How to Prove You’re a Social Media Amateur

I do a lot of social digital training around the country and so this blog ran home true to me. Want to prove to the world you’re a social media amateur?  It’s really easy.  After all, you’re probably putting out evidence every day for the whole world to see that you haven’t figured out how to use social as a brand.  This is especially damaging if your competition is not an amateur.  So what are the key things you can do to leave no doubt in anyone’s mind that you’re adrift without much social marketing knowledge and void of a social strategy?

1. Assign your social to an intern 

This is absolutely brilliant.  Take a key component of your brand’s marketing, the area that is experiencing explosive growth and that changes by the minute, and empower theleast experienced person in your building to execute it.  When brands do this, it is painfully obvious their attitude toward social is, “It’s something we’re noodling around with.  We gave it to so-and-so because if they make a disaster of it, it doesn’t really matter.”  Get serious.

2. Having someone run your social mostly because they’re young

I wish I had a euro for every person under 25 out there pitching themselves as a “social media expert” mostly because they have a Facebook Page or Twitter account.  Or maybe they were in charge of their fraternity or sorority’s social streams.  That’s great.  But it has nothing to do with professional social brand-building strategy.  To throw hands in the air and abdicate your social presence to the youngest person in the office under the assumption they were born with some innate knowledge of social marketing is a rookie mistake.

3. Not keeping up with at least 3 qualified thought leadership blogs

You read about things you care about.  You avoid reading about things you don’t care about.  If you’re not interested enough to follow a few blogs on social marketing from vetted professionals, you’re sending a signal to everyone in your organization that your social marketing is in jeopardy.  It’s a testament to your belief that social doesn’t or isn’t going to have a significant impact on your marketing.  Keeping yourself in the dark keeps you and professionalism at noticeable distance. And heck don’t even get involved with Linkedin or Linkedin training as this is full of nonsense (add even more sarcasm here for effect)

4. Not allocating any resources to social

Can you imagine what would have happened if Facebook and Twitter weren’t free to use?  What if brands had to pay to have a Facebook Page?  How many brands would have ponied up and made that investment?  To make that commitment, you’d have to really be convicted of how valuable establishing real relationships and 2-way communication with consumers can be to a brand.  Only social professionals would have this conviction.  The others would relegate social to hobby status.  And while yes, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and YouTube are free, there is investment to be made in terms of staffing, tech tools, and consulting.  There’s now also investment to be made in things like Reach Generator and Facebook Premium to give your content more extensive exposure to fans.  Only amateurs expect everything for nothing.

5. Thinking it’s enough just to have a social presence

We are moving well past the time when it was “impressive” for a brand to have a Facebook Page.  Now what separates the men from the boys (and women from the girls) is the dedication your brand has to moving past starting and growing social presences to implementing comprehensive social strategies that build your brand.  This includes employing tech tools to manage multiple social streams in an integrated fashion, and strategic services to show you how to maximize your social assets toward specific goals.  Which brings us to…

6. Thinking all fans are of equal value

If you collected comic books, what would you rather have, 10,000 comics that aren’t worth anything, or 100 comics that would fetch a high price at any auction?  Amateurs collect fans and give themselves a big pat on the back for the number of fans they have.  Sometimes the number of fans is used internally as the key or only measure of success.  But a fan who “Likes” your Page and then never engages with your content in any way is not worth a fraction of the fan who reads your posts, Likes them, shares them, comments on them, and acts on them.  Pros judge their efforts based on engaged fans. And then not only this but perhaps the next level i.e. the fans Peerindex and klout scores… and yes this does mean life gets more complex – but such is great marketing.

7. Selling your brains out on your social streams

If there’s one amateur mistake even some of the biggest, most well known brands with significant social entities are still consistently making, it’s their refusal or inability to get out of “sales-mode.”  If you see your social accounts as ideal places to sling marketing messages at people, you’re dangerously off track.  Social is about 2-way conversations, not 1-way.  Social is about publishing content fans like and want – and ads don’t qualify.  Social is about building human-to-human relationships, not showcasing your corporate-speak.  And social is consistent, not irregular “only when we need you” shout outs.

When you are B2B and your target fans are other businesses that are also no doubt participating in the social space, do you really want to come across to them as an amateur?

Or do you want them to marvel at your #greatmarketing 🙂


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