Success may be hard to predict, but failure is actually pretty easy, especially when it comes to social media. Yesterday afternoon, David Alston hosted a webinar with Rohit Bhargava author of the new best-selling marketing book, Likeonomics. The webinar included seven social media failures to avoid. Here’s my take:

1. Always focus on the conversation.

People want you to deliver what you said you’ll deliver. @replying every tweet for the sake of engaging isn’t effective in developing long term relationships. Don’t just pretend to be their buddy – add value.

2. Make it complicated.

People will give up trying to navigate websites that require specific or complicated technology, even if there’s great content.

3. Get the most fans/followers/friends.

The bigger number isn’t always better. Volume is generally the worst way to measure effectiveness – it doesn’t provide context or insight into the success of your marketing initiatives. Having a thousand quality fans that do something is better than having a million followers that do nothing.

4. Focus on your goals over your audience’s goals.

Instead of spending all your efforts on selling your product, develop and foster relationships with your community by providing relevant and useful content available to them at their point of need. Understand what your customers want and give it to them.

5. Expect people to share your content as is.

People won’t share content unless you give them a reason. Get your community involved. Develop dynamic and creative initiatives that provide incentive to entice your community to share.

6. Underestimate the value of social interactions.

Personal connections often turn into business relationship and can generate tremendous value.

7. Use social media to promote brand image.

People can see right through brands that gratuitously use photoshop or misleading messages in their marketing initiatives. Customers are now, more than ever, highly critical of brands that are not honest and direct in their messaging.

Success has many paths that are hard to forecast, but failure is predictable.

Be sure to check out the webinar in its entirety below.

Free Ebook: How to Develop a Social Media Strategy