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Seven sins of online marketing one must avoid [Arab News (Saudi Arabia)]
[September 01, 2014]

Seven sins of online marketing one must avoid [Arab News (Saudi Arabia)]

(Arab News (Saudi Arabia) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) MIKE VOLPE Remember when social media was a new, unchartered territory for brands? Consumers flocked to platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedln overnight and marketers knew that, in order to stay relevant, they had to follow suit. Fast forward to today: 97 percent of marketers use social media to connect with buyers. The problem is, most still haven't figured out how to leverage social to create a personalized, relevant and enjoyable experience for their audience.

Socially awkward brands aren't just pushed to the sidelines, they miss out on building valuable relationships, or in some cases, end up on a viral list of social media blunders. Whether your brand is too boring, too tone-deaf or too promotional, your social media approach can't be an afterthought. Here are seven deadly sins of social media marketing to avoid at all costs to keep your audience engaged, interested and loyal.

1. Being all talk The key to social media content is to show, not tell. Audiences prefer engaging with visual content over text; did you know that tweets with image links get an engagement rate 200 percent higher than those with just 140 characters? 2. Putting on a one-man show Trying to apply your advertising approach to social is a big mistake. In fact, one of the reasons social media is effective is because so many people tune out traditional media and mass messaging. On social, it's even easier to mute brands that talk, but don't listen — with a quick click, consumers can unfollow or remove your content from their feed for good.

Instead of talking about yourself nonstop, make your audience the center of attention by highlighting their interests.

3. Forgetting to think before you tweet Staying relevant today isn't easy — trending topics go from viral to ancient history daily. So how can marketers keep up? Cue newsjacking. Instead of trying to generate buzz from scratch, brands piggyback on the popularity of top headlines to amplify their own content. We see clever newsjacks during the Super Bowl and the Oscars, but occasionally, the not-so-savvy attempts end up being headlines themselves.

4. One size does not fit all Your social strategy shouldn't be one size fits all. For example, B2B audiences spend most of their time on LinkedIn, while B2C buyers can be found on Facebook, according to Social Media Examiner. Find the channels that best align with your audience's interests, then experiment with the type, cadence and style of content you think will resonate most. Measure what works and what doesn't and optimize accordingly. Instead of publishing the same content to every channel, the best social media teams create tailored approaches based on the medium and the message.

5. Putting your customers on mute It used to be that if a customer had a complaint about your product or service, they could tell their friends, family or a 1-800 number. Today, consumers can share negative reviews with their entire network — and the searchable social web — through a simple click. Not surprisingly, 72 percent of customers who complain about a brand on social expect a response within an hour. But in some cases, they are lucky to get noticed at all.

6. Forgetting to be a human In an age where buyers are constantly bombarded with deals, promos and "lowest price" taglines, your brand's personality is crucial to stand out from the pack. Corporate jargon and automated replies will send your audience running in the other direction, while brands that aren't afraid to let loose will be welcomed with open arms. Ultimately, building a community of brand advocates today isn't about what you're selling, it's about what you're saying. Luckily, the casual nature of social media makes it easier than ever for us to talk to our audience like humans.

7. Assuming your social strategy works In the Mad Men era, measuring the true impact of your marketing efforts was nearly impossible. Luckily, marketers today have more data than ever to truly understand how our efforts impact the company's bottom line. Still, of the 88 percent of brands using social media platforms for marketing, only about 37 percent are taking the time to measure the ROI of their efforts. It's easy to tally likes and retweets to get an idea of how engaged your audience is on social, but those numbers don't tell the whole story.

Today, the customer is in control, and they expect marketers to know where, when and how to connect with them on social media. Every marketer has a different road map for getting there, but avoiding these seven social mistakes can help us all steer clear of serious potholes.

What are some other social media sins you try to avoid? Tell us in the comments.

(c) 2014 Arab News All rights reserved. Provided by SyndiGate Media Inc. (

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