What pitfalls should marketers watch out for, in embracing social media for marketing?

“With every great power comes great responsibilities” – Uncle Ben to Peter Parker

The quote became ubiquitous and was embraced as an example in many articles. Social Media Marketing probably would’ve been the best example in this context.Organizations and businesses around the world are finding it extremely difficult to retain loyal customers, as switching costs are getting lower everyday, with more options available in the market. To counter this problem, organizations are investing billions of dollars, just to listen to the voice of consumers and to change their marketing strategies every alternate day, like changing tooth-brushes. The muscle power of Social Media Marketing is crushing the traditional and conventional marketing frameworks and for marketers/managers, it is of paramount importance to understand the responsibilities and the boundaries of this powerful weapon.

Lack of Time – Social Media demands high engagement of users and that requires continuous posts or tweets to keep the conversation going. The major motive is to keep the audience engaged so that they discuss more and share more insights. If continuous time and focus is not given to it, the company/brand can lose out significant consumer feedback and opinions and in turn can lose out the competitive edge.It’s like a living breathing beast – one needs to keep on feeding it!!

Negative Comments –  A company or a brand’s reputation lies a lot on the kind of discussion that is being carried out on blogs, FB pages, Twitter etc. When a company opens itself up by inviting discussions in a social media forum ,it exposes itself to a lot of risk. Serious negative comments or posts could be detrimental to the organization’s growth and the company can incur massive losses.

Hacker’s Threat – There are high risks that hackers can break into company’s social media accounts.This can pose serious threats to the company’s position and reputation in the market.

Lack of Relevant Content -Blogs and Twitter feeds tend to take on the persona of their authors and this is a bad thing. It is not an individual’s feed or blog, it belongs to the company and they have designated the blogger as the rep to post.  Many Social media marketers forget this and think that they are the blog or feed.Corporate blogs and feeds should be agnostic.

No Short Term ROI – Social Media Marketing is a long-term strategy and witnessing a return could be as long as months to a year.

Not using Images – Social Media is about interactions between multiple human beings and this interaction becomes more lively when images are being exchanged. A post with huge text often goes unnoticed as the post fails to draw attention. Images act as big accelerators to drive social media marketing.Research shows that using images in a post can increase the engagement by 200% (http://www.mediabistro.com/alltwitter/twitter-increase-engagement_b52939)

Not Leveraging Hashtags – Using hashtags can double engagement and help businesses to insert themselves into relevant conversations and trending topics. Businesses can piggyback on popular hashtags to have a larger reach and a more personal connection.

Not Interacting with Fans & Followers -According to LiveOps, 85% of customers feel that how a brand handles issues on its website or social media is a good indicator of its quality of support  (http://www.liveops.com/liveopsresearch) but data from evolve24 shows that only 29% out of 1300 consumers who publicly complained to a company via Twitter received a response back.

Maintaining a strong and robust social media practice is essential for a company’s success. It builds up a long-term, personal connection with the customer that in turn can take the brand/company a long way ahead.

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