8 social media sins to avoid

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As marketers continue the rush to enter the social media space and implement social media components into their marketing campaigns, the success stories and case studies are piling up. But, for every success story, there are dozens of failures, which include campaigns that spent far more than they returned.

Co-author Geoff Nelson is co-founder of Ivy Worldwide.
When setting out to create and deploy a social media marketing campaign, it is important to keep in mind the social media integration required to emerge as a success story. And this balance becomes even more challenging to maintain as the drive to join the space enhances.

According to Adam Sarner, an analyst with market research firm Gartner, while more than 75 percent of Fortune 1000 companies with an existing online presence will have undertaken some kind of online social-networking initiative for marketing or customer relations purposes, some 50 percent of those campaigns will be classified as failures.

As brands are strengthening their campaigns, this legacy of success -- or more likely, failure -- will follow them in their new online marketing efforts. If you're a part of one of those companies that have been in the space for a while and may have seen some success, it's fairly certain that you often ask yourself, "What could we have done differently?" And rightly so. After all, those who fail to learn from history should be prepared to repeat its lessons.

Below, we delve into the eight deadly sins of social media -- the most common mistakes that turn companies anti-social in a social world -- as well as provide some tips on how to overcome these sins so you are better armed to pacify this nagging dilemma.

1. Viral equals social success
Viral is an outcome from a solid social media and marketing strategy. If you believe you can extract a positive outcome from a viral effort, you may find yourself in the same situation as Elfyourself.com -- a lot of content and participation, but very little sales or even brand awareness from the campaign. In fact, test your friends. Ask them if they remember the campaign and ask them which brand did it? When we have asked this question, about 1 in 500 knew it was OfficeMax. Did you?

While thinking outside the box is critical in the creation of a viral campaign, going too far away from the grain of social media may ensure the campaign fails to deliver the ROI that will justify budget approval for next year. Walking this line is difficult, and failing to recognize that viral does not guarantee social success will ensure social failure.

Takeaway: Good strategy results in viral, but viral is not a strategy.

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