When it comes to social, one of the biggest mistakes any business can make is to blithely go about setting up various social media pages and then ignore them. If you don’t have the resources to enable you to keep track on a daily basis, then you might end up doing more harm than good, achieving exactly the opposite of what you’d planned.

Checking your social media pages every now and again just isn’t enough, and for any page with more than a few hundred Likes or followers, it is critical that you are regularly monitoring interactions.

Facebook Fail will inevitably happen if you don’t monitor your wall regularly.

smartcompany.com.au reports on the case of Australian business Just Jeans, who suffered from an imposter posing as an employee who caused havoc on their Facebook wall by being obnoxious and rude to their Facebook fans.

social media fails

The scam was played out over a period of 12 hours, during which time the imposter engaged with a number of people on the official Facebook page, which has over 18,000 likes.  That’s some high visibility hoaxer damaging Just Jeans’ reputation, and it illustrates the need for businesses to remain vigilant in monitoring their pages.

One way to avoid this of course would be to simply disable public posts on your wall, but this is not advisable; it’s like advertising your business's phone number but unplugging the phone. Inviting participation and the engagement that can result is one of the key elements that makes Facebook such a valuable marketing tool; get rid of this ability for people to interact with you, and you may as well not be on Facebook at all.

HMV Tweets go rogue and David Wilson Homes ignores Twitter followers...

Another example of the need to keep track emerged when I visited the Twitter page recently (Jan 2013) for a large, well known national builder here in the UK.  I was astonished to see well over 400 followers, but a Tweet and follow count of zero.

twitter followers abandoned

Think about it: that’s 400+ customers and potential customers who have sought that page out and followed.  400+ followers, receptive and waiting to be engaged with, but the business is doing nothing.  The continued lack of attention will mean that gradually these followers will disengage and simply un-follow. What a wasted opportunity!

More recently we've seen the case of the young HMV employee who went rougue, making numerous angry, and whilst perhaps understandable, poorly judged Tweets (you can read more about it here).  The HMV case is a great illustration of why close monitoring of your social media is critical and demonstrates further the importance of effective, capable management.

Before you get started with social media, have a serious think about how you will manage and maintain your presence on each platform and who you will appoint to do the job for you. Internal candidates may know your business well, but don't assume that means that they understand the wider strategic goals of your social activities or how to achieve them.  Whilst an extenal agency is less likely to have in-depth knowledge of your business, that doesn't mean they can't quickly get to know and understand your business.

Make sure time is built in every day, to monitor all social channels and to join in the conversations that are evolving; that way you will avoid social fail and will be able to get far more out of social media.