Why Companies FAIL at Social Media in One Word


seesawMore precisely, a lack of balancing social media efforts with clearly focused company objectives.  Social media is growing rapidly.  It’s exciting.  It’s scary.  It’s changing the way companies are viewed, presented, and talked about.  There are a fair number of companies that are skeptical at how social media can benefit them and a large number of organizations that are so excited about this new “trend” that they rush forward blindly at 100 miles per hour.  Lists and acronyms are easy to remember, so I’ll try to make this simple.  Here are four things to consider to help establish balance and prevent your company from FAILing with social media.

1. Focus

What are your goals of using social media?  How can you connect and participate to improve your brand?  Which outlets best serve your purpose (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc)?  What is your 30 second elevator speech for why you use social media?  If you can’t answer each of those questions, you aren’t focused.  Remember the 6 P’s: Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance.  You won’t use every social media outlet in the world, if you try, you’ll fail.  Find places where you can make an impact and that relate to your goals or needs.

2. Anticipate

What will be going on at your company over the next year?  Are you starting a blog?  Are you launching a new product?  Are you gathering marketing research?  Do you anticipate any customer feedback, positive or negative?  I’m guessing Nostradamus isn’t on your payroll, but try to anticipate where you’ll be and what can happen and align those things with your efforts.  Social media is growing rapidly because it is interactive.  It’s collaborative.  It is the largest scale cocreation campaign in the world.  Find where you fit in and be proactive with your approach to social media.

3. Interact

How can you improve your brand perception?  What can you offer to a customer?  How can you help with training?  How will you handle negative feedback or complaints?  Please know that interacting with your customers, potential customers, industry leaders, or just generally interesting people is one of the biggest benefits of social media!  This is not a one-way conversation.  This is not an advertising push.  This is not an infomercial about your company.  How else could I have some insight as to what Shaq is doing every day, or how a conference is going for David Armano and Chris Brogan, or even what Andy Beal is reading?  Social media gives you a window into places that you couldn’t get to before and if you are smart with how you interact in this environment, you will learn a lot!

4. Listen

What are people saying about your company?  What are people saying about your industry?  How can you contribute to their conversation?  Let’s be honest, if you don’t listen, you won’t ever engage anyone.  If you want bananas and I’m talking about oranges, I’m not improving your daily experience.  People talk.  Ask Tropicana, Pepsi or Motrin if people talk.  These are big brands obviously, but if people aren’t talking about you…do something to make them talk about you and listen to what they say.

Hopefully you can remember this short four pointed acronym and apply it to your social media campaign!


  • Did you know that 93% of Americans want companies to have a social media presence?  Read more.