Outlining four of the most commonly made mistakes in social media marketing and how to avoid the backlash of each.
Most marketers agree that marketing on social media is something that businesses should without hesitation actively engage in to increase their profits. However, as with anything there are effective ways to do this as well as a few not so effective actions one can take in social media marketing. Some of the "not so effectives" can lead businesses down a destructive path that catapults them into a social media marketing nightmare.
Says public relations expert Karen Carrera in a guest post on the official blog of Twitter marketing tool developer SocialCentiv, "Everyone loves a social media train wreck. Take Amy's Baking Company. Their self-induced social media nightmare began after super chef Gordon Ramsey refused to finish filming a "Kitchen Nightmares" episode with the owners. Amy's actually had a track record of raging against the dissatisfied, but they blew it out of the water after the Ramsey incident went public, attacking, on Facebook, "reddits and yelpers" [sic] as trash, pathetic and weak. The page is still there if you want a real lesson on how NOT to engage with customers!"
It can be difficult to bounce back from such fails, as many experts in the field like Carrera suggest; therefore, the best strategies involve taking steps to avoid them altogether. A key first step is recognizing what actions to stay away from. The following are four of the most self-destructive patterns of businesses when it comes to social media marketing that should be avoided.
1) Taking an eye for an eye approach to responding to customer complaints on social networks - As Carrera points out in her article, utilizing social media to address customer complaints should be done in a responsible manner. She suggests, "Social media has redefined customer service. And while plenty of companies want to put their head in the sand to either ignore – or worse, abuse – unhappy customers, progressive companies are taking the opportunity to engage those customers and recover their business."
Opting for a digital shouting match over hurt feelings is not only a sure way to lose a customer whose good graces one is trying to get back in, but it will ward off masses of potential customers who wouldn't want to do business with an establishment that gives them heat for being dissatisfied with a product or service.
2) Careless or irrelevant tweeting - Several major brands have made headlines over their social media campaign fails in the past few years. One incident involved J.C. Penny's attempts to promote mittens by enlisting a staffer to tweet while wearing a pair during the Super Bowl. With everyone not being in on the idea, many consumers and companies alike took shots at the retailer believing the grammatically incorrect tweets were attributed to someone tweeting while intoxicated. Before using such tactics, make sure others will actually get it.
3) Failing to pay attention to customers on social media - Users are extremely vocal about their wants, needs, likes, and dislikes on social media outlets like Twitter. Not taking the time to assess their posts when devising strategies to connect with them before shoving a campaign in their face can have serious consequences.
Case in point when DiGiorno Pizza mistakenly made customers believe the company was making fun of domestic violence after it attempted a promotion using a popular hashtag in the wrong context. While others were using #WhyIStayed to discuss issues of domestic violence following controversy after the release of a video of a professional football player involved in an altercation with his then fiancé on an elevator, the company caused an uproar by tweeting "#whyistayed You had pizza."
4) Being too cliché in marketing driven posts - Keeping in the spirit of the top reasons not to jump on the bandwagon of blind, careless hashtagging or tweeting, it is important to point out that being too cliché can be off putting as well. Businesses should be leery of using hashtags or any other social media marketing tools that are already over used or out of style.
Macy English, SocialCenitv