Lee Odden posted a spot-on article on the Top Rank Online Marketing Blog called 5 Deadly Sins of Corporate Social Media Marketing. As the title indicates, Mr. Odden observed 5 sins that a company needs to be aware of when trying to implement a social media marketing strategy; what not to do in corporate social media marketing, so to speak. While I completely agree with everything Mr. Odden described, and we all should heed his recommendations, I want to take it another step and get down to the real source of the problem.
The real problem is not about knowing what to do or not to do. That can be learned. The real problem is corporate social media marketing management are creatures of habits.
Social media personnel (in-house) and consultants (outside help) run into this problem all the time. In fact I think it’s one of the most common problems after a company decides to pursue social media marketing. To understand this, first let’s look at Lee Odden’s 5 deadly sins.
- Fear - It’s the “What if someone says something bad about us?” syndrome. We’ll get criticized and will look bad.
- Arrogance - It’s the “I’m too big to care about anyone” syndrome. Not my customers, and certainly not my competitors.
- Frugalism - It’s the “Let’s get our toes a little wet and see what happens” syndrome. Let’s just test a little bit here and there and don’t commit yet.
- Egocentric – It’s the “What’s in it for me and my company” syndrome. Let’s push our messages out there first.
- Pigeonholing – It’s the “Let’s just do this and this, and let’s not worry about those” syndrome. Management knows what’s good for our company so we’ll just do these things for now.
Can you see a common thread running through these sins? We can compartmentalize and categorize sins all we want, but I think it really doesn’t matter that we have a list of 5 or 10 sins, there will always be a common thread across them. What is it? Well it’s what I call the doing-business-as-usual, comfort zone syndrome. It’s the psyche in the vast majority of us as humans to keep gravitate back to our comfort zones, back to our protective shells.
Sure there will be the initial excitement of the new, the buzz and the cool, but short-term ROI will always win out when the dust settles. Companies start social media marketing either with in-house talents or by hiring an outside consultant to get going. The problem is that management’s expectation of the payback period is too short. After a short time has passed without clear tangible results (yet,) there is a “need” for management to step in to intervene and help guide and fix the process. That’s when the old process, what old school marketers know best, kicks in. This results in the many sins described above.
So what to do?
I wouldn’t say social media marketing is a mature branch of marketing as yet. On the other hand, considering the speed of how fast things progress on the Internet (technology, products and processes) business understanding of social media and its adoption is still sorely lacking. This is the reason why social media marketing professionals must continue to stress education as part of their initial marketing and sales presentations, then continue to carry the education portion right through the service phase and wrap up phases.
What do you think? Do you agree that much of social media marketing ills can be cured by readjusting our own habits? Share your opinion with us by leaving your comment below.
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