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The social media industry is as new as the automobile industry was a hundred years ago. We don’t have rules of the social-media road, a social-media tax or rear view social-media mirrors, yet.

But there’s lots of new things coming, which will surprise and delight and frustrate us in equal measure.

While we wait for them, here are 3 big mistakes many business people are making in relation to social media.

1. Ignoring it. All this means is that intrepid individuals will start doing it without permission. Do you even know how many of your staff are doing semi-official tweeting or blogging or Facebooking for you? Social media is coming and you can’t stop it.

2. Not aligning your social media goals with the goals of your business. The goal of social media is not to get more followers. This is similar to people who think the business goal of having a car is the ability to drive around. Sure there are people who want to do that, but a business needs to align social media to its business goals.

3. Thinking it’s just a marketing and PR thing. Human resources, purchasing, the canteen, investment analysts and R&D can all benefit from the research, communications and feedback service that social media is. Don’t leave it all to marketeers. Every division can use social media.

It is likely that many business people, (the Ostriches) when confronted with the Tsunami of change that social media represents will simply opt for ignoring it in the hope that it will pass them by.

The are wrong. Better firms will achieve competitive advantage by using social media. This is already happening. And when the rest understand what they might lose they will follow. After the Ostriches are removed.

© Laurence O’Bryan – @LPOBryan

Director of the College of Digital Marketing