Point of view: The social media detox

Molly Flatt

You'd better accept it now: your January detox is bound to fail. The British Liver Trust has described short-term New Year abstinence as 'medically futile', but we don't need scientists to tell us that attempting to embrace salads and spinning classes at what is possibly the darkest, coldest and most anticlimactic time of year is dumb. Instead, I recommend you stock the boardroom with biscuits and motivate your team to shed some flabby social media habits in time for spring.

Marketers are always being told what to do in social media, but they're rarely told what to cut loose. So here are three toxic behaviours that commonly clog brands' communication colons, with ideas for how to cut them out.

Old habit # 1: Monitoring without listening. The importance of social media listening has become such a well-worn truism that it can be hard to remember what it really means. It does not mean paying for the most basic Sysmos service, slapping a bunch of graphs into PowerPoint, then sending them round in a monthly email that no-one reads. It does mean drilling down into specific conversations, so that you can understand the motivations and advocates. It does mean listening for what isn't there – such as finding the places where your competitors are being talked about but you are not, and asking why. And it does mean making sure that everyone in the company takes ownership of celebrating, stimulating and learning from your word of mouth.