The 11 Social Media Mistakes: Are you Guilty?

In a recent issue of Mashable, ClickZ reporter Sundeep Kapur, had a great piece on the 11 mistakes brands continue to make in social media. Surprising as these may be for those of us who’ve been doing social for a while, the list is thoughtful and applies to nonprofits as much as it does to brands.

Nonprofits spend less time and money on their social media, presumably for lack of resources. But as this article attests, you don’t have to have a lot of money, buy a lot of widgets or have a to have an engaging presence.

The trick to success on social media is the same trick for success in friendship: be nice, respond when spoken to and have something interesting to say.  Here’s the list of social media mistakes, pared down for nonprofits:

1. Run specials all the time. In a struggle to keep the consumer engaged, brands tend to keep offering consumers special deals. This all-out effort to discount and lure tends to have a negative impact by devaluing the brand and devaluing the relationship.

2. Wait for people to come. Brands set up shop on social media sites and simply wait for the consumer to come and find them. They do little to engage via dialogue or by trying to market along other channels. They have simply set up shop and expect that it is good enough to drive consumers in.

3. Run contests and games all the time. Gamification is the new buzzword for engagement with many brands investing significantly in games to engage their consumers. Additionally, brands tend to run multiple contests, which results in severely diluting their engagement to conversion metrics.

4. Block negative feedback. Many top brands tend to either block or ignore negative feedback. If you put up a comment on their site they either take it down or have a defined strategy to push the bad comments as far down as possible. This strategy diminishes the value of the positive comments.

5. Launch press releases on social media. Do you pay attention to more than 300 characters or watch long video clips? Brands tend to forget the conversational nature of engagement on social media sites – short, interesting stories are a much better way to engage.

6. Wait 24 hours to respond. Some brands take a long time to respond because they only check “social feedback” twice a week. Other brands take a long time to respond because they have to get approval before they can respond. The problem is that if you take too long, the consumer will probably call your brand for an answer or move over to someone else.

7. Not connecting your channels. Always a classic with the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing. Just two weeks ago, a major travel company sent two types of incentives – a gas discount card by email that shaved 10 cents off each gallon and a gas discount offer via social media that offered a five cent discount. It took a direct mail piece to fix the issue.

8. Just rolling along. Some brands feel that it’s OK to reach a certain critical mass in social media after which their sites can just “roll along.” The snowball can roll the wrong way and hurt brands.  Focus on “likes.” A blind focus on driving up “likes” has led to the “like” button being devalued and resulted in significantly lower ROI.

9. “Wait” to get started. Believe it or not there are still brands, especially in the financial services area, that are waiting for the social media “fad” to end.

For the complete article go to:  11 Deadly Social Media Sins for Brands by Sundeep Kapur

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5 Tips for Twitter Success

Social media stresses some people out.  That’s largely because the possibilities for promoting who you are, and what you, seem endless with Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, YouTube and other applications.

And most people don’t feel like they have the time to use all these tools.  The good news is, you don’t need to spend every waking moment on these social media platforms to create an effective online presence

Over the next few weeks, I’ll offer a series of tips that maximize the impact of social media while minimizing the amount of time you spend online.  Let’s start with Twitter, the “microblogging” site.  Here are five things you can do right now that are easy and fast:

1. Retweet – Retweeting sounds basic, but this is the fastest and easiest thing you can do when you are pressed for time.  By reposting what one of your followers said, you provide value and gain creditability.  Just make sure the links before you RT as there is nothing more irritating than being taken to a broken link.

2. Answer Questions – This is especially true when the person asking has a large following. This is how you become part of the conversation. Respond with the @NAME sign and say something interesting. If you do, those who follow the questioner will see your post, and come to see what else you have to say.

3. Ask a question – This also starts a conversation and gets people talking. Add a hash tag (#) so people can follow along.  Health is Social (@HealthisSocial) has launched a Twitter chat for doctors. They are talking and asking questions and generated a lot of interest in #MDchat. Why not try the same thing with your followers?

4. Be Relevant – The quickest way to lose followers is to say what you had for breakfast (are you listening Joe?) so make sure you tweet something that has value.  If you read or hear something great, tweet it, even if it’s not focused on your industry.  You can cut a broad cloth, just make it interesting and make it your own.

5. Follow Friday – Recommend someone to follow with #FF hash tag. This is an easy way to offer something valuable, quickly. I like to tell people why too. Like this: “#FF @ShabbirSafdar 4 great analytic tips” or “#FF @AdAge 4 great case studies in digital” or “#FF @dearShakti 4 what’s going on with food in NYC.”

While this may seem like a lot, you can do all of these things very quickly at some point during the day and greatly increase your visibility online.

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