Social Dysfunction: Three Social Marketing Pitfalls To Avoid

As social media continues its red-hot reign, new social marketing tools continue to arrive. Some are legitimately helpful, many deliver little value -- and others are so counterintuitive that they actually detract from your marketing efforts.

The truth is, we have only ourselves to blame. As marketers, we are often so comfortable with “batch and blast” styles of communication that we automatically reach for tools promising automation. Doing so can poison not just social media efforts, but entire brands.

The beauty of social media is that it offers a two-way conversation instead of an unsolicited one-way blast. By starting with small and organic methods like engaging in meaningful conversations and offering value, you will establish yourself as a trusted provider. If your organization has an existing social media infrastructure for customer service, you can also take a look at its procedures and results. But if you’re forging virgin territory, you’re best off starting small and going slow, even if you represent a big brand.



Remember, this is a channel that has not been totally ruined by spam -- yet. Customers still trust social media because of its authenticity. But that trust goes out the window once marketers begin unleashing the wrong tools -- like the three types below.

  1. Message automation: Your goal is to provide organic content and conversations that are relevant to influencers and engaged buyers. Automating messages sends the idea that you have nothing of value to say, and what you do have to say is canned. 
  2. Auto follow: Following keyword-selected users leads to garbage followers and nothing more. To gain high-caliber followers, you can’t be a stranger at the door -- after all, you’re only let into a house if the resident knows you. Start with a list of influencers within your space, study their audience engagement and produce good content that people want to read. Reach out to your connections with a solid social presence or get a blog article featured through popular channels and encourage readers to follow you. It’s not an overnight process, but the results are worth the effort.
  3. Outsourced social maintenance: Given that your CRM and your marketing automation solutions often have a dedicated admin, you might fall into the trap of outsourcing your social media channel management as well. But you wouldn't outsource your own conversations to a third party -- and that’s exactly what your social accounts are. They are your voice. Stay authentic, and don’t use consultants who promise to boost your social following. It won’t lead to true engagement or advocacy -- only hollow numbers.

The right tools for a smart approach

With these three types of tools out of the running, you might be asking whether there are any good tools to grow a high-profile social presence -- and the answer is yes. For now, the best bet is measurement and conversion tools. These will tell you who is engaging with your social messaging and who is consuming your promoted information.

To make these tools work, of course you’ll need to have a strong marketing automation platform and a solid social media strategy. Plan out the types of content you want to promote via social media, the buyer personas you’re targeting, and most importantly, how you’ll engage those leads after they provide their contact information. Nurture campaigns and lead scoring should also be considered as you build your following; those first interactions help shape your strategy and evaluate results. Then when it really does come time to automate some of these interactions, you’ll have the data to justify additional budget or hires. 

And really, no matter how big a brand you represent, starting out small and building smart is key. Social media is no different than any other type of marketing initiative. The added bonus here is that intelligent use of the right social media tools is the perfect complement to your existing marketing system.





1 comment about "Social Dysfunction: Three Social Marketing Pitfalls To Avoid".
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  1. Justin Belmont from Prose Media, October 14, 2013 at 6:02 p.m.

    “Your goal is to provide organic content and conversations that are relevant to influencers and engaged buyers.” I could not agree more. Many time, brands believe that providing any kind of content is good enough-- but only content that your followers find relevant and interesting is going to get you ahead. While it may take more time to find or produce this content, quality is greater than quantity. Blasting your followers with 50 tweets a day won’t do anything if your followers aren't paying attention. I also think it is important to reach out to your followers to form a relationship-- which, again, makes them more likely to turn to you for content and potentially sales.

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