Social Media Mistake – Not starting with a plan

The most common social mSocial Media Mistakesedia mistake I see my clients making is starting their social media without a plan. Their are several scenarios that happen.

  1. You hear someone talking about how much success they've had with social media so you jump in and set up a Facebook profile. 
  2. Your boss comes in and says, "We need to get on that FaceTube or YouBook thing, and you need to take care of it."
  3. You realize that your old advertising methods aren't working and you need something new so you give it a shot.

In most of the scenarios above you end up failing. Why do you fail? Primarily you fail because you don't start with the right questions:

  1. What are my goals for social media?
  2. Who is my customer?
  3. Where is my customer active in social media?
  4. What information does my customer want to know?

The thing to remember about social media marketing is that it cuts both ways. It's better to not be involved than to do it poorly.

Let's dig into these questions

What are my goals for social media?

There are several metrics that you can track:


  1. # of new people on your email list
  2. # of fans/followers
  3. # of comments / likes / share of your content


  1. # of online sales if you have an online store
  2. # of new customers coming into your store

Who is my customer?

Who is my customer?

I'm always surprised when I ask prospective clients who their customer is and they say everyone. It's not everyone, you might take everyone's money, but that doesn't mean you should be working with everyone or that everyone will buy your product or service. Build a profile of your best customer: age, sex, likes, occupation etc.

Where is my customer active on social media?

There are several ways to find this out:

  1. Ask them – this is the one that most of my online peers miss. Ask them in your store, ask them when you're meeting with them, email them if you have a list, but ask them.
  2. On Facebook –
    • Go to advertising
    • Start an ad
    • Adjust the demographics to fit your demographics
    • Ask yourself if that's enough people

What does my customer want to know?

This will depend on your business. Bars need to let people know what specials, events and music they have coming up. Clothing stores should share sales, dressing tips, Real Estate agents can share tips for lowering your mortgage rate etc… You can also do some of the following to find out what they are interested in.

  1. Ask them…
  2. – search based on your business type and keyword phrases
  3. Do a Google search with the keyword phrases for your business – look for social media sites that could be a good fit
    • "Keyword phrase" blog
    • "Keyword phrase" forum
    • "keyword phrase" in video
    • "keyword phrase" in News

Feel free to ask any questions about planning in the comments below.

4 Ways to Create Value Through Social Media

One of my pet peeves is people who leave comments on content or share share content with comments that show that they didn’t read the article. I had a situation a couple of days ago where I saw an article posted by someone who I used to respect. I read the title and his comment and then read the article. The first paragraph proved that he had not read the article and was commenting solely on the title which showed me he has no respect for his audience.

I think this happens for many reasons. In today’s market far too many people are trying to put themselves out there as experts. Most of these self proclaimed experts have been told that they need to leave comments and add value. But that takes too much effort so they leave short, no value,  cut and paste comments or comments simply based on headlines. They don’t realize that they are doing more damage to their brand every time they leave a bad comment.

Too many people are seeking shortcuts and much of the training that is available focuses on those shortcuts. The way to earn respect and followers online is to create value. Creating value differs by your audience and who you want to attract. You attract one audience through thought provoking in depth analysis and a different one by sharing the latest funny YouTube video.

Here are my thoughts on creating value more or less in order:

Create unique content that others will want to share

This takes far more work, but it delivers the most long term value. You are seen as the expert because you have proven yourself through your content. Before you say I can’t do that you need to understand that everyone is an expert at something. Trust me you are. But it’s not always what you want to be an expert in. We’ll explore that in more depth in another post.

Add value to others content.

Take short snippets of someone else’s content and add value. With a blog post you could use a trackback. You can add value providing more in depth analysis of the subject, you can extend the article, you provide your opinion, you can even disagree with the original article, but you need to add value and extend the conversation.

This shows you as the expert and is easier than starting from scratch. This is a good way to get started on those mornings that you just can’t get focused on a topic. If you use a trackback you will attract some attention from the original post and may even get the original blogger/author to come over and start a discussion on your blog.


Adding value through comments is a great way to get noticed both by the content producer and by their audience. What you want to do is read the post. Find one or two specific things that you can comment on where you can provide unique value. Then I like to scan the comments and see if there is a good comment addressing the same points. If there is I reply to that comment with my thoughts. If there isn’t I leave my own comment.

Do not leave comments like “Great post” or comments that prove that you did not read the post. Also use your name, don’t be “Montana SEO” keyword stuffing your name in comments is spammy and makes you look like an idiot.

This is valuable because it can help you get noticed by the original content producer and their audience. I know people who have built followings simply by being the top commenter on one or two of the big names in their industry.

Sharing on Facebook on other social networking sites

This is good because it provides an opportunity for you to share great content with your audience. When you do it you want to make sure that you add value to the post even if it’s just one or two sentences. “I liked this post because,  I found this part interesting etc…”

Do not share content with comments that prove that you didn’t read it. It proves that either you are an idiot who can’t read or you have no respect for your audience. Either reason is more than enough for someone to quit following you.

If you don’t have time to leave a good comment either don’t share it or at the very least just share it without a comment . There are many times that I read an article and share it without a comment, but I rarely share anything that I haven’t read.

The key component is that you need to add value. While there is some value in being an aggregator of information, if you don’t add value to that content why do people need you?? Reading Chris Brogan and sharing all of his posts does not make you a social media expert.

Social Media Marketing — Are You Ready?

Social Media Marketing
Are You Ready?

Introduction social media marketing. This presentation was for GMG a group of marketing professionals that meets in Billings, MT. I focused on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube for this presentation.

View more presentations from dougmcisaac.

Facts about Facebook

My Mentor, Simon Ford, recently released a teaser video — Facebook for Business Marketing. The facts about Facebook are staggering. I’ve been doing presentations to local business groups and I’ve updated my presentation monthly and will need to do it again.  Enjoy the video there’s a lot more to come.