In our most recent RSW/AgencySearch survey, 87% of all the Agency principals surveyed stated that they use social media as part of their new business efforts, nearly a 30 point increase relative to 2009!

Quite the increase!!

But despite an ever-growing use of social among Agencies, only 17% see it as an effective platform.  29% rated it as not at all effective.

We suspect the same patterns are true of many other businesses…and not just Agencies.

So what gives?  Why isn’t social working?

We talk to Agencies every day.

This experience has led us to identify 10 reasons why Agencies are falling down in their use of social.

We suspect these same reasons apply to other businesses as well.  Not just Agencies.

If properly addressed, social media CAN be an excellent way to engage.

Here are the 10 rules any type of company needs to follow:

  1. Don’t ONLY use social.  Social in isolation is limiting.  You need to integrate on line and off line platforms to make sure you’re hitting prospects (consumers) in as many touch points as possible.
  2. Never stop.  We see it every day.  Businesses start their efforts with great fanfare and then they stop.  To be effective, social needs to always be “on” as you never know when your prospect is going to engage.
  3. Add value.  Social can be a great thought leadership platform, but you need to be willing to give your insights away in order to accomplish this end.  If you worry about giving your value away, your social program will fail you.
  4. Stay on message.  Stay focused.  If you decide that you’re going to position yourself as the health care experts, as an example, stay focused on offering content that supports that positioning.
  5. Use it to the fullest.  This is easier said than done, but push yourself.  Dig deep into each platform and learn  all  it has to offer in order to maximize its effectiveness.
  6. Know your audience.  Before you dive headfirst into a social program, find out what platforms your prospects (or consumers) are      using.  If they don’t Tweet, as an example, you might want to divert your social attention elsewhere.
  7. Mix up the media.   Make your outreach interesting.  Use video as well as written posts.  Video links tend to perform much better from a click-thru standpoint than typical text links.
  8. Stay current with technology.  Try to stay well read and well schooled.   Attend conferences sponsored by thought leaders like WOMMA and eMarketer.  Read up on the latest trends in industry pubs.  Key is keeping on top of what’s new and different.
  9. Don’t chase shiny objects.  Don’t jump into every new thing that comes along.  Make sure it’s right for you and your business.  Consider testing first – or talk to others who have tried it.
  10. Create a plan.  What is each platform going to do for you?  What tonality is each going to possess?  What is your core message and how is each social platform going to reinforce this positioning?  And how are the different platforms going to work together and feed off of each other.  Laying out the plan upfront will make your life much simpler as you manage your social program.

Follow these 10 rules and you’re sure to find yourself in a much better place socially.