Potential Pitfalls in Social Media Marketing

I was recently watching a rerun of a Shark Tank episode from earlier this season, when some entrepreneurs hoping to strike a deal presented their business plan for creating a medical social media service.  These two hopefuls were unable to define how their service was a social media enterprise and further muddied the waters by referencing other successful social media sites without providing any of their similarities.   This led me to think about some of the ways in which social media is both mismanaged and misunderstood by businesses large and small.  Below are a few of the biggest mistakes that an organization can make in regards to their social media management.

1)      Having no social media presence

With the ever increasingly intertwined relationship of IT and the other functional groups within a business, it should be no surprise that a business requires an online presence.  Customers have come to expect an open line of communication to a business and up-to-date information when they are seeking a business out.

Tip: Maintain a Facebook fan page for your organization, and manage a twitter handle associated with your brand.  Also, as discussed in my earlier blog post, Out with the Old, keep your website current.

2)      Having too much of a social media presence

While having no online presence can look really bad and can give the impression that the organization is out-of-touch with today’s online world, it can be just as big of a mistake if they are oversharing.  Too frequent of updates can bother customers and can drive them away from seeing the messages that are important to your key value stream.

Tip:  Only post information from your company’s social media platforms if it adds value to your organization’s brand.  Personal posts should be strictly off-limits. 

3)      Talking at your customers

Many organizations are still stuck in an old line of thinking when pushing their marketing campaigns.  Rather than engaging customers at a level where they can be involved in the conversation, businesses tell them what they think they want to hear and push the message at them.  This oftentimes will illicit little feedback and will register as more background noise in an increasingly noisy online world.

Tip:  Shama Kabani provides a great chapter in her book “The Zen of Social Media Marketing” on this exact topic.  In order to fully realize the benefits of social media marketing, it is necessary for an organization to use their social media platforms to create conversations with their customers.  Broadcasting a message is not nearly as well received as a discussion that falls within a customer’s core values. 

Technology is becoming increasingly intertwined in all aspects of organizations and it is incredibly important that your organization’s online presence is managed properly.  Following the tips above is a good start, but it takes a concerted effort to create a continuous strategic advantage using social media platforms.

If you have other areas in which organizations are making mistakes with social media, please leave a comment by clicking the comment link at the top of this post and be sure to follow me on twitter (@burked585).

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