Don’t Imprison Your Brand with These Social Media Crimes

Growth hacking is a popular concept these days. To me, it simply means leveraging technology in new and creative ways to jump start growth within your business. The use of social media is often associated with growth hacking.

There is no denying that social media is a powerful marketing tool that can be an efficient and low-cost alternative to traditional marketing. When used properly it can drive leads for your sales people and generate loads of traffic to your website. However, when done poorly, it can make people mad and cause damage to your brand. This damage usually comes in the form of lost revenue due to customers forming a bad impression of your organization. The opposite of growth hacking occurs. Your brand becomes imprisoned, and growth is slowed rather than accelerated.

Every day I see brands making blunders that could be easily avoided. Today, I will identify five of them that I have recently seen businesses make with their social marketing efforts.

The company is not producing any original content. Instead, they rely exclusively on sharing content from other brands, major publishers, or individuals. Don’t get me wrong, engaging with other people’s content is a critical step towards creating a healthy and well-balanced online community. However, if your company is not creating any original content, at the end of the day your efforts are creating thought leadership for others. Produce original to establish your company as the authority in your industry, tell your company’s brand story, and differentiate yourself in the marketplace. A good balance between shared and original content that is appealing to your target audience will keep a steady flow of traffic coming to your sites.

Lack of a defined strategy and goal setting. Many companies know they need to be active on social media. However, unlike in other areas of their business, they have not taken the time to develop a strategy with specific goals in mind. The result is they never get any traction from their social efforts. Why does this happen? They trust their social media with a member of their staff that has no formal training or expertise. Others make poor decisions with the consultants they hire. Do not use someone within the office that gets assigned social media simply because nobody else wants to do it or hire a consultant that talks big but does not have a proven track record.

There is no system in place to track results and calculate an ROI. Are your posts reaching the right audience and generating traffic? Which sites are producing the best results? Many companies cannot answer these questions. Without monitoring results, an ROI cannot possibly be calculated. Use tracking tools like Google Analytics, Sprout Social, or Viralheat to tabulate results. This way you will know where your traffic is coming from and adjust your strategies based on actual results, rather than just a best guess.

Leads from social are not getting followed up on. Leads from social media come in different forms than from other sales activities. So, many people do not know how to recognize them when they get them. Thus, they become squandered, lost, and wasted. It is no secret that there is a big disconnect between sales and marketing within many organizations. The disconnect is even bigger when it comes to social media. Many marketers seem to want to have social all to themselves. They almost shone the sales people away from it, so that they have total control. I advocate for the opposite approach. I believe sales people should be trained on how to best engage with the company’s social media strategy. The person managing the company’s social media should know how to spot a lead from social, and be tasked with distributing the lead to the sales team for timely follow up.

Blatant misuse of the LinkedIn publishing platform. I’m not talking about merely writing a poor blog post. I’m talking about putting out a post with nothing more than a sales pitch or product dump. There is NO actual blog. These people skip the blog altogether and go right to the sales pitch. Here are two examples of what I am talking about:

I have seen a trend of realtors that use Publisher to post their real estate listings. There is nothing more to the post than pictures of the property and a description of the listing. Realtors that have done this or are considering following the trend ask yourself this. How would you react if I put out a real estate listing on a major site for realtors and home buyers, then after you clicked on it you discovered it was a blog post?

Ever click on a blog on LinkedIn and then something like this pops out at you?

They don’t even bother creating a blog; it’s just a blatant product slam. Let’s face it, people use blogs to sell. However, if you skip the blog and go right into selling, you will turn people off, and they will become annoyed with you. Provide your readers with value based content that demonstrates your expertise, and the sales process will happen organically.

By committing these social media crimes, you are imprisoning your brand and preventing growth.

I could go on with this topic. However, I’m going to stop at five, and then turn it over to you. What blunders do you see businesses making on social media? Is there one particular activity that drives you nuts? Please speak your mind below!

John White is the Chief Marketing Officer. In June of 2015, John completed his MBA with a specialization in Marketing.