It’s estimated that about 40-60% of most social media marketing initiatives will fall flat on their digital faces moving into 2011 according to a number of analytics firms!
Social Media marketing is taking on some of the behavioral characteristics of the “.com bomb” days - they hype is overshadowing the reality. Some steps to avoid if you want to be successful via social media marketing.
1) Integrate your social media marketing campaign with your overall marketing strategy. This means making sure you just don’t bolt on a Twitter, Facebook or YouTube account to your overall marketing and leave it to that.
For example, cross promote your YouTube marketing by embedding some of your videos in your Blog posts, integrate links to videos via your Twitter and Facebook accounts and feature it in a Newsletter or EMail marketing campaign.
2) Falling in love with your social media guru/expert/digital sage (self included) and following blindly down the path with whatever she/he recommends. I’m a digital strategist and I don’t claim to be an expert at social media marketing and shudder when I hear the term used.
The entire social media eco system is only two to three years and no one is an expert. Yes, those of us with experience can help as a digital guide but walk away from anyone that claims to be an expert.
3) Not involving your entire staff with your social media initiatives. An effective social media marketing campaign should integrate your sales team, customer service representatives and even members or your management team. For the latter, social media can help to put more of a humanizing face on your business, especially if larger business.
4) Not using some type of social media policy and procedures (click hyperlink for details on latter). This does not need to be a massive, detailed five page document - a simple one page or less outline will help to put some structure in the marketing processes. Social media is transparent - you may not want your interns uploading images of the company Christmas party showing your CEO wearing antlers dancing around with a drink in each hand to your Facebook Wall or Twitter account via TwitPic.
5) Not tracking ROI for your social media marketing initiatives. This can be as simple as using a URL shortener like Bit.Ly, coupled with Google Analytics and baseline metrics available via HootSuite or Klout. But, set up some tracking capabilities on the front end of your campaign to have some sense of which facet(s) of your campaign are producing results.
6) Falling in love with the big four Social Media Platforms and ignoring everything else. Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn are getting the attention but there’s more to social media marketing than just concentrating on these platforms and communities. Yes, you probably want a presence on at least two of these, depending on campaign goals, size of your company, etc.
But, a Blog is still a powerful way to drive great search rankings, engage with your customers/community and it can be easily cross promoted via an effective content marketing strategy via other platforms. It might be staid in the age of all things/persons in love with Facebook. But, a Blog can do some wonderful things for any social media marketing initiative.
7) Ignoring baseline search engine ranking tactics and strategies. Your social content needs to be integrated with your overall SEO campaign; i.e. keywords should be incorporated with content, encourage viral repeaters to drive backlinks, embed your links within and across the social web (Posterous, Tumblr, LinkedIn Groups, etc.).
8) Assuming a social marketing strategy is going to be free or extremely low cost. The gotchas in social media marketing costs are in the labor costs, not so much in the platform or applications, which are free or very low cost. But, creating quality blogs, building a following via Twitter and Facebook require some real effort - yes, Twitter for example is still growing rapidly. But, it takes time to garner a following (these people have ADD) and engage with them.
9) Not taking some risks and being creative is a deal killer in VC speak. Go big or go home right? Be creative with your content, images, videos, etc. The satirical picture integrated with this Blog post was pulled from today’s Boing Boing Newsletter, which in turn received a submission of a real life poster done in a neighborhood in London. (Or, could be clever ad agency trying to get some attention.)
I don’t know of any formula that ensures success with social media marketing initiatives, other than avoiding some of the activities I’ve mentioned in this blog post, coupled with hard work, an engaging content strategy and connecting with your social consumer!