Warning: Social Media Marketing RisksI ran across a great report from Altimeter Group published by Jeremiah Owyang warning forms about dangers lurking in their social media marketing strategy. The major take-away – THEY DON’T HAVE A SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING STRATEGY!

Social Media Marketing Risk 1: No Strategy

I post about risks associated with poor marketing strategy and how to create better marketing strategy both in social media and traditional marketing. This brings to mink the modern proverb:

Failing to plan is planning to fail

Firms fail to identify goals for their social media marketing campaigns, fail to develop overarching plans to accomplish these goals, and fail to integrate these plans into a comprehensive marketing strategy.

A Strategy for Managing Social Media Proliferation

View more documents from Jeremiah Owyang

Social Media Marketing Risk 2: Over reliance on Technology

Now, this isn’t the conclusion reached by Mr. Owyang, but it’s clear from his study that over reliance on technology creates social media marketing risks. Firms rely on software solutions such as Radian6 and Hootsuite to do their social media marketing. Don’t get me wrong, these are fabulous tools we frequently use in managing our own social media and that of our clients. But, these aren’t strategies — they’re tools.

Relying on Radian6 to solve your social media marketing is like thinking the camera will solve your traditional marketing. Both are excellent tools when used by trained people operating with direction form a detailed marketing plan that identifies the specific goals of the campaign, specific actions necessary to reach this goal, applicable metrics for assessing success, and an action plan detailing who does what when.

Social Media Marketing Risk 3: Proliferation

Firms fail to plan social media effectively and many run social media marketing by the seat of their pants lacking clear direction or establishing goals. Among the social media marketing risks resulting are a proliferation of different social media marketing efforts (enterprise level firms averaged 178 different social media accounts) that blur brand image and many damage the firm’s reputation.

Here’s a quote from the report:

Uncontrollable Growth Leaves Brands at Risk. Brands have jumped into the social space at a dizzying pace, Incorporating social media into traditional business processes, including marketing, sales, customer support, product development, and beyond. Yet adoption has occurred haphazardly, with little control or quality assurance.

Case Study

Mr. Owyang presents a case study of social media marketing strategy in the form of Applebee’s restaurants, which use a combination of people, software, and processes to achieve the neighborhood feel they want for their restaurants in social space. Applebees uses a top down approach by giving owned and franchised restaurant managers training, direction, and content to share across social platforms.

Applebees also uses a regional strategy allowing restaurants to share campaigns within the region.

Recommendations for Mitigating Social Media Marketing Risk

  1. Get the organization ready
    1. set goals
    2. audit existing social media accounts and only keep those that meet goals
    3. document workflow and create internal policies regarding social media
    4. develop a content strategy
  2. Select vendors that match the organization’s needs
    1. know what you need before you talk to vendors
    2. test software solutions and get a clear idea of costs to modify or integrate the software
  3. Roll out your strategy
    1. train employees
    2. Assess, learn, and tweak your strategy

Your Turn

Take a look at my comments and view the powerpoint put together by Altimeter. Let me know what you think.

  • Do the opinions and results reported match your experience?
  • If not, how is your experience different from that reported?
  • Do you find additional social media marketing risks show up in your business or industry?