Joe Pulizzi stepped up his business’ Twitter presence last year by downloading the add-on application TweetDeck and configuring it to automatically greet people who start following him. But the Cleveland, Ohio-based marketing consultant and owner of Junta42 soon discovered that he had put his virtual foot in his mouth. “A couple people replied right away to say, Joe, this is lame, it’s basically spam,” says Pulizzi. From now on Pulizzi is keeping it personal.
You can’t just join social networks because they’re there. You need a clear idea of how they further your company’s marketing or customer service strategy and you need to communicate that to your employees. Kent Lewis, a social media marketer and head of Anvil Media, in Portland, Oregon, recalls the time an intern at a local hotel he works with was given statistics about the property’s competitors -- and immediately shared the info on Twitter. “It made her look stupid,” Lewis says. “We didn’t realize we had to coach her on life, not just social media.”
If you wouldn’t do it in conversation, why would you do it on the Web? Repeating yourself on the company blog or in a tweet marks you as a neophyte and alienates current and future followers. If you have different social networks synced such as Facebook and Twitter make sure it’s not resulting in embarrassing redundancies.
Plugging your product or company on social media some of the time is fine, in fact it makes some businesses serious bank. But don’t turn into a one trick pony. Change things up a bit by posting links to news in your industry, interesting things people in your network are saying, or other tidbits to keep your audience coming back.
Some companies mistakenly think that no matter how many people represent their business online -- whether it’s one or 20 -- everyone has to tweet or post in a single voice, either through a made-up mascot or persona, or by using a certain tone or language that toes the company’s party line. That works in some cases, but it’s better to coach employees on dos and don’ts, and then let them be themselves.
Some companies pay “ghost tweeters” or outside experts to run their social media strategy. Big mistake. Comcast developed a huge Twitter presence by putting their best people on it for tech support, and making sure they responded quickly to customers’ problems. “It was minimal cost for maximum return,” Lewis says.