.  We’ll Get Back to you in Five Days

Welcome to the new world of social media based customer service.  Like it or not, you cannot treat customer service through social media like you can email.  People expect a very quick response through social networks. Responses are expected in a few hours or even minutes, rather than a few days.

Eighty Percent of  customer service inquiries  can be solved in three minutes if you respond within three hours.

I know this may sound scary to those of you with a small staff but it’s meant to be liberating.   If 80 percentof the issues are quick answers, it’s infinitelyeasier to stay on top of them.  Go to work tomorrow and begin to build out canned responses for the top 10 issues you face with your product through social media.  Arm your staff with these responses and you’ll cut your response time down by at least 20%.

Build this speed into your engagement strategy and utilize triages to speed up the process.

4.  More is Better

Find out where your audience is and engage with them there.

We’ve heard this advice countless times and still find it hard to follow.  The siren call of the newest and shiniest social media object is just too hard to pass up.  We’re not saying to not go after it, but being cautious and allocating your resources in an optimal way is the way to success over time.

More is not always better. This isn’t a game of being everywhere at once; it’s a way to better engage with your customers.  For example, if you want to build a community in Google+, that’s great and could be the perfect move for your brand, but make sure you’ve built a strategy focused on how your customers are engaging on Google+ before you spend precious budget and time.  Also make sure you aren’t cutting out the resources needed to keep up the Facebook page that you’ve spent three years building.

You may not be active on all channels, but it is good practice to at least claim an account in every social network possible.  Just because you don’t’ have the ability today, it doesn’t mean you won’t tomorrow and having your company’s brand name claimed will save you a ton of trouble down the line.

5.  Bringing a Knife to a Gun Fight

Tools that allow you to manage your social media monitoring and outreach are becoming a necessity to properly scale your team.  It’s why SocialVolt is in the business we’re in; to allow enterprises to smoothly and effortlessly share with their customers.

Different tools work for different jobs, but what can’t be denied is that there is a  need to use tools  to safely, quickly ,and properly communicate with large communities over multiple channels.

Make sure you are using the right tools for your size.  Some engagement tools are made for single users or personal use,  and can break down when multiple users or teams are introduced.  On the flipside, some management software can become clunky and too expensive for use with small businesses.

Remember, it is important to find the tools that fit you and your company, both in size and cost, and to make sure the metrics the tools provide match the needs of you and your company.

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