10 Social Media Mistakes Marketers Can’t Help Making

Social Media Participants to Marketers: It’s About Being Social

Social Media LogosWhen it comes to social media, marketers can’t help making mistakes. [Check out When Social Media Goes Bad.] In their rush to embrace this hot marketing format or promote their latest campaign, marketers forget everything they’ve learned about social media and ignore its rules assuming this one time won’t matter. But it does, especially to the social media participants they’re trying to reach.

Here are ten social media mistakes marketers can’t help making because social media differs from the way they’ve always done marketing.

  1. Assume social media participants are waiting for their pearls of wisdom. Understand consumers are on social media platforms to interact with family and friends, not merchants. Wanting to be part of the conversation isn’t enough to qualify. You must engage and interact with people to become part of the community. Many social media followers only want your discount.
  2. Use language stripped of anything remotely sounding like a person. While social media requires a human voice, many marketers and marcom professionals are so accustomed to using corporate-speak that it spills into their social media communications.
  3. Yell me, me, me.  Just focusing your social media communications on your firm, products and brands is the surest way to turn prospects off. The one exception is discounts. Take a lesson from your mother, who while she’s interested in what you’re doing, really only wants you to listen to what she has to say.
  4. Broadcast one-way communications.  No surprise here because we’re programmed to use media to blast our messages to our target audience. Social media, by contrast, offers two way and multi-directional communication. Therefore engage in the conversation and limit business promotions to one out of ten exchanges.
  5. Treat social media as one time campaign. Unlike traditional media, social media is an on-going exchange. Don’t run your campaign and move on to the next. Old Spice’s The Man Your Man Could Be video campaign did this when the brand moved on to another spokesperson instead of taking Isaiah Mustafa’s videos to the next level with weekly videos or newsletters. Continue to build on your past conversations. Similarly, don’t build a following for a one-time event and abandon it like LeBron James did.
  6. Follow the crowds to next shiny object. It’s fun to work with the latest social media platform that attracts attention just because it’s the hot new thing. Instead determine what social media forms are best for your business, long term. For example, it’s easy to make the case for using Facebook since its got massive numbers in terms or participants and time spent. Yet the critical question is what’s the long term impact on your brand, audience and profitability. By contrast, blogs directly support your sales by answering product related questions, linking to your products, supporting search optimization, and providing content to attract readers.
  7. Neglect to integrate social media with rest of marketing. Social media marketing doesn’t exist alone in a silo. Don’t focus only on the conversations about your products and brands. The Old Spice campaign was part of a larger branding campaign. Integrate appropriate keywords and phrases, targeted landing pages, and optimized sales pages to support sales and drive prospects to purchase your products.
  8. Skip promoting your social media presence. You’re not finished after you create your social media page, blog or video. You must let your target market know about it. Leverage internal media including your website, emailings and offline marketing including packaging, to promote your social media efforts. Also, include social sharing to broaden your reach.
  9. Forget to give credit when and where it’s due. Taking recognition for work or comments that aren’t yours on social media is wrong.  Just because something appears on the Internet doesn’t mean that you can use it! This applies to ideas, posts, photographs, videos and other information. It can be plagiarism as well as copyright infringement. When in doubt, ask permission to use the content.
  10. Blend personal and professional social media interactions. While it can be difficult to separate personal social media engagement from professional ones, it’s critical to do so. Never communicate anything you wouldn’t want your significant other, parents, children or employers to see. While you may have rigorous privacy settings, others connected to you may not. The Internet never forgets. So your communications are available for your colleagues and future employers to see. [Here’s more information on the topic.]

While social media provides marketers with new ways to engage with their target audience and achieve their business goals, it requires marketers to play by new, unstated rules, many of which are contrary to how marketers have done business for years.

What other social media mistakes would you add to this list and why? Please include your answers in the comment section below.

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen

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Photo credit: http://www.thelogorunner.com/blog/free-social-bookmarking-icons/


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