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Three Ways Companies Blow It With Social Media

JAY HOOLEYOctober 2013

What’s the biggest mistake companies make with social media?

JAY HOOLEY: There are three big mistakes businesses can make with social media:

1) Talking at people instead of having conversations. Social media is inherently interactive and too many companies use it to post nothing but information about their own company. The right thing to do on social media is share thoughts, opinions and resources that encourage conversation. Good social media strategists ask questions and think about education more than promotion when developing content.

2) Expecting instantaneous or “viral” success. A crucial thing to remember with social media is that it’s a big investment for a larger corporation. It takes time and resources to increase your organization’s clout and influence on social media–and often what looks like a “viral” smash requires a carefully planned orchestration of owned, earned and paid media to gain momentum. Starting a blog and failing to tend to it can be a huge waste of resources and detrimental to your brand, just as having a Twitter feed lie dormant sends the wrong message and becomes a liability rather than an asset for your marketing teams.

3) Being predisposed to the thought that social is “not for them” because they aren’t a consumer business. The mass syndication, free access and ubiquity of social media aren’t the only things that make it great. Social media is also wonderful at organizing information and helping connect people and organizations that share a similar worldview, no matter how niche the audience.

Jay Hooley is chairman, president and chief executive of State Street Corp.

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