This week, exactly a week from the purported end of the world, we’re starting something new (eat that, Mayan doomsayers!); a segment where we draw on the talents and game-changing thinking of industry experts to take on pressing advertising, branding and creative challenges.
Let’s kick off with probably one of the most basic questions asked by those venturing into the digital sphere; “What are the most common mistakes brands make when going social?” The floor is yours, thinkers of the world.
Ron Bender, Veteran Mentor Network Volunteer
• Not determining an overall strategy before jumping in.
• Not selecting the right person to manage their social media presence.
• Not posting regularly, posting too often, or SELLING TOO MUCH.
• Hiding negative comments rather than being transparent and using their solutions to build trust and rapport.
• Not aligning all marketing and PR efforts, including social media.
Saygin Tezel, Managing Director at TU Force Media
• Only communicating when there’s a new campaign
• Staying cold and aloof; social media is a living thing, you must act accordingly
• Only communicating when people complain
• Not getting professionals to handle social communications
Kristen Kramer, Owner & Designer at Girl Friday Virtual Office
• Starting with gusto then just letting their site become dormant… huge problem
• Constantly feeding their audience a pitch. Use social media to be a resource to your audience and be sure you’re actively participating with the posts on your site.
Liviu Nedef, Experienced Investment Professional
• Trying to ‘sell themselves’. Consumers want brands to do more than sell them stuff, so why not think what is the right way to engage? Finding ways to generate user content should be one of the top priorities for any brand that wants to build a meaningful presence. Also, I’ve seen many brands that jump straight in with both feet without clear business allignment and objectives.
Jay Lebo, Principal at Gravitas Business Architects
• They’re not really being social; they’re just treating it like another advertising channel
• The only people engaged with social are those who have it in their job titles, when really everyone should be involved
• They don’t reply when addressed directly
• They hide behind the brand so you never know the names or personalities of the people with whom you’re engaging — that’s not very social
• They don’t commit, so their activities are sporadic; then they wonder why they’re not getting traction
David Fallon, Internet Marketing Strategist at L-com
• Not being transparent on the social media. Of course, you don’t have to go on there and spill the beans, but also don’t blatantly lie on there either. People who do so and are caught, which happens more often than you think, have just set themselves up for the slaughter. It’s just too easy for your audience to share things like that.
• Inconsistent branding. Some companies will have one person do Facebook, another do LinkedIn, and another person do Twitter. That’s all fine, so long as they talk to one another. The problem is we haven’t gotten to the point where people are only really using one platform or the other, so if you make claims on one platform that contradict things said on another, chances are very good you will be caught and, once again, everyone will know.
• Not using social media to be social. Marketers in particular are used to a one-way system: they talk, the audience either listens or ignores them. Social media is not a billboard or a print ad or even a direct marketing campaign. Yet, I, and I’m sure many other people, look at my various accounts to see that they are filled with obvious “blasts”, not really conversation starters and certainly not actual conversations. Those don’t work in social media because the users see right through them and then ignore them.
Kara Godsey, Freelance Marketing and Content Specialist at Pretty Penny Marketing
• Updating non-stop or updating far too frequently
• Talking AT followers instead of talking WITH followers (failing to respond to comments or acknowledge specific users; failure to engage and invite discussion)
• Using only a single type of message/update (Ex: On Facebook, using only text updates instead of mixing it up with videos, links, images, polls)
• Neglecting to set clear guidelines and policies for separation of employees’ personal and professional presence on social media–employees’ personal accounts should not be linked in any way with that of the company
Well there you have it, folks. If you’ve been doing any of the things our experts are warning you against, it’s not the end of the world (at least, not yet!); just start over. On the right foot, this time.