For some reason people think I dislike social media. I don't, I'm actually a huge fan of social media and social media marketing. I simply dislike the way most people DO social media or promote social media. That's why I found Catherine Toole's post seeking to define the seven deadly sins of social media to be a worthwhile read.
Catherine is looking for reader feedback to help her finalize this list before she speaks on the topic at next week's Online Marketing Show in London, England.
Here's what she has so far:
1. Not setting a strategy before you start. "We should have a blog" says the CEO. And so it begins...
2. Going for volume. (ie Myspace) over a targeted, specialist community (ie brickshelf.com for LEGO enthusiasts).
3. Ignoring the rules of engagement. Posting corporate salespeak on messageboards, for example, or 'digging' your own stuff. Wasting people's time with irrelevant blog entries about your new pet...
4. Not having the resource, the skills – or possibly the staying power – to maintain your content; to respond quickly and appropriately to negative comments/questions/reviews, or to participate in debates about your products or services.
5. Failing to be transparent and to fully disclose your connection to a product/company.
6. Expecting it to be easy. Building trust online takes time and requires brands to be both open and generous – to freely share their expertise and to work hard to create genuinely interesting and useful content.
7. Ignoring best practice in web writing. Providing good quality content in web-friendly formats which is usable, easy to find through search engines and written to brand guidelines which encompass social media.
I actually think it's a pretty accurate list...especially #2 and #6.
Really, the biggest problem with social media seems to be a general misunderstanding of the difference between marketing subtly verses the usual "in-your-face" or "seeker-generated" style of marketing that most of us are useful. Social Media really just provides a new and interactive venue for traditional word of mouth marketing.
Thus, the companies that learn how to go where their customers are and how to gently speak their language are the most likely to find themselves reaping the rewards of this powerful new medium.
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