Saturday, December 5, 2009

7 Reasons Your Social Media Marketing Failed (and how to fix it!)

Thanks to student Gordon Schaye for finding this valuable information from

Don’t be a failure at your social media marketing. Your message and how you distribute it is very important to your brand and future success. You’ve got on the cluetrain, and decided it’s time to start embracing social media as an important part of your marketing mix.
You’ve seen and heard the success stories, but you’ve been floundering with no traction for the last 6 months. You’ve figured out what social media is. Before you reappropriate that budget, take a look at what you’re doing wrong - or better yet, know the common problems and how to fix them from the start.

1. You Chose the Wrong Channels

You’ve seen the stats on facebook and myspace. They are HUGE. There is massive reach the size of google. This does not mean if you make a profile company for Chevy, everyone will be their friend and buy more cars. There is a HUGE disconnect between wanting to USE social media for marketing, and embracing it for better communication with customers.
How does a campaign that is on television only get a couple thousand friends on facebook? Improper distribution. I hope the *cough* branding was worth it.

Solution: You choose your social media channels by finding where the customers who want to talk about your company are talking. If they are NOT talking about your company anywhere, then you need to find common topics that a given community is interested in.
Example: If you have a site about young tech males - digg is definitely your place. If you have a site about cooking and gardening, you’re going to have to pander to young techie males on digg, or you’re going to need Find the community that your customers are most likely to hang out in. Then maybe explore a few bigger ones, and try to find a few of your people out of a crowd.

wrong people2. You Used the Wrong People

Just because your web designer twittered once and had a myspace profile from day one, does not mean that he understands how to market on social media. Just because your advertising agency knows how to market in print, does not mean that they understand how digg, reddit, and stumbleupon work. Yes - your SEO got you some good rankings, but he’s only getting you 5 diggs on the content you’ve spent weeks preparing. Not exactly the big win you were hoping for.
If you’re using the wrong people you’re toast. We all figured out the hard way what the website looked like when the network admin created it, and how well it ranked when the print designer posted the all image version. Don’t let someone who plays on twitter while they’re at work try to run your viral marketing campaign.
Solution: Firstly, it helps to find someone who’s actually DONE what you’re trying to do. Yes, they may be more expensive, but you won’t pay for the service two or three times learning these same lessons in failure.

3. Your Content Sucked

You wrote a top 10 list. So did 3 million other sites. It wasn’t entertaining or resourceful, and you forgot to use even a single linkbaiting hook. Even the best social media promoters out there won’t be able to promote pure crap. Being one step better than crap is not remarkable either. Your content needs to be on another level to get referenced throughout the web these days. You’re not going to get buy with a $30 article from elance, and expect it to get 1,000 backlinks.
Solution: Spend some time and research. Run some of your keywords on Aaron’s awesome keyword tool, and see what was successful. Take that idea, and make it three times better. Then edit the hell out of that idea, and improve it another couple times. Then cut out all the garbage you added as filler, and add one more round of good stuff. Be sure that you don’t use words like "good stuff".
  • Edit yourself mercilessly.
  • Be succinct.
  • Be entertaining
  • Research and list better (and more) resources.
  • Have a hook (or two or three)

4. Your Team Didn’t Believe in the Project

You had the right people internally, but they didn’t think it would work. They’d rather be playing guitar hero and ping pong instead of helping the project succeed. Social media isn’t quite as measurable as other methods, and the sales pitch really wasn’t all that convincing.
Solutions: You have to sell the project better internally. You need to convince your team that this is how you increase revenue from their efforts, and it is directly attributable to them. Beat "through the fire and flames" on medium mode (or watch a bot do it on expert), and put guitar hero down, and don’t pick it up again.
Explain to your team why this is the difference between success and failure of the company. This is important to the bottom line, and even though it seems like fun and games - it’s the driving force behind successful marketing right now. Everyone needs to be on board, and pushing in the same direction to execute effectively.

5. You Didn’t Execute

The number one problem that social media campaigns don’t succeed: POOR EXECUTION.
The site imploded when you hit the homepage of digg. Because you didn’t test all of your scripts under high volume duress, your webserver nearly melted, and wouldn’t serve pages. Half of the people trying to access your site had ridiculous load times, or never saw the content at all. Needless to say, those visitors didn’t subscribe for anything, or check out additional pages on the site.
Solutions: Fire your network adminstrator, because there’s no excuse for downtime. Find someone who understands apache a bit better. Cache your site, make sure all cylinders are a go, and PRACTICE. Release some b-material first to see how smoothly things go.
Start small and test. Increase your success through understanding and improvements of the larger social media sites by using the smaller ones to channel success and vice versa. If you can get to the digg homepage, you should probably be able to get a good amount of delicious bookmarks.

6. No one Trusted You

Your site is plastered with ads. You’re selling get rich quick schemes. Your web host went down. Your design sucks. There’s no contact information. There’s no pictures of real people. Everyone has seen your stock photos before. There’s no address. There are plenty of reasons people won’t trust your website. Social media transparency will magnify trust issues, and people will really take swings at your potential flaws. Don’t set yourself up for failure by having people not trust you.
Solution: Read Matt McGee’s great article about building trust, and improve your credibility. Take down your advertising for social visitors, and give them a single call to action that is simple and not asking much.


7. You Forgot about Search

You built a site for social media. You pander to the audience, and gave the fickle crowd what they want. You forgot to create sustainable content around topics that are of interest to someone selling something. You brought in a bunch of WEB GRAZING SHEEPLE who don’t actually consume anything except media. Your users spend all day on stumbleupon, because they can barely afford more than their rent, an high speed internet connection, and a laptop with the meager salary they are able to earn working throughfeeding their need to be entertained 23 second attention span.
You didn’t realize the main goal of your social media marketing was to help ultimately rank high for a high volume, high converting competitive phrase that drove your revenues through the rough for the next two years of sustaining the result.
Solution: Here’s the shameless plug. You need someone who understands social media marketing and other forms of search engine marketing to develop a comprehensive strategy for your online marketing efforts. You need a SMOSEO (social media marketing search engine optimizer).
Better yet - you need to learn about becoming a online media marketer yourself and understand how all forms of marketing can affect social media, search engine rankings, converting traffic, and what these services are worth. Educate yourself on becoming a better online marketer if you want to succeed yourself working on the web.


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jacob said...

Love to see this discussion! It’s great to see you all working through the issues and also, it’s great to see recommendations for testing. In the end, it’s what your actual users do and prefer that should be your biggest driver in making these decisions.
Great article and discussion!
online marketing