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How to Sabotage your Social Media Campaign in Five Easy Steps

In ‘real life’ most of us are pretty clear on what will and will not result in the loss of friends and the alienation of those around you.  Pinching your boss’ cheek in mock affection for example, will probably result in a fresh box file, filled to brim with the contents of your (old) desk. Need I expand upon the consequences of heading into the office and describing every single moment of your life at it happens, at the top of your voice?

Why then do most small to medium businesses (and even some giant corporations) remain woefully ignorant of huge social media DON’Ts – those no no’s which will infuriate potential customers all day long?

The answer is probably to do with the relative infancy of social media marketing, but regardless of why these mistakes are made by some businesses, the rest of us can learn from them.

So for the purpose of helping you avoid them (and only slightly motivated by a need for catharsis) here follows a no holds barred exposé of really, really, really annoying social media gaffs.

1. Create Fake Profiles

A few high profile companies have got into trouble doing this in days gone by. The premise is that by creating multiple profiles of supposedly ‘normal’ users, businesses can control what is said about their brand more closely. Genuine Facebook or Twitter users might notice the fake users’ interest in and positive chatter about a certain product and be thus drawn in.

Not only is this tactic actually illegal in some countries, it can result in a huge backlash amongst the online social media community should the ruse be unearthed. Originality is very hard to fake, and this kind of venture will only end it tears.

2. Be Boring

This one may seem fairly obvious, but in an over stimulated world that contains 3D cinema and Call of Duty, being boring is a cardinal sin. Constant Tweets about your own industry will get old quickly, even to seasoned industry specialists. Instead try to portray your own or your client’s sense of originality – their character, as it’s this that people will be drawn to.

Pick an able member of staff and let them build trust and relationships by discussing the topics of the day, as well as interesting issues which aren’t necessarily related to your industry. Never forget that social media is about being sociable (clue in title).

3. Be Self Obsessed

Like I touched upon earlier, no one likes to be around someone who talks about themselves incessantly. Constant Tweets about that limited time special offer or new award you’ve won will only drive people away. It’s like the pictures of an old school friend’s newborn baby on Facebook; they’re lovely to see once, but plastering your profile photos, baby applications and endless status updates all  over your wall is the social media equivalent of standing two inches away and shouting in someone’s face.

If people are interested in your business, they’ll accept your friend request or start following you, therefore resulting in increased traffic. Tweet and update your profile in moderation and variety at all times.

4. Add or Follow anything with an IP

This is guaranteed to get you ignored, or worse, hated in the social media world. Countless budding businesses and musicians turned their brand into veritable lepers by doing this on a little known social network called Myspace (remember that?) and few ever recovered.

These poor fools would add anyone at all, even if the user’s online activity showed no evidence at all of an interest in their brand or product.  For a potential customer, having to reject request after request is tiresome and annoying and will only put that user off your brand for life.

Instead try to target people with a clear interest in your industry and try to balance your followers/following ratio on Twitter. This shows people that you’re not spamming user, but rather engaging them.

5. Push your Product via Ceaseless @ Replies

You may think it’s ok to generate hundreds of @ replies detailing your latest product but the general opinion is that it’s not. Only use @ replies with users with whom you’ve established a positive relationship, anything else will be seen as pushy, presumptuous and spammy.

Overall, the secrets to avoiding self destruction are surprisingly simple. Do everything in moderation and be human, rather than overtly commercial, as this is what social networking is about. Adapt your persona to your customers on an equal footing rather than relying on your industry expertise as this way you’ll gain the most important thing they have to offer; their respect

Joel Tarplin is a Content Writer for Creare; specialists in SEO, web design, ecommerce, internet marketing, email marketing and video production.

Post image by DandyGuarjol

Posted in Social Networking. Tags: ,

4 Replies

  1. Thanks for the heads up and information about this, that is the encourage that I need, am so happy to have found this ,Thanks for the article. I liked reading it

  2. Very well said, when it comes to fake profiles I have seen this first hand. I was once asked by a local online product company if I condoned fake reviews. It seems they had put out a bunch of fake product reviews for their site. They did not like my “no” answer, but if you need fake reviews what does that really say about your product.

  3. I agree with you Tommy – even if fake profile’s aren’t discovered by innocent users, there are still moral issues involved. It not only casts doubt over the quality of your product, but how can you be trusted in a business transaction if you’re using such techniques?

  4. Yogasavy Feb 27th 2011

    An interesting article. Very good points

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