Category: Social Media

7 Barriers to Social Media in Business

Dilbert cartoon strip making fun of the fact that business social media policies can prevent social media implementation from working
Dilbert cartoon from

My friend sent me a link to this Dilbert strip this morning and it made me laugh. It got me thinking about how company policy or cultural norms can be barriers to successful social media marketing. Here are the top 7 barriers to using social media in business:

1. Trust

Dilbert captures it perfectly.

If you trust your staff to speak to customers on the phone, in emails, letters and in person, why not trust them to speak to customers on social media? I can understand some nervousness because social platforms are public and therefore the conversation is in front of the world, but nowadays there is nothing stopping a customer publishing your other communications to them on their own networks. At least if you’re involved in the conversation your opinion can be heard.

2. The wrong people

My personal view and the approach that is becoming more popular and is regularly being proven as best practice, is that customer service teams, NOT marketing teams should manage company social networks. Think about your call centre operatives- they are trained to the highest standards in customer care, they know how to speak to your customers and they know your products and services inside out. So if you give them a little bit more training, there is no reason why they shouldn’t be able to extend their skills to what is just another customer communications route.

3. Training

When social media is new to a business, it’s prudent to provide training on:

  • Processes for dealing with enquiries
  • Complaints and crisis management
  • Systems
  • The written word (spelling, punctuation and grammar) and
  • Tone of voice and communications style.

Appropriate training will deliver successful social media. It will also support you to manage staff performance.

4. Software/ systems

Even if you’re not ‘speaking’ on social media, every company should be ‘listening’ to what is being said about them. There are many excellent social media management systems on the market such as Hootsuite and Sprout Social. Here’s a really good infographic that compares the features of the top social media monitoring tools.

5. Time

One of the first questions I’ve always been asked when I’ve introduced social media to businesses, is “How long will it take each day?” There really is no right answer to this question. It takes as long as it takes. If you don’t set aside time, your social media will fail.

6. Management

Senior managers need to understand and embrace any change programme for it to become truly embedded within the company. Implementing a major communications change by introducing social media needs understanding and support from the top. Not every CEO has to tweet or become an ‘Influencer’ on LinkedIn, but it’s good if they at least comprehend the need for Social and its real measures of success.

7. Strategy

I think that say 3 years ago it was OK to just start tweeting and see what happened but that’s not the case anymore. Especially in organisations where social media management is shared across different teams who all need awareness of the overall goal and the activities involved in reaching it.

Successful conversations on social media rely on engaging content. Content doesn’t produce itself and it needs preparation and planning. Without a plan, how do you know if you’re achieving your objectives?

What other barriers to using social media in business have you come across?



How NOT to use LinkedIn – a guide for people wanting to fail at growing their professional network

Add a comment below if you have any more useful tips for people wanting to fail at growing their professional network on LinkedIn. Need to zoom in? You can view the original presentation here on SlideShare.

LinkedIn Sponsored Updates are here

Even if you’re not a LinkedIn addict like myself, you’ve probably noticed new sponsored content in your home feed. Like many other social networks, LinkedIn is now offering a way for you to directly target audiences beyond your existing company following.

LinkedIn provides a self-serve platform where you can create your content, set your targeting criteria, choose whether to pay per click (CPC) or per 1,000 impressions (CPM) and measure your results. Simple.

But is getting it right simple? Here’s the first sponsored update I noticed in my home feed, from Newsweaver:

Screen grab of LinkedIn Sponsored Update
LinkedIn Sponsored Update from Newsweaver

Why I noticed it:

  • Relevancy

The topic is really relevant to me so grabs my attention immediately. ‘Content’, ‘webinar’, and ‘engagement’ are all terms that I’m interested in and clearly in this instance LinkedIn’s targeting has worked, matching me to whatever audience segments Newsweaver is trying to reach.

  • Creating desire 

Using words such as ‘free’ and asking questions like ‘Interested in a better employee newsletter?’ makes me want to find out more.

  • Engagement 

Another LinkedIn user has ‘Liked’ this post which endorses the message and increases visibility within my busy home feed.

How it could be better: 

  • Quality

The copy in this advert isn’t written very well with grammatical errors throughout. This is a big ‘no-no’!

  • An engaging image 

An image would help this post stand out and if carefully selected, the right picture could help the audience process the message faster.

  • Clearer call to action

Although there is a call to action in this post, it could be positioned more effectively:

Screen grab of LinkedIn Sponsored Update with a clearer call to action
LinkedIn Sponsored Updates need clear calls to action

I think LI sponsored updates are going to be huge news for B2B digital marketers. I just hope that content is well put together and relevant, otherwise LinkedIn users are going to be very put off.

Here’s a nice practical guide to setting up your own LinkedIn sponsored updates from social media examiner. Leave a comment below if you find some good examples to share.