What the Experts DON’T Tell You about Social Media

Social media experts have a lot to say about the benefits of using sites like Facebook to promote your business, increase brand exposure and connect with your customers. But what are they leaving out? Don’t let your business get seduced by social media’s charms before you understand its challenges, as well.

Not everyone uses social media.

Just because your mom is on Facebook, doesn’t mean everyone is. And those who are on Facebook aren’t necessarily using it the way you want them to. In addition, you have to convince your CEO that social media is a good idea, but he still swears by the fax machine. Getting your company and your customers involved in social media in the first place can be a big challenge. Determine your target audience, find out how they are (or aren’t) using social media, and go from there. The suits will start listening once you can prove its value to your company.

Building social communities takes time and creativity.

Your social media accounts are worthless if no one is engaging with them. Don’t expect to just join Twitter and have millions of followers effortlessly. Building a community requires work – finding and connecting with thought leaders in your industry, responding to customer comments, retweeting relevant messages and thanking others for mentions, filtering out the spam. An ongoing conversation through social media can be tough to keep up, so creativity is necessary. Host contests through Facebook, create polls, and ask questions that get people commenting. Unless you’re already a well-known brand, be prepared for some heavy lifting.

You can’t control what people say on Twitter.

While people like to use Twitter and Facebook to share links to their favorite products, restaurants and articles, they also use these sites to complain. If a customer is unhappy with your services or products, they’ll let all their friends and followers know, leading to bad publicity for you. You can use social media to address these problems by using it as an extension of your customer service – answering questions and providing feedback through Twitter and Facebook.

Measuring and analyzing social media data and ROI requires the right resources.

So you’ve set up your Facebook account, and you’re sharing content and products and services, and your customers are “liking” you. Now what? If you’re serious about using social media to improve your business, simply sending out a tweet about your latest promotion isn’t enough. To determine the return on investment and find out how social media is really helping your business, you need the right tools and expertise. From there, you can develop a more strategic, targeted social media marketing campaign.

A consistent message is crucial across all social media channels.

Before you start shouting from the rooftops of Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest and your company blog, make sure you have a solid, consistent tone and message. Avoid sending mixed messages across multiple social media channels. For instance, a restaurant owner that writes blog posts about healthy, organic food, but pins images of junk food on Pinterest, is just bringing confusion to its brand and confusing customers along with it.

Social media is fast.

And not always in a good way. Sure, social media gives you access to the news as the news happens. But once you post something on Twitter or Facebook, there is no going back. You can delete accidental posts and tweets, but unless you catch the mistake right away, there is a good chance that someone else could have picked up the content and started sharing it. Be careful what you post – for example, if you write a review on your technology blog about video broadcast equipment with incorrect facts, it can quickly move its way across social media channels and you can potentially lose credibility for your company.

You need quality content.

Social media can improve your business only if you have quality content to share. Your customers won’t stay engaged with your brand unless you give them something interesting – content that keeps them coming back. If your company provides online golf tee times and reservations, then write blog posts that provide valuable information about golfing. If you sell furniture and household goods, post attractive images on Pinterest promoting a lifestyle that appeals to your audience. Rather than waste time on social media marketing, take the time to produce and share content that truly matters to your customers.

Jacqui MacKenzie is a writer for Straight North, one of the top Chicago Web design companies specializing in Internet marketing, social media and SEO.


  1. Yes, these are really a good interesting fact about social media. A general user has no knowledge about these facts. For increasing the traffic on your webpage, you should attach with a group of community. For measuring the social media ROI, there are four attributes, Conversation, Amplification, Applause and Economic Value.

  2. A few of these points should be mandatory for anyone running a social media course for Realtors. So many of us are doing more harm than good, but we’re just doing what we have been ‘taught’.

  3. I’m using Tweet Adder and it works great until I hit 2000 followers. After that, I’m restricted to adding any more followers. Is that a Twitter restriction or a Tweet Adder restriction? Does anyone know?

    • How many followers and following do you have? You might need to wait until your ratio balances out. You can help it along by waiting a bit longer for more followers and by unfollowing people that have not followed you.

      This is likely a restriction coming down from Twitter and Tweetadder is trying to protect your account. I might also contact Tweetadder to ask them.