In a recent post on her Kruse Control site entitled 5 Social Media Habitudes to Leave Behind in 2013, Kathi Kruse outlines the primary habits and attitudes that online marketers have about social media which are overdue to be flushed down the promotional drain.

  1. Displaying disdain for social media is stupid – Some of the holier than thou online marketers may confess off the record that social media is a gigantic waste of time where you’re spending an inordinate amount of your department’s time and money addressing the queries of truant 13 year-olds who don’t have either the intention or the funds to buy your products. Whether the ol’ timers like it or not (or even understand it or not) the paradigm of marketing in this decade has shifted from the authoritarian model where the marketer controls every iota of the outgoing message to an egalitarian one where the best the marketer can hope for is to be a cog in the machine of shaping the brand identity in a symbiotic collaboration with the consumer. You can rail against this branding version of mob rule or you can accept it. Either way, it’s here to stay.
  2. Stop thinking that social media doesn’t move product – This is an extension of the habit above, as although social media generally lacks the direct and precise trackability of, say, an email newsletter click to your landing page or a call on a specifically promoted toll free number, the awareness and reputation which you are able to establish through a professionally implemented social media campaign is going to result in sales… if you do it right.
  3. Quit gathering your market data through formal research – Another bad habit hangover from the good old days is that the marketer guided the brand through formal market research, making the best decisions for the direction of the marketing effort based on the gathered information. In an era when an entire market cycle can come and go in the time that it takes you to organize and analyze a set of focus groups, the way to garner the data you need to make your critical marketing decisions is in real time by relying on the input of your front line employees. The staff members who are in daily and continual contact with your customer base are the best sources of information on how your brand is performing, so encourage their input and create a culture where contributing such important information is rewarded.
  4. Don’t hand your online marketing to a staffer based on youth alone – Social media is no longer just a kids’ thing, so the days of giving the reins to your social network presence to the youngest person on your staff simply due to their age is a recipe for brand demolition. Social media has become so sophisticated and advanced that it requires professional levels of skill and knowledge which are not going to be automatically absorbed through social osmosis solely due to lack of years. Seek a pro with demonstrated long term ability to manage a brand’s social media presence and pay them whatever they want. It will be worth it.
  5. Online reviews & ratings are not for the birds – If you’re still stuck in the process of handing out demos of your products to “established reviewers” you’re missing one of the most important aspects of social media: The most impactful reviews and ratings are no longer from the professional journalism side but from the customers directly. Your social media followers seek out comments from ordinary users just like themselves and tend to trust them far more than the “pro reviews” which may or may not have a taint of pay for play. You don’t have to be a bystander in this entire procedure, you can create incentives for your front line personnel to capture positive and honest reactions from your customers as well as making it easy for the users themselves to post their reactions to your offerings.

Now that you have discarded these counterproductive social media habits, you are now in a position to truly engage your customers!