Social media has evolved a lot in the last couple of years, yet there are still a lot of misconceptions out there. Here are some of the biggest mistakes many of us may be making:
1. You think you are your audience.
The way a marketer, PR pro, community manager, or anyone else who works in technology views and uses social media is likely 100 billion times different from how your customers use social media. The most harmful thing you can do is assume your audience consumes and uses the tools the same way you do.
2. You assume there's a direct correlation between the number of "likes" and sales.
I've lost count of the number of times I've heard, "How we can get a million likes on Facebook?" Every time I try not to roll my eyes and laugh out loud. It's easy to "like" something. Heck, you can even buy likes. (Please don't). But it doesn't necessarily translate to more customers, sales, etc.
3. You think just being present is enough.
Thankfully many more companies have realized the vast potential of social media for their businesses. It's awesome that brands now acknowledge and reply to their customers through Twitter and Facebook. However, replying is only the first step. The rest is much harder, and involves making your business a truly social business. This requires change and a lot of hard work.
4. You buy in to data overload.
Do you know the saying, "You can never have too much data"? Whoever said that was very wrong. Have you seen some of the social media reports that "social media consultants" use? Statistics are only as useful as the context you put them in. A 50-page report with pretty charts and graphs may look great on your boss's desk, but chances are it's just Excel bloat.
Instead, focus on two or three metrics that really matter for your business, and measure those. That's a lot more meaningful than a 50-page monthly report.
5. You keep social media in a silo.
It's important to have a dedicated team that handles social media. However, this team must close the gap between all departments. Nothing good ever comes from working in silos. Social media touches every aspect of your business, from sales to marketing, legal, PR and HR.
Jessica Malnik is a PR/marketing coordinator, social media specialist, videographer and an avid Gen Y blogger. A version of this article originally appeared on her blog.