Is there a monster lurking somewhere in your online marketing techniques?
A monster marketing mistake is sort of like pumpkin spice — an inevitable part of the yearly cycle and virtually impossible to avoid altogether. However, this is a great time to both review what’s gone right with your marketing strategies over the past year and also roust out any unnoticed monsters that have taken up residence when you weren’t watching.
In specific, look for these two classic creepers:
Social Media Vampires
Social media vampires are a special breed of the undead. While they first appear to be living, breathing social media presences, they can only fool search engines for a short period of time.
You can recognize a social media vampire by watching their online practices carefully:
They don’t go for blood, but they will suck dry any original online content they find that’s relevant to their market and try to pass it off as their own in a repost.
They’re incapable of actual engagement — they mimic normal social media behavior by retweeting from other accounts or using automated messages, but they don’t actually interact with customers.
They seem like they’re from a different time — one where negative online feedback from customers can be safely ignored.
They use “mindless minions,” or paid followers, on Twitter or Facebook. This strategy pumps up their numbers in the misguided notion that quantity is more important than quality.
They like to cultivate an air of mystery. They’ll push promotional content but they don’t educate their customers or build a personal rapport through two-way conversations.
Social media vampires destroy your ranking on Google through duplicate content flags. If one takes over your Twitter feed, you can be mistaken for a spam account. Both of these issues pale in comparison, however, to what one can do to your relationship with your customers.
Vampires of any sort have a hard time being taken seriously in this day and age. They’re musty, archaic leftovers of a bygone era where people had fewer choices and less personal power. If one takes over your social media presence, you’ll quickly lose both credibility and customers. Customers will see you as stale, remote, un-engaging, and disinterested in their opinions.
What to do
The remedy to the damage done by a social media vampire is simple: act quickly and create a livelier online presence that engages directly with customers. Here are some tips to get started:
Constantly ask yourself, “What new information can I give my customers?” Remember that the more original content and information you share, the stronger your credibility.
Don’t pay for followers. Instead, work on building an actual following through contests, content, and consistent interaction.
Go ahead and re-post something that’s clever — just make sure that you give credit to the original source. Viewers still get the information and you get points for honesty.
It does take more time and manpower to maintain an active social media presence. However, your ROI will be worth it if you keep engaging your current customers, adding prospects to your list, and making consumers feel like you care about their experience with your brand.
Marketing werewolves are a little harder to spot than vampires because they don’t seem like monsters at all. Unless you happen to look at them in the right light, they will pass for ordinary marketing professionals.
Here are the ways that they are actually showing their monstrous side to your customers and failing your company:
They keep looking for a silver bullet or magic potion — they seem to believe that there is a single marketing trick that will automatically cure all SEO problems forever.
They’re inconsistent. They let their focus wax and wane too quickly instead of making sure that their marketing message is being repeated over multiple channels in order to really reach customers and grab ahold of their psyche.
They don’t know how to cultivate the brand so that people will rely on its overall reputation instead of the occasional disruption.
What to do
Confidence in the brand and the company’s message are the key to handling marketing werewolves. Occasional disruptions are going to happen. But if the overall marketing strategy is consistent and sound, disruptions will be absorbed into the flow of things without a lot of notice. Here are some tips:
Remember that brand consistency involves every little detail — it has to be part of everything from your invoices to the font on your website.
You can’t change your message every moon cycle. People need to hear the message over and over again before they’ll start to listen, let alone buy into your brand.
Stop shifting around all the time. Keep the message the same even if the delivery method changes. This lets you use a mixture of tactics to convey the same underlying idea and brand.
Strategy and consistency, not magic potions or silver bullets, resolve the marketing werewolf’s real problems.
If you can rid your company of these two Old World monsters, most of the marketing mayhem should go with them. You don’t even need pitchforks and torches to do it — just confidence, consistency, and solid leadership should do it.