It amuses me when I am told that companies are “doing social media” because they have a Twitter and Facebook account. Social media marketing needs to be strategic and deliberate, aligning with your overall communications plan. Here are some mistakes to avoid when integrating social media into your overall marketing plan, gathered from an article by Janet Thaeler: “The 6 Biggest Social Media Mistakes Brands Make.”
Your initial contact isn’t personal
Most of the individuals active on social media platforms thrive on communication within their online community, notes Janet. As an active blogger on women in business, I can say that this is very true. If your business wants to make connections with key online influencers, be sure you are authentically interested in working with them. Show that you listen to their opinions and read their blogs, then contact them with a personalized email.
You are not willing to devote the resources to make social media work
According to Janet, “Businesses want to get involved in social media but then don’t put in the time and resources to make it work.” I see this all the time, and I advise my clients that a sure way to fail at social media is to create accounts and then expect them to self-populate and self-monitor. These accounts require time and effort by you and your employees (or certain dedicated employees) in order to be successful.
You ignore your audience
Janet makes a great point when she says that you can’t just set up an account and then ignore it. According to Janet, “It’s like getting a new phone and then ignoring every call that comes in.” If you want to be taken seriously, you’ll need to respond when your audience engages with you. Don’t be like Singapore Airlines. The company’s Twitter account has this disclaimer: “We apologize that we will not be responding to tweets.” Talk about not participating!
You miss using negative feedback as an opportunity
Janet is right when she says that most people complain or give feedback because they are hoping it will be considered constructive criticism and companies will strive to make it right. Too many times, businesses lose a chance to turn a negative comment into a positive.
You expect huge numbers and a fast ROI
Sure, there are some brands that have a huge following and exploded pretty quickly (like Lady Gaga – she had 10 million followers as of May 2011). The fact is, says Janet, you must consider social marketing an investment in building a lively and committed community, and that usually takes time and effort. It won’t happen overnight, so you must be committed to the long haul.
Social media is evolving and changing. With every new format or update, it becomes more of a challenge to keep up. But, to stay on the crest of the wave, you have to be aware and involved. Through my blog for women business leaders and women entrepreneurs, I have offered some targeted advice on social media. Here are a few of my favorites: “6 pointers for Women Business Leaders on Maintaining your Online Community,” and “Social Media Marketing Means More than Just Marketing.”