Social media marketing: What not to do

Many businesses get it wrong when using the likes of Twitter and Facebook to promote themselves. Chris Barling offers a guide to the most common mistakes.

With a marketing hat on I look at the latest social networking usage figures and find it hard not to salivate. Facebook has more than 400m active users, and more than 500bn minutes per month are spent by users online. Reinforcing the impression, Twitter has over 100m users, growing by 300,000 per day. On average there are 55m tweets per day. YouTube is the same, both growing and retaining users at an impressive rate. The figures are truly extraordinary.

Social networks succeed for a simple reason; the principle that binds them together is based on conversation and interaction. While this may sound great for us personally, for marketers it’s a major problem.
 
Many brands have tried and failed to introduce bare-faced marketing offers to their social network followers, and classic examples of companies getting it wrong come from almost every point of the business spectrum. The core problem is anything seen as blatant advertising sticks out like a sore thumb and is likely to either be at best ignored, or at worst, ridiculed.
 
The way to engage with people is to be interesting and interactive. But doing this implies individual interactions, and this is where a lot of advice on marketing to social networks falls down: failing to understand the problems of scale. It’s true that you could gain a vast number of followers on Twitter, a huge group of friends on Facebook and possibly huge numbers might join your fan page. But why would they bother?
 
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Comments
karenreyburn's picture

it's about having conversations

karenreyburn | | Permalink

Agree here - social networking is there so people can connect socially.  Because our work/job is part of our life, that comes out too.  But if you seek social networking as a marketing tool, it will become painfully obvious. Couldn't agree more.