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

Social media marketing is very different from conventional ways of marketing. Conventional marketing have essentially been of two types – “in your face” or “the creative ones”. These have largely to do with the products and brands. On the other hand social media marketing is all about “Engagement” with the customer. Differences like these unfortunately are not understood by everyone, which often leads to failed campaigns. Some of the pitfalls that marketers can avoid in embracing social media marketing are:

  1. It‘s all about Customer Engagement!

Social media marketing is not about your product or brand or sales or profits or market-share. It is only about the customers and their association with your brand. The mindset required for marketing campaigns at the top is very different from the mindset required at the bottom. It means that your market share rank has nothing to do with social share rank. Although it is true that your social share rank will definitely impact your market share rank. In essence you cannot assume that social media marketing is about you. It is about the customer and only the customer!

  1. It’s more than just being able to type fast!

Success in Social media marketing is not just about being able to type fast! In other words, you cannot just put anything or everything out there on social media platforms and expect it to work for you. Social media marketing requires carefully thought-out, systematic and methodical approaches and strategies for it to work. Like the various principles and theories in conventional marketing, social media marketing has its own set of best practices and guidelines.

  1. Confusing people does not work anymore!

Confusing, misguiding or withholding complete information from users might have worked for marketers in conventional forms of marketing but it would be foolish to assume it would work with social media marketing too. Users on social media can easily call your bluff through collaborative information-gathering and if it so happens, they can be unforgiving to you. Today it’s all about providing information upfront to the users.

  1. You can’t mess with social media and its users!

Social media users are mostly well-informed and have the ability to speak-out and let millions of other users know of any wrong-doings on part of any organization. Any attempt by an organization to dictate terms to the users on social media platforms can bounce-back terribly. The minute a user feels cheated or that you are being unethical in your conduct or trying to dictate terms by flexing your muscle, you are in trouble!

  1. You can’t try to herald people in any particular direction!

Marketers have tried to leverage social media platforms to run campaigns with an objective of driving people towards a particular agenda or ideologue. Such attempts have often backfired as the true motives behind such campaigns have been revealed on the very same platforms through fellow users aware of the real situation.

  1. It’s not about Signaling anymore!

Conventional marketing has always been about “Signaling” – providing selective information to customer to make him feel reassured in your product or service. This has always favored the advantaged party – the marketer. No longer though! Today, the customer is prepared to ask questions and challenge you on what you say. Screening is the new thing!

  1. Screening will take place no matter what the strategy is!

As discussed above, social media marketing is about screening and not signaling. Having understand that, you also have to understand that Screening will take place no matter what your marketing strategy is. You cannot make the mistake of assuming that it does not apply to your brand or product. And more importantly, the customer must not feel cheated after the screening. The answer to the question – “Does your marketing campaign withstand screening?” must always be an emphatic “YES”.


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