Social media is no longer a secret, it’s not quite use it or die time, but that point is quickly approaching. Businesses are losing market share to competitors who use social media more effectively. If you don’t want to lose customers to social savvy competition—avoid these common mistakes. These pieces don’t fit.

10. Turning it over to interns – At least something is being done, but what? Social media can affect your bottom line. Why would you turn over something so critical to interns or new employees? Do they fully understand your core values and business strategies? Would you turn accounting, sales, or HR over to newbies?

9. Viewing it as advertising – Once again, at least you’re participating, but social media isn’t advertising. You’re not pitching, or at least not all the time; you’re participating in the conversation. It’s as if you were face-to-face at a networking event, listening to others, sharing useful information, and letting people know what problems you solve.

8. Concentrating on the wrong networks – For example, Facebook isn’t where a lot of TKO Graphix potential prospects and customers find us. Although we continually work to improve our presence on Facebook, it’s not where we concentrate our efforts.

7. Inconsistency – You can’t do social media occasionally and expect consistent results. Enough said?

6. Lack of social media goals – Any initiative without goals has a reduced chance of success. If you don’t know what you want to accomplish—how will you get there? Without a map, you only stumble toward your destination. At TKO, we want to drive people to our website and gain inquiries. We track visitors to our site, gear our efforts to those purposes, and have steadily improved our numbers over the last three years.

5. No plan of activities – Although you need goals, you can’t DO a goal. You can only DO activities. Determine what activities will help you reach your goal. What past actions have been effective, what activities need improved, and what do you need to stop doing to help you hit your goal?

4. Poor time management – This may be a general problem in your business affecting much more than social media marketing, or it may be exclusive to social media. Here are a few time management ideas for the former, and as to the latter—budget your time. If you only have 10 minutes a day for Twitter, for example, use it wisely by taking advantage of the tools available. And beware, it’s easy to get caught up and use too much time. Set a schedule and follow it.

3. Little or no organization – As with time management, this may be a systemic problem, not a specific concern. The key to organization is preparation. Have a system, use a to-do list, or follow a checklist. Don’t manage social media by the seat of your pants.

2. Not building a team – The size of your team may depend on the size of your company, but don’t overlook potential contributors in your organization. A couple years ago, a new installation employee wrote several posts for us. He’d recently completed his Masters in New Media at Purdue, and was a well-practiced writer. Keep your eyes open to the possibilities.

Survey says—the #1 social media mistake businesses make is…

1. Not participating at all – Come on, people! Like I said at the beginning of this post, social media isn’t a secret. The puzzle isn’t that difficult. Regardless of your business, the lack of participation in social media will adversely affect your business sooner than later. Why wait? If you’d like ideas on a social campaign geared to your organization, contact us.