Social Media: Welcome to the Hotel California. You Can Never Leave.

Online Marketing, Social Media Jun 30, 2014 No Comments

When Good Brands Do Bad Things

Why is it that so many brands do such a bad job with their Social Media campaigns? I believe it’s STILL primarily due to a fundamental lack of understanding of the medium as well as the lack of available internal resources.

The best way to ensure your Social Media campaign will fail is to jump in without a plan.

Make a Plan

Social Media, oftentimes considered to be a “Free” form of marketing, takes a lot more time and energy to do properly than most companies expect. Sometimes considered “fun” or perhaps even frivolous, as we know Social Media (when done right) can be a very powerful tool in your marketing arsenal. But it’s a tool that requires a great deal of attention. This is primarily why most small to mid-size brands fail at their own Social Media campaigns — so much to do, with so little time, and with the responsibility for social efforts falling to someone in the organization who’s already wearing too many hats.

Look Before You Leap

Many of our clients look to us for insights and direction on their Social Media campaigns. Sometimes they’re convinced they just ‘need to be doing something’, but they just don’t know what it is. Other times they just ‘want to get in as they don’t want to get left behind.’ It’s the “Everybody’s Doing It” (EDI) Syndrome. A small bit of wisdom shared by my grandmother multiple times as I was growing up (and perhaps by yours as well), was the question: “Would you jump off a bridge just because every one else was?”

The answer was obvious to me at the time. That was before I learned about bungee cords and base diving. But, I think grandma’s words of wisdom still apply today for some brands considering Social Media as a strategy.

Quality Takes Time

When it comes to Social Media and our clients, our advice is yes, you probably should be doing it.  And that it should be based on your marketing goals and a number of other factors, not simply because of you’ve got EDI (remember grandma from above?).  But if you’re not going to do it, you need to be doing it right or you probably shouldn’t be doing it at all. (Which is probably something else my grandmother told me. I learned a lot from that woman…)

Many brands think they’ll just start Tweeting tomorrow.  Posting Facebook updates and getting new “likes” immediately.  Or that they’ll check in with everyone everywhere via FourSquare.  And it’ll be great fun.  And who knows, it very well may.

The “Fun” Doesn’t Last Long

Some brand managers may even try this themselves for a couple weeks, until the Real World of their day-to-day interrupts and the tasks are handed off to Gloria the admin. Generally this strategy works more or less for about six months.  It’s about that time when it becomes painfully obvious that Gloria isn’t doing her own job or she’s spending too much time tracking down answers from absent executives to questions that all your new-found followers are asking. It’s around the 180-day mark when reality sets in.  When clients come to the conclusion that this Social Media thing is not all the “fun and frivolity” they thought it cracked up to be.  And that it requires way more time and resources than they’d ever expected. That’s when my phone rings again and we step in to help them out with the management of their communities.

Own Your Own Brand Online

As I always say, it’s not simply about taking ownership of your brand online by securing your company name and those of your products at any one of the 100s of social sites currently running. (And there are more springing up daily.) Of course, you do need to take steps to get full ownership of your brand. This means establishing accounts at top social sites.  But you also have to maintain these accounts. Once you decide to get in you need to have a clear plan for your activities that extends beyond your honeymoon with Social Media.

There is No Checkout Time

Social Media marketing. A virtual Hotel California. Once you check in you must stay engaged with your customers, keeping messaging and involvement consistent. They are going to expect it. So, before you decide to make your Social Media reservations, make sure you have the ability to handle (either internally, externally, or more likely a combination of both) whatever comes. With Social Media done right, you can live it up with your competition; there’s plenty of room. :)


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  1. Social Media Audits: Why Give Them Away for Free?
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