Today in Uganda we are going Social this means we are advertising, buying, selling, customer caring, relating on Social Media platforms if its not on Facebook, Tweeted and Pinned, it will not get more attention because no one is saying anything about it. This is kind of business is called Social Business; and its affecting all stakeholders from a investor to the last customer.

Some have Suggested that all stakeholders adopt to social media platforms to hear voices which contribute to the success of the enterprises but most have failed to realize the differences these platforms can lead to; like Mistaking Social for Marketing.

Facebook users and Twitter users are more likely to buy from brands they follow, consequences of this magnitude ought to be enough motivation to be serious about avoiding the common pitfalls associated with mixing social and marketing.

Common mistakes companies make when mixing Social and Marketing include;

1) Lack of Strategic Plans
Yogi Berra said, “if you don’t know where you are going you’ll end up someplace else.”
Most of the times when social is introduced into marketing as a tactic to compete with competition. Tactical implementation is doomed from the beginning for a whole host of reasons. A tactical approach suggests that social is simply another channel to be exploited; it’s often viewed as free marketing and handed over to an intern or added to the tasks of an already burdened staffer. Instead of well-planned and coordinated messages, customers are assaulted with a barrage of disjointed messages. There was no plan in the first place and companies have found themselves in place none existed. Social Media is like a computer what you feed it and is what you get out and here it’s real stuff, real money, and real people. So before you jump on the brand wagon prepare, have a compass.

2) Broadcasting
The traditional advertising models, sending messages to create brand impressions, doesn’t work in the new social landscape. Instead of listening to conversations and observing, broadcasted messages have one intent, that is sell, sell, sell. The focus is on the company, usually highlighting product features, certainly not on engaging an audience.

The most important reasons small businesses are good at social media are; Connecting with customers, Visibility and Self-promotion. While these are good reasons, even subtle attempts to self-promote are often rebuffed by savvy consumers who are usually more comfortable in the social space than most companies. If you Ignore social norms you will quickly draw unwanted negative attention to your brand.

Social media calls upon businesses to focus on connecting with customers, instead of the latter being more  self-serving, because if companies connect with customers, offering helpful solutions, that genuine spirit of service will transcend any need to be visible, or self-promote.

3. No Content
It’s a dreary but common reality to come across sites where social media assets exist but there is no one home. Links that once had hope for potential are now clearly missed chances. The evidence? No posts, no responses, no activity whatsoever, it’s a ghost town. An obvious risk is consumers will dismiss your brand as irrelevant and seek a competitor; equally concerning, this kind of presence leaves a company vulnerable to negative comments or customer’s expecting answers and being frustrated.

The only way to avoid your site becoming a ghost town is don’t invest in it if you are not ready. It’s best to have a plan in place before hand for guidance. There are many free useful tools available, like content calendars and editorial suggestions. Companies serious about using Social Media as an asset should not underestimate the commitment involved. Customer engagement, monitoring, and feedback are continuous, and when implemented properly, these can provide great benefits.

4. No Social Media Guidelines or Contingency Plan
Social Media has given everyone, including all stakeholders a voice. Without appropriate guidelines, companies are vulnerable to inappropriate posts, often by well intended employees or other stakeholders. But make no mistake, in order for social business to be effective, trust is essential, however, guidelines are necessary.

Therefore one should have a social media policy which address questions like: Who will coordinate? What process needs to be in place to regularly monitor social media activity? How will this happen?
Heidi Cohen’s suggestions and tips in How to Create Social Media Guidelines prove to be helpful to me. She says “don’t wait for an emergency to plan what will happen if there are negative comments, difficult questions or problems that need to be addressed. Be proactive, rather than wait until an issue erupts and be forced to react in crisis mode; think through some of these scenarios ahead of time.”

In my next blog i will share ways and solutions on how to avoid these mistakes.

So what other mixing have you seen being done with Socializing on the internet by brands?   

Patricia Kahill

is a Social Media, Content Creator and Marketer at Kahill Insights.
A Development Practitioner who has no self talent but is driven by curiosity and passion; in a nutshell she is a Multipotentialite. She believes in God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit which makes her a Christian.

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