I wrote about successful social marketing strategies in "9 ways to guarantee a winning social campaign," and defined successful social marketing strategies as, "we made more money from social marketing than we spent on social marketing."
Both that article and this one are based on NextStage studying the social efforts of more than 400 companies in the U.S. and Canada from 2009 to 2012. We monitored companies as diverse as Alberto-Culver, Boston Scientific, Gucci America, Pioneer North America, and Walgreens. That study also produced a lot of information on how not to do social marketing.
An inflexible business plan is social marketing's worst enemy
That's the big takeaway from this research. Everything in this article comes down to businesses not appreciating the speed and power of consumer voices gone social. Sticking your head in the sand or looking the other way when things go sour is not an option in social marketing. No brand is big enough to tell consumers it's the brand's way or the highway. Inflexible social business plans result in negative SROI, period.
Beyond that, the top failing social strategies -- a mix of business and social, as with the previous "9 ways to guarantee a winning social campaign," -- are documented here, bad to worst, so readers can avoid others' mistakes. All failed social campaigns had at least one and sometimes several of these strategies at work.