By adaptive - October 16th, 2014

3 trends to avoid

When GoDaddy CEO Bob Parsons shared a personal video on social media, his initial plan was leverage. He wanted to show his audience that he was more than just a CEO. He wanted to show that he was human.

Unfortunately for Parsons, he showed the wrong side of his humanity. As an avid game hunter, he had posted a video of himself on Twitter shooting an elephant in Zimbabwe. PETA's response, along with hundreds of thousands of other outraged followers took the embattled CEO to task. Parsons later stepped down as CEO.

Many CEO's took notice of a major social media marketing trend to avoid. Getting too personal is something CEO's know can sink their ship quickly. Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff recently told Bloomberg TV:

"Countries are falling, dictators are falling, but it's not just companies and dictators... businesses are falling too. If you're not social, mobile or cloud, than what are you? We used to have a digital divide, but I think now it's a social divide... You have to become a social enterprise."

The power of social media is inescapable. Forrester's Research indicates that 51% of online Americans have joined a social network and another 73% are consuming some form of social content on a regular basis. But it isn't just the number of users, but the power of opinion and branding that results from what companies share, or choose not to share.

The most dangerous assumption businesses are making today is in thinking social media is a side project. It isn't. There are more than a few who are getting it wrong in the social media world, and social media etiquette is necessary now more than ever. Behold the myths, the missteps and the mistakes. Here are three social media marketing trends to avoid:

#1 Trend to Avoid: Ignoring LinkedIN

Companies are missing out big time by not utilizing LinkedIN. LinkedIN allows users to create company pages as a way to get more branding for your business. It also creates a presence for high level income earners on a social media network many are ignoring.

While the trend is currently keeping a private profile, savvy business owners and executives are allowing for more exposure for themselves and their company.

If you're looking to get more exposure and target your products and services, LinkedIn Company Pages are the way to do that. Social Media Examiner states that, "You can grow your company following as large as you want, regardless of the size of your personal network. If you have employees, they can also become administrators of your page and help you promote and manage it, thereby exponentially increasing its visibility."

There are a number of features that benefit your company's bottom line on LinkedIN. The social network has the technology to allow you not only update your services and products, but create "click-through" banners, videos, documents and photos to your company page.

Viveka von Rosen, author of LinkedIn Marketing: An Hour a Day asks "...if you don’t have a LinkedIn Company Page yet, what are you waiting for? And if you do, now’s the time to refocus it to target exactly the people you are hoping to do business with."

# 2 Trend to Avoid: Keeping Each Social Media Channel Separate

While some companies are attempting to figure out one or two social media networks, you're combining your social media channels and monitoring the activity on a constant basis.

Brian Carter, author of The Like Economy says

".... combine all the best of digital marketing for what I call your 'Perpetual (Pro)motion Machine. If you use SEO, organic social media, search advertising, social advertising and Google remarketing ads, then you’re doing the best of everything."

The "Perpetual (Pro)motion Machine." is currently a popular graphic that displays the intricate cycle of social sharing and curating the results.

Speaking of those results, most brands’ analytics are incomplete. Many are overspending on Google and spending too much time on Facebook. Allocating money to raise awareness on multiple social media channels is essential to winning the war of your audience mindshare.

#3 Trend to Avoid: Talking to Everyone

Savvy companies are embracing the concept of Customer Centricity to their social media outlook; being selective with their audience and curating data from custom made social media campaigns.

Harvard Business Review calls this concept becoming "The Predictive Practitioner.”

This approach restricts usage to a specific area, like customer service. It's very effective for businesses seeking more predictability and delivering results that can be measured with established tools.

Clorox is a company that is currently using this concept to perfection. To increase awareness and interaction with their audience, the social media team created Clorox Connects - a website that encourages brainstorming and solution finding. One query posted was: "We're working on our new product idea. What features would you like to see included?"

Clorox then rewards people who participate, adding incentives commonly seen in gaming. People who answer or add high value comments are awarded points and higher visibility. It's a win-win for everyone. Clorox finds what their audience wants, and participants are rewarded with recognition and notoriety.

The social media landscape seeks to force transparency from businesses in every industry. While some companies run and hide, others are bravely taking on the challenge with proactive interaction and creative campaigns that are carefully analyzed and properly adjusted. Regardless of the strategy, always pay attention to the signs and trends of successful companies. At the end of the day it’s not what you do that defines your brand on social media. It’s what you aren’t doing. 

Russel Cooke is a business writer and consultant who lives in Los Angeles, CA. You can follow him on Twitter @RusselCooke2.

Image Courtesy of Shutterstock

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