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Top Social Media Marketing Mistakes You’re Likely to Make in 2013 and How to Avoid Them 

Social Media Marketing Mistakes Brands Made in 2012… or What NOT to Do in 2013

Social media can deliver the kind of returnfew other marketing tactics can, if you use it wisely.

As a marketing tool, social media seemingly knows no bounds. Businesses large and small, B2B and B2C, and all manner of brands are flocking to it like monster truck fans to free beer hour. Any time something experiences such rapid growth, be it a technology or a marketing tactic, there are bound to be growing pains, and social media use among marketers is no different.

As we ease our way into 2013, here is a look at some of the top social media marketing mistakes marketers are making now. Recognition is the key to avoidance for your organization this year.  Take a look at this social media mistake 6-pack, and plot a course around them to social media marketing success in 2013.

Not Enough Segments…. or Worse, None at All

Failure to segment is a massive fail indeed, yet it  one of the most common social media marketing mistakes organizations make. They embrace social media, but their hug grabs everything at once. Better to take a step back and address each market segment individually.

Who Are They?

Identify key market segments, core buyers for each, what their key problems and motivations are. Know the exact kind of content that creates value for them, when to publish / share it, and when to support it with social media. Your social media initiatives should align with each segment and your goals for them.

Example: If you’re an aftermarket auto parts supplier, segment your market and multiple twitter, Facebook, and Instagram accounts, each supporting a segment. There will be some overlap in what you Tweet or share, but that way each will have stronger appeal, be more effective, and give you better feedback you can use to improve your marketing.

Effective segmentation here would include auto manufacturers, so you’d have a different Twitter feed for Honda, Nissan, Chevrolet, and Ford. Most car owners, especially those that purchase aftermarket auto parts, tend to be brand loyal.  A Honda guy is loathe to slide behind the wheel of a Chevy or Nissan, for example.

This kind of segmentation lets you deliver promotions, news, and content that will not only appeal more strongly to the recipient, but is more

Segmentation is often te difference between a great campaign and, well, not so much…

likely to be shared, a key goal of your social media marketing. Offer conversion will be higher, consumer engagement better, and you’ll build stronger relationships and customer bonds to keep business strong in the months and years ahead.

B2B works in much the same way. In fact, the auto parts example could well include both B2B and B2C, as an aftermarket auto parts supplier will market both to consumers and to businesses such as auto service centers, dealerships, and auto parts supply stores. For maximum effectiveness, these businesses all require segmentation.

Support each segment with powerful content. Yes, you have to have great content for each segment, but still, few will find it on their own. After a time, your pages and feeds may reach that stage where some viral component takes over, and followers appear as if by magic, but except in very rare occasions, it doesn’t happen by itself, and it probably won’t for you, either. Don’t allocate resources to create a social media presence if you’re not going to follow it up with a solid promotional effort, because basically, if you don’t say anything about them……

Who Knows……

About your social media initiatives? In all too many cases, the answer is: No One! Why? Businesses set up a Facebook page or Twitter account, and then expect their customers to find their way there as if by some divine intervention.

It doesn’t happen that way. If you want your customers to find your social media presence, you have to promote it. That goes beyond social media badges on your website or at your physical locations. Empower your employees to promote your social media. Counter people, CSRs, and others dealing with customers should all encourage them to visit your social media sites.

Going further, it works well to give customers incentive for doing so. Imagine how your Facebook fan base would grow if every cashier in your business told customers about the 10% off coupon they would get for visiting and liking your Facebook page. It’s not enough to just put signage at the front desk, or counter, either, although that is certainly a step in the right direction. Make sure your employees actively promote your social media sites to your customers.

Miss Management for 2013 is…..

Actually mismanagement is nothing exclusive to social media, but not properly managing your company’s social media presence can lead to ineffective efforts at best, and utter disaster at worst. Remember, you’ve got a social media marketing plan in place (You do, don’t you?), and you spent big bucks developing it.

Follow the plan. Make appropriate adjustments, sure, but remember, you’re on a path to a goal. Social media is a strategy, not a willy-nilly journey through the rosebushes. That means active management is a must. It will not only keep you from falling headlong into he kind of mistakes I’m detailing here, it will keep you on track to reach your objectives faster and more cost effectively.

Unfortunately, many brands aren’t really prepared for the kind of resources several actively managed social media campaigns take, leading them to the next big mistake…..

Pass The Buck(s)

Under allocating resources to the social media campaigns is another common error. As much as many organizations are loathe to add additional marketing staffers, a community manager or three are becoming essential personnel.

The demands of conducting properly segmented social media campaigns, with all their attendant follow up mean that adding those duties to an existing employee’s workload just doesn’t get the job done. They can run your campaigns, but you’ll likely not see anywhere near the results you should be.

Between blogging, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, and all the different tasks they entail, it’s easy to see how even the most efficient employee using the best social media management tools can soon become overwhelmed if social media and community building is just part of their job function.

Another huge advantage of ponying up for a dedicated community or social media manager, is that you’ll have a real live human that takes ownership of and responsibility for your social media endeavors.

Get That Foot Out of Your Mouth… or Keyboard

The list of gaffes firms make is legendary, yet it happens over and over again. In 2011, Australian airline Quantas launched a huge Twitter campaign just as it’s employees went on strike. Not only couldn’t the company support any new business the campaign generated, they weren’t flying passengers at all, leaving customers more than a bit miffed.

Such mistakes often happen when the marketing department is asleep at the switch, there is a  coordination issue between marketing and other departments, or employees (or even execs) don’t think about what they’re posting or Tweeting before they hit send.

We tend to view things through our own prism. It’s pretty tough to get away from that, too, and the tendency has conspired to torpedo more than one exec that should have known better. Just because a Tweet seems eminently reasonable to you, it may not align with your brand’s image or company goals.

Take a minute to examine it, or better yet, run it up the corporate flagpole. Sure, timeliness is of the essence in social media, but if others think your message is all wet, it gives you a chance to shelve it before someone gets hurt.

The problem is the social media amplification effect. The same way a blisteringly perfect post goes viral and gives you more exposure than you could have hoped for, one mistake can be enough to flip that on its head and pillory your brand.

Just ask Kenneth Cole, GoDaddy CEO Bob Parsons, British Petroleum, or the many others that have firmly inserted a size 12 in their dental area.

Keeping all but key employees from posting on the company account can help avoid fax paux, the likes of which can subject your brand to a sound, online thrashing such as the kind endured by Kitchen Aid earlier this year.

Kitchen Aid learned how not to conduct your social media campaign this year, after a staffer Tweeted out “Obamas gma even knew it was going 2 b bad! She died 3 days b4 he became president. #nbcpolitics”. In addition to the fact that the Tweeter neglected to add an apostrophe in the President’s name, offending half the company’s potential market was a plain stupid move, especially when perpetrated from the company account.

To it’s credit, the company quickly apologized, but the damage was obviously done.

The Metric(s) System

Finally, there are sure to be those who can’t really tell if their social media campaigns are a success, because they simply don’t measure them, or measure them incorrectly. Knowing if your social media marketing is successful is all about knowing what to measure, and then actually doing it.

After all, in the end, it’s all about ROI. If you’re not generating a positive ROI from your social media efforts, it’s time to reallocate those resources elsewhere. In order to make such a decision however, you’ll have to measure what the heck is going on.

So, What to Measure?

Measure! Measure! Measure!

First, there’s the biggie, the one everyone tends to focus on when he subject of social media metrics rears its head: connections. How many Twitter followers, Facebook fans, and Pinterest friends does your brand have? That’s huge, to be sure, but it goes far deeper than that. It’s not all about quantity, there’s more to see here.

Views, for one…

Because really, it matters not how many you’re connected to if no one ever visits, right? More importantly, what do they do when they get there? Are you engaging them, and they you? That’s where engagement rate comes into play.

Not only do you have to amass followers, fans, and friends, then get them to look at what you have, but they must engage, or it’ all a big waste of time.

When they are engaged, what do they do? To find that, you’ve got to be doing some click tracking using or another url shortening service that allows click tracking. If you’re including links in your email marketing, your platform will allow you to track clicks as well.

This post on delves much deeper into social media metrics and how they can help you. Suffice it to say too many businesses throw up a social media campaign, but fall short on the measurement aspect necessary to maximize their ROI.

 The Mistakes, a Recap

In 2013, these are likely to be some of the most common social media errors business make, because they were big in 2012, and they’re the kind of mistakes that keep popping up over and over again. We’ve seen them in our clients, and others too. Here’s hoping they’ll become less prevalent in the new year:

  • No, or inadequate segmentation
  • Not promoting your social media initiatives
  • Failure to properly manage social media presence
  • Not Committing Enough Resources to Make it Work
  • Politically or socially insensitive social media posts
  • Execs not being active in social media
  • Execs saying the wrong things in social media
  • Forgetting Your Metrics

Hopefully you can avoid these social media marketing mistakes in the new year, and turn 13 into a lucky number.

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