Early in the New Year, we outlined numerous “resolutions” for associations and nonprofit organizations to add into the mix for their communications planning strategies in 2014. However, we also think it’s worth considering which tactics you might consider putting on a shelf, particularly in the area of digital communications.

Most organizations are using social media in some way, and if you’re large enough to have a part of your marketing team dedicated to digital strategy, you probably have the basics covered—you’re on Facebook and Twitter, you’re pushing out original content on your blog and staying up to speed on the newer channels and platforms that could help support your efforts.

digital strategyBut are there any bad social media habits you just can’t seem to break? We’re all guilty at times of giving in to some clichéd tactics in an effort to check off a box—coming up with new a new digital approach isn’t always as easy as it may seem. Let’s check in on the state of your online strategy, and offer up some ideas on common pitfalls in social media you ought to avoid at all costs, or axe from your arsenal. 

Stop Trying to Go Viral

There is a guide to common social media mistakes on PR Daily that is definitely worth reading, with details on five social media strategies to avoid. Among their warnings? Don’t try to focus on producing “viral” content, but rather focus on producing content that’s relevant and valuable to your audience.

From the post:

“Content shared on social media almost never goes viral. A paper from Microsoft Research and Stanford University shows that content is normally stuck in the ‘long tail’ of social networks and is rarely even shared by connections of connections. It says that stories die out very quickly, rather than spreading exponentially, as with a virus. The authors point out that even Internet products such as Gmail and Facebook, which are often cited as spreading through word of mouth, ‘benefitted from extensive media coverage.’

Instead of praying for a viral outcome that’s as likely as the lottery, social media should be used to intensify loyalty from your existing customers and to develop awareness among those who find you through inbound marketing and among hand-picked prospects.”

Shiny Object Syndrome

You’re probably hearing a lot about Snapchat these days. The founder made headlines for turning down a huge acquisition deal from Facebook that would have netted him billions, and it’s become the go-to social networking tool for many teens and young Millennials. Therefore, your digital team may be tempted to immediately set up shop on the network—but you may be suffering from SOS, “shiny object syndrome”.

Rather than jumping the gun, take the time to carefully consider the benefits of new platforms. Not every new social network is going to be a perfect fit. You must consider factors such as the demographics of your audience. Would it make sense, for example, for the AARP to have a Snapchat account when the current demographics of the service are overwhelmingly under the age of 30?

This is not to say you should never branch out. Certainly, there are a number of platforms out there besides Facebook, many of which may be helpful to your marketing strategies. Just be wary of joining too many bandwagons and wasting energy where there may not be much value.

One Size Does Not Fit All

There’s plenty of value in cross-posting certain content. Write a blog post that’s particularly good? Definitely share it on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. But don’t rely too heavily on this type of “one size fits all” content—you must also take the time to tailor your posts on social media to the audience they are reaching. What works on Facebook isn’t always going to be a home run on Twitter. Likewise, not every Tweet needs to be auto-shared to Facebook as a new status.

This type of constant cross-posting seems like a tempting shortcut, and is an understandable error to make. After all, another common social media pitfall is not posting often enough! Therefore, sharing every update to multiple platforms seems like a solution to keeping all your channels consistently updated. Unfortunately, this type of over-share usually only results in annoying your followers, particularly the ones who follow your posts on more than one network. Instead, try to limit cross-posting to only the best content, while also tailoring content to each specific network.

What are some adjustments you’ve made to your digital strategy over the years? Any common mistakes you’d like you share with our readers? Let us know in the comments!