This article appeared in the June 2018 issue of Entrepreneurial Chef Magazine

Social media marketing was once relatively new and mysterious, and many just weren’t sure how to effectively use it. But today, it’s a much different story. The online world has changed dramatically, and we see widespread use – and misuse – of social media by businesses and entrepreneurs all the time.

If you have found it challenging to use social media effectively to further your company’s goals, you’re not alone. Organizations of all sizes and in all industries struggle. And with constant changes, it is no wonder why. But understanding what works, what doesn’t, and avoiding common mistakes will enable businesses to continually thrive. Below are some of the most common mistakes businesses make as well as the #1 blunder.

1. No Concrete Plan

A business must have a social media strategy in place to get results. This first requires an understanding of the business and its marketing goals. Unfortunately, many business owners fail in establishing that foundation. Without clear goals, they don’t understand social media’s role in helping to achieve them.

To overcome that problem, it helps to answer the following questions:

  • What’s important to your customers?
  • What matters most to your team?
  • What is the company vision?
  • What are the core values? 

After considering those concepts, consider this with your marketing:

  • What is the message you want to convey?
  • Who is the audience?
  • Where is the audience?
  • What do you want them to do?
  • How will you create a message that will resonate with them?
  • How will you measure the effectiveness?

From this process, social media goals can be distilled and established to support marketing goals through awareness, education, customer service, customer engagement and more. A social media plan should serve as a roadmap that lays out the channels, the content, integration with other marketing efforts, and measurement methodology.

2. Failure to Launch

A social media strategy is only as strong as its execution. That requires dedicated resources—those that have the time, knowledge and interest in delivering the components of the plan. However, many companies delegate social media to an intern, an administrative assistant, or a member of the sales team. In some cases, business owners or company leaders are ambitious enough to recruit themselves, and in smaller companies, the implementation can be led by a spouse, a child, or even a neighbor.

Inconsistency and ineffectiveness happen when businesses entrust their social media management to someone who is not equipped to handle it properly. The end result is no result. It’s a wasted effort.

3. Outdated Content Strategy

The amount of data on the web is increasing at startling percentages. Our ability to consume the vast amount of content available today is virtually impossible.

How does a business break through the noise? One way is to acknowledge that content creation is only the starting point.

Content must be of high-quality; it must be read; and it must move (i.e., be shared) to be effective. Yet less than one percent of all content on the web is shared, so how can a business move the needle?  Emotion. It’s the key driver of social sharing. People who share content have an emotional connection to it. Therefore, it’s critical for content to speak to its audience so that people will share it.

The #1 Fail: Leaving it to Al

 While automated marketing can supplement an overarching marketing plan, it shouldn’t be done to the point of overkill. Overloading people with too many messages on auto-pilot destroys trust.

Unfortunately, technology has blurred the lines between what is “nurturing relationships” and “spamming.”

Robots will eventually have the ability to automate most essential marketing tasks—including algorithmic writing. And many clients will welcome relief from the time and effort it takes to develop blog posts.

However, the web is already oversaturated with content and becoming more so rapidly. Because of this, discover what makes you unique in the crowded and competitive online space. This involves finding your voice and showcasing the human element. While automating marketing functions is technologically possible, businesses cannot automate relationships. They must humanize their brands to build emotional connections and trust.

Where Does This Leave You?

If your business hasn’t been getting the results you have hoped for from social media, perhaps one or more of the issues shared is impeding your success. Take a closer look at how you’re approaching your online marketing efforts to determine if your mindset, planning, execution, content, and coordination are presenting stumbling blocks. Identifying the problem areas is a giant first step toward putting your social media strategy on the right path.


About the Author

Rachel Strella is the founder of Strella Social Media, a social media management company serving dozens of clients nationally. She is a regular contributor to Small Business Trends and Social Media Today and has been featured in Forbes and numerous other major publications. She owns an award-winning blog with over 75 posts syndicated internationally and is a well-respected speaker having delivered dozens of social media presentations Follow her on Twitter at


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