Seems hardly a day goes by without a “busty blonde” wanting to follow me on Twitter. Though social media has been the darling of marketers for years now and its potential is obvious, the stumbling blocks to effective social media marketing remain.
Social Media Marketing Challenge: Spam
When you get past people talking about what they ate for dinner last night, too much social media content is simply Spam. Some of the Spam is harmless and boring self-promotion—visit LinkedIn group discussions–little discussion and lots of posts saying, “read my blog entry”. And even more of it is from tweeters who post nude pictures of themselves and pimp links to their porn sites.
Social Media Marketing Challenge: Disingenuousness
It still shocks me that major corporations think they can get away with hiding commercial intent or trying to pose as anything other than what they are: commercial entities. Rule one in social media is to be genuine. Target asking people to post on Facebook without revealing their association with the retailer and the Whole Foods CEO making thousands of anonymous posts denigrating his competitor Wild Oats, which he was in the process of acquiring, are two of the most egregious examples.
Social Media Marketing Challenge: Poor planning
Because social marketing doesn’t carry the million-dollar price tag of shooting a broadcast television commercial, planning seems to get the short shrift. Companies don’t carefully test messages (witness the outrage of mothers towards the Motrin “Baby Wearing” campaign) or properly prepare for response (i.e. Dr. Pepper Guns N Roses promotion’s site crash making it impossible to get the promised free soda). The viral power of social media can be a powerful positive for well-thought-out and well-executed programs. It can be an equally powerful negative force if not used with care. See the post on this story.
Social Media Marketing Challenge: No coordination
Large corporations don’t think through social media as an integrated part of their marketing. An example is US Airways misuse of Twitter when their jet crashed into the Hudson. Similarly Continental shoots itself in the foot by not treating the survivors of their Denver crash well. They offered crash victims membership in their Presidents club, and then didn’t follow through, turning away people at the door–and those folks Tweeted each time Continental dissed them. See the post on this story.
These roadblocks aside, corporations and agencies are learning the lessons and exploring the potential of social media. No doubt it will be come an indispensable part of the marketing mix, both in forming strategy and in communicating messages. And, in interest of full disclosure, I can be one of the worst offenders when it comes to misusing social media. If you were to follow me on Twitter, you’d see one Tweet of my kid barfing and several others promoting my latest blog entries–no wait, maybe that was Facebook. Well, no wonder only nude porn hustlers want to follow me.