6 Things To Avoid On Your Next Social Media Marketing Effort

We’ve pretty much gotten past the debates about whether or not social media is here to stay or if it can deliver against real business and marketing objectives. If done correctly, social media can give a boost to your brand, amplify your message, and connect you with current and potential customers in ways traditional forms of media can’t replicate. But remember: that “if” at the beginning of the previous sentence should probably be in about size 48 font because it’s a big one.

With the bevvy of social media best practices, particularly from companies like Kitchen Table and Buddy Media, you would think agencies and marketers would be more consistent in their ability to execute quality social  campaigns. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. There is a big difference between understanding a concept that informs how you execute a social campaign, and being able to actually execute it. Let me help you close that gap. Here’s six things to avoid doing when building a social media campaign.

  1. Not aligning social media tactics with marketing objectives- If you expect to drive engagement, traffic, or leads by simply posting a link a couple times you are going to be left with the empty realization that you need to take your job more seriously. To be successful,  think carefully about where your audience is, what motivates them, how they are engaging on each network, and what they’re already engaging around. If you can get a real understanding for the context of the conversation you’ll realize you’ll need a systematic approach to engagement that considers types of online influence and moves your audience down the sales cycle.
  2. Neglecting to optimize for social – This point depends heavily on what the objective and audience are, but the idea is that you should give your audience the information they need in a package that makes sense based on their motivation for participating in a given social network to begin with. For example,  infographics are optimal for social because the information they provide tells a story around an interest or topic, they enable creators and joiners to put their own smarts on display by repackaging and curating the content. Those three factors make infographics an excellent tool for driving awareness among a targeted audience, but the approach applies to all kinds of content. The bottom line is that if you plan on extending the reach of a marketing effort through social you can’t simply re-package content. You need to find new ways of telling the same story that make sense for your online audience.
  3. Trying to build a community out of thin air– There is a broadly adopted myth that “if you build it they will come.” Unless you’re thoughtfully putting resources against a community over time the only thing that will “come” are follow’ bots, spammers, and a few lost souls that join your community and never return. Building a community takes time, the right content, and consistent engagement and relationship building with the right mix of influencers. If you think building a community superficially via one and done contests or other gimmicks is the answer, you’re likely to experience high churn, low engagement, and little business value being delivered through the community. 
  4. Scaring your audience away with branding- Authenticity is the most valuable thing brands can bring to their social media presence. Slapping banners and hard call to actions on every asset or piece of content may seem like the right way to achieve business outcomes, but it’s going to do more harm than good. Being lured into what looks like a genuine conversation only to be thrown  a product pitch is like watching TV at 3 AM: At first you think, “Yes, I can stop changing the channel and have averted carpal tunnel syndrome” but when you realize that what looked like a program on the evolution of modern man is actually just a really long lead into a pitch for a Viagra knock-off, you’re pissed.
  5. Using the wrong asset – There is more to social media than Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and blogs. Take advantage of social bookmarking, social sharing sites, forums and so on where appropriate.
  6. Asking for your audience to engage differently than they already are – Forrester has done some great research on what kinds of activities different people do online. Some of us are spectators, others actively join in on conversations on social networks, and a segment of us get our thoughts down on blogs. There are several other types of activities your audience is doing, but that’s not the point. The important thing to consider is that depending on the makeup of your community, they’re going to be more or less willing to engaged depending on what you’re asking them to do. If the majority of them don’t go further than ‘liking’ posts in their Facebook news feed, don’t ask them to create original videos talking about why they love your product.

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