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Social Media Mistakes: Back to First Principles

by Randall Craig on February 26, 2016

Filed in: Blog, Digital Strategy, Make It Happen Tipsheet, Social Media

Tagged as: ,

With all of the fancy tools and sophisticated strategies, sometimes we forget how easy it is to make a mistake – and not of the typographical variety. From time to time, it is a good practice to go back to first principles, and make sure that what we are doing today actually makes sense.

Seven first principles:

1) The don’t care.  Prospects don’t care about you, but only care about how you can solve their problem. This means that your posts need to be relevant and valuable to your prospects. (Are they, really? Have you asked?)

2) Social Media for business is not personal Social Media time. If you have one hour of time per day, then this should be filled with activities that improve awareness, drive sales, or improve client service. Each activity literally needs to “audition”: if it doesn’t make the cut, then stop doing it.

3) Consistency: Users crave consistency, and organizations are rewarded with increased followers, comments, and shares when consisency exists. Other channels have known this for years: there is a reason that TV news is always on at the same time every night, and that the morning newspaper (remember those?) always comes out in the morning.

4) Don’t ignore your main website: The ultimate goal of most social media investments is to drive users to your own site. But what happens next? Make sure that the site is built to “convert” to the next step on the user’s journey to commitment. And from a technology perspective, the site should be built on a social platform, so that content can automatically syndicate outwards, and into your social network.

5) Monitoring: Beyond looking for opportunities, monitoring can identify potential risks early. Monitoring can be as easy as setting up Hootsuite and Google Alerts for key terms.

6) Measurement: If you don’t measure it, you can’t manage it. Nor can you optimize your efforts and investment. Given the very significant amount of data that is available within the social sites (and your own site), executing a plan without data-driven mid-course corrections is both financially wasteful and competitively stupid.

7) Don’t ignore the non-social: Just because you are on social media, doesn’t mean that all of your audience is. Or that all of your audience is on aparticular Social Media platform. Social Media must compete with other marketing initiatives for your time and budget.

This week’s action plan: Has your level of sophistication “elevated” you away from these basics? This week, evaluate yourself on each of them: are you doing as well as really could be doing? Or perhaps there is one that you could be doing better on. (So do something about it.)


Randall has been advising on Digital Strategy since 1994 when he put the Toronto Star online, the Globe and Mail's GlobeInvestor/Globefund, several financial institutions, and about 100+ other major organizations. He is the author of eight books, including Digital Transformation for Associations, the Everything Guide to Starting an Online Business, and Social Media for Business. He speaks and advises on Digital Transformation, Digital Trust, and Social Media. More at

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