Why Social Media Projects Fail

posted on 30th Aug 2010

I came across this interesting presentation last week posted on the We Are Social blog, into why social media projects fail. The slides are based on an undercover study conducted by the Brand Science Institute over a 7 month period earlier this year. The study involved 563 marketers and 52 brands in 12 European countries, Ireland was not one of them. How conclusive this study is, is open to debate, as is how applicable all the points are to every company. But what it does provide is a little insight into why projects don’t live up to expectations. It’s more points to consider rather than a framework or template for social media campaigns, and some of the points could include more descriptive text.

Lessons From ‘Why Social Media Projects Fail’.

Some of the slides are worth following up on:

81% of companies don’t have a clear social media strategy. It’s important to define from the outset what your company wishes to achieve with social media. A company doesn’t take out TV or radio advertising, or set up a website without deciding what its going to be used for – the same applies to social media.

Only 27% have a clear understanding of their customers. It’s important to understand who your customers are, what social media channels they use and what they want from their social media communications. A confectionery brand will have very different communications than a B2B services firm.

87% had to correct their social media expectations. Always set goals that are S.M.A.R.T. specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely.

66% never heard of the 1-9-90 rule. This rule states that in the online environment 1% of people will create content, 9% will leave comments and 90% will view that content without commenting.

76% don’t moderate social media projects accurately, if at all. That is surprisingly high, but often I have looked at blogs and pages belonging to campaigns that have been left go. Comments asking for information are ignored and when admins return they ignore these requests. Thats almost like walking into a shop and asking a member of staff a question, only to be blankly ignored.

Only 7% understand the CRM value of social media. This is surprisingly low. Social media is all about building relationships with customers. Not only is it applicable to just marketing, but social media can be used to drive sales and act as a customer or technical support channel.

37% think social media is a media buy. Social media is a 24/7 interactive process between an organisation and its customers. It doesn’t ‘switch off’ or technically ‘end’. Although many brands do set up campaign specific social media channels, build followers, then end communication once the campaign is over. From a brand perspective the time and effort gone into building that following is just left go to waste.

Only 11% have social media guidelines. These are important for both internal staff and the external customer to understand the nature of what  is and is not acceptable on the social media channels.

86% don’t have a clue how to handle a social media backlash. Certain companies may be more prone to a backlash than others, take BP or Toyota in the wake of their recent scandals. However, no matter the brand its important to understand how a backlash is dealt with effectively and appropriately.