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7 Deadly Sins of Social Media

I love the passion that people have for Social Media and for those who have dedicated their time to learning the tools of the trade, and are open to the constant change that is a part of life in Social Media. Like many industries out there, business owners look to their bottom line and sometimes make poor choices on who they hire to represent their brand; whether that’s a designer, marketer, or Social Media person.

What we need is a certain level of training before the keys to someone’s brand and accounts are handed over. So to help start the conversation, I present to you the 7 Deadly Sins Of Social Media:

Creating an account on every network

Truth time. You can’t be all things to all people all the time. It just can’t happen, especially without a large team to manage everything. The first thing I advise people is to be selective of where they want to be in Social Media. Take a look at the audience you are trying to talk to. Are the professional, creative, info-junkies, or looking for humor? Where do THEY spend their time online?

Knowing your audience will help focus on what networks to join and where to avoid wasting time and effort. I have clients that are not on Facebook, others not on Twitter, because it would be a waste of their time and money to be there. When you show you care about how their money is spent, it shows you care about the brand.

Not having a plan

Probably just as important is to have a plan. What? Have a strategy behind your marketing efforts? Blasphemy! I know a lot of people just want to jump in the world of Social Media because they feel they need to catch up or hit the ground running, but what is important is to identify what you are going to do on these networks.

How many posts are you going to throw out there? Who will monitor for comments/remarks, and when? If you want to have videos, what’s the production calendar to make sure you are making relevant content? These are just a few things to consider before punching down the gas pedal.

Forgetting to post content

To put it into perspective, success in Social Media is like training for a Marathon, not a Sprint. It’s really about the long game, because you are trying to build a network of followers/customers/evangelists/etc. who are loyal to you and your brand. So consistency is key.

You don’t have to post 30 times a day (it’s a sure fire way of everyone ignoring you if that’s your goal) but being consistent with your posting calendar is vital. If you run a blog, schedule specific days to have content go online (and plan what will go online). Don’t fall into the common trappings of being absent from posting, and try to fill that void with vomiting a ton of content in one day. It’s not how much you post, it’s when you post, and the quality. A healthy Social Media plan has enough “fiber” to be regular.

Quick note: You will be faced with many questions from those who write your checks on making something go viral, just like that one thing that everyone is talking about right now. What most people don’t see is that overnight success is years in the making. Having a few examples in the pocket to showcase how long it took to get noticed is always handy to calm others down.

Creating a Silo

Another thing that I have run into has been thinking Social Media is a stand-alone service, and has no place in the overall marketing plan. I can’t stress enough that this is 100% false. This last year, I started a Social Media campaign for a client, and the marketing director couldn’t understand why it wasn’t taking off more. I asked them a simple question: “How do people know these things exist if we don’t tell them?”

Throughout the ads that were taken out and the marketing pieces for events no mention was being given to the fact we were also online and approachable. Once that was remedied, we saw a huge influx of growth in not only numbers but comments and sharing. Social Media isn’t the fix-all for everything, but another weapon in your marketing arsenal.

The traditional media networks of TV, Radio and Print all had to work together on the same plan, so why should Social Media be any different.

Ignoring comments

Taking #4 one step further, if people are commenting and sharing your content, or reaching out to you, make sure you are responding. You don’t know how far a simple “Thank You” can go, even online. One of my current clients has a Facebook page. We were receiving several questions from a single person, and I worked on responding as soon as possible. This helped not only satisfy their answers, but it brought others into the conversation.

On a side note, that same person eventually decided they didn’t like our brand, and wrote several inappropriate comments on every single post we had posted on Facebook. It was the first person I ever had to ban. And because of the transparency we had been using with responding to comments, no one asked why they were banned or if it was a bad thing. Being honest and transparent can be a great CYA policy for your brand.

Creating an online billboard

A lot of these Deadly Sins revolve around content, and what you post, and the truth is you live and die by content now. The last thing people want to see is your content being another avenue for advertising how great you are, or why they need your product. You want to be crafting a story through Social Media that works with your marketing plan. Is it time to push winter goods? Post about the “5 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Do With (Insert Brand Here) Hot Cocoa Mix.” You’re not advertising a BOGO deal that might be going on, but creating value and intrigue through some new perspective on how to use the product.

Each network/channel you choose to be on in Social Media has its own set of subtle language variations and cultures. ROI means one thing to a sales person, and another to someone working in healthcare. Go native. Be like Kevin Costner is Dances With Wolves, (maybe too old of a reference), or like Sam Worthington in Avatar. You’re bringing a new message, but in a way and context that the community in that corner of the internet understands.

Make it all about you

In my humble opinion the world will be better off without another blogger thinking they are the gift of God in how they put together an outfit. Or a wannabe Kardashian. How often do you meet someone who only talks about themselves? How many people really want to be their friend? Truth is, sharing is caring, and we were right on with that when we were kids. Some things never go out of style, and caring about others is a great start.

I hope you enjoyed this, and if there’s anything I missed, or you think shouldn’t be here, drop me a note, and let’s chat!