How to do Social Media Right

by Jason Fredin

Recently I have been listening to a new radio show in London called “Persuasion Inc. Advertising Exposed”.

Go ahead and tune in to this once a month show (or infomercial) or check it out online at Persuasion Inc’s page at AM980.ca.

On their last show titled “Dangers of Word of Mouth and Social Media Advertising” Craig gives an excellent overview on how you can run your own social media campaign into the ground. Not that any of his information is incorrect, it just doesn’t mention that there are plenty of ways to use social media effectively.

So how can we correct the ways businesses fail when it comes to social media? Let’s look at how to avoid Compel Media’s 10 Steps to Social Media Advertising Damage:

1, You come (or are led) to believe, social media advertising can replace traditional advertising.

This is a horrible way to run a campaign, with any form of media. Never put all of your eggs in one basket. Every company requires a mix of approaches to reach out to their target market. This mix will vary widely depending on the particular product.

2, You cancel some or all traditional advertising in lieu of “FREE” Social Media Advertising.

Again… see number one. Also mentioned on the show that there is “no such thing as a free lunch.” All marketing efforts have a cost to them, be it in discounts, media production, or purchasing air time, social media has underlying costs as well. Budget for these costs just as you would any other promotional program.

3, You or one of your staff “work” your social media.

Like any duty within your business, choosing the right person for the job is key. Finding a person familiar with social media and it’s use as a promotional tool might not always lend itself to an internal person. Just as not every company has a photographer on staff, there are many firms and freelancers out there who can handle these tasks. Putting together a social media strategy should assess your team’s abilities and use outside help to shore up your weaknesses.

No matter who runs your social media properties also needs guidelines. Have a conversation about how you want the business represented online. This avoids the need to have every post “approved” by several people and can set boundaries as well.

4, Your social media advertising or “feeds” are initially sales pitches for your services or products (because people love being “sold” in social settings).

You know you are in trouble if giving something away is the only way you can get attention. Treat social media just like you would any social setting. First, it helps if a known figure can introduce you to new people. Second, don’t try to steer the conversation to what it is that you want to talk about. You can learn a lot by taking your time and listen to what others are talking about, chime in when you feel comfortable and have something constructive to say. Just being a contributing member of the community will get you some recognition.

5, You soon find people only seem to respond to deep discount deals you offer. You find yourself offering such at increasingly frequent intervals.

Unless bargain hunters are your target demographic, I see no need to chase people like this. Although periodic give-aways and contests can build some buzz and good will if you use give-aways strategically. [1]

6, While you were originally updating a couple times a day, you soon run out of creative things to say….and you can’t afford to keep giving things away.

As above, you will run out of things to say if all you do is use social media as a platform to broadcast. There is always something to say or respond to when you engage the community.

7, Your updates become much less frequent.

Resist the urge to say something just for the sake of hearing your own voice. Maybe find someone with similar interests and try asking questions, the same thing you might do in a “real life” social setting.

8, Your intermittent future updates become personal puff pieces, sayings & sales pitches…accomplishing little.

I know creating content can be hard, but keep at it. What about thanking an employee for their hard work? rTraction did it on Labour Day and it was noticed widely. Who wouldn’t want to work for a company like that? See [2][3][4][5]

9, You’re now just part of the ignored background of your followers feeds…or worse, you’re an irritant.

Make sure you are listening and trying to gauge the response of the community. If you are being ignored it’s time to reevaluate your efforts and consider making a change. Consider more sharing and retweeting content you like from others, it can be just as important in building relationships.

10, Months pass…thousands, tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars of business are lost.

This is the end result we are trying to avoid. Like any other form of promotion, having a way to measure the returns on your investment are the only way to decide if your current marketing mix is working.

Not to say that I haven’t seen this pattern in many companies’ efforts, but these are just a few (of many) ways to avoid Compel Media’s 10 Steps to Social Media Advertising Damage.