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Jared Hamilton
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Jared Hamilton

Jared Hamilton Founder - CEO

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Social Media Marketing is a great way for companies to engage and energize their audience.  Dealerships and other companies are moving to these mediums to extend their marketing.  While the benifits can be big, there are some very common mistakes that businesses so regularly made it’s almost embarrassing to admit.  Commiting these errors could cause a disaster for your brand that will take a while to repair.

Here are some mistakes to avoid:

Mistake # 1.   Interrupting and shouting.

Social Media Marketing is about connecting and creating conversations around your brand or areas of expertise.  However, marketing professionals have been trained to grab the attention of the consumer and insert their message inside the short moment that they have captured. This does not work on social mediums.   I liken this to sitting around the coffee table talking with friends and interruping with your company's call to action at every pause in conversation.

Constant "call to actions" would be rude in a physical conversation and are considered interrupting and shouting in a social media setting.  Everyone that has had dinner with a sales person who does not stop pitching their product knows how annoying this can be.  The good news is that people are on social mediums because they want to be involved and they willfully give you their attention, just don’t abuse it by shouting back or you will turn everyone away like the annoying sales person.

Mistake # 2.    Using your PR/Corporate voice.  

As an extension to point #1, when you converse with friends around a coffee table you so with YOUR personality.  This is not a time for PR style language, or corporate speak.  When talking with others on social mediums use vocabulary and tone like you do in person, it should NOT feel like your PR manager is speaking through you.  A general rule of thumb: If you would say it over lunch with an associate, the language is ok.  If your statement could be printed on a brochure than most likely it is too unfamiliar and will not resonate well with your audience.  People will avoid you if you talk like a brochure.

Mistake # 3.    Not being a good citizen.

This rule is simple, but so often over looked!  You must give before you can take.  You give by participating and sharing your knowledge.  Be a good citizen by answering questions, commenting posts or rating contents to make the community a better place.  Those who are good citizens in the communities in which they participate always receive the greatest return on their participation.

Often the first step a company makes when getting involved in a community is to leave a response like this, “We have a solution to that question, see it here <link>.”

While this activity will not get blocked on most networks, it may as well be! That is one of the fastest ways to get people to ignore you.  In the physical world, sales people have always been trained that until they build value, they have no right to ask for the sale.   The same is true on social media. Being a good citizen builds your reputation and through that you will earn the right to present a call to action.  Be a good citizen and give before you try to receive.

Mistake # 4    Keeping too much control

Companies like control.  Dealerships have had control for decades but the Internet, and now the social web, has eroded that control. Don’t worry!  This is not the end of business, as you know it.  It just means you have to be a bit more open to succeed in the social, user-generated environment.

Companies should give guidelines to their employees and then encourage them to participate as actively as possible in the communities relevant to your brand.  If you offer good products and are genuinely concerned about serving your customers with value, then you have nothing to fear.  No, not every interaction on social mediums is positive, but neither are they in the physical world that you have already succeeded in! So what are you so worried about?  Your employees (if given the tools,) and your current customers (if engaged properly) will become your greatest ambassadors if you allow them to.  Your message will spread faster, wider and cheaper than ever before.  This requires a more open policy than most companies are use to, but isn’t this why your company is involved in social media in the first place, to extend your brand?  Let your brand grow by allowing your army of greatest enthusiasts spread your message.  You will not succeed without being more open.

Mistake # 5.    Inconsistent participation.

Lastly, if you were to join two customers at the coffee table who were talking about your brand, and you only said one sentence then remained silent through the rest of the conversation, how effective would your communications be?  The same is true on social media.  Engagement requires constant participation or the conversation will pass you by.  Set realistic goals, be involved daily or weekly and stick to the schedule.  Most communities have ways to be alerted and reminded of conversations that you should be involved in.  Staying involved can be a simple few minutes a day, but disappearing when a conversation is about you is not a good way to engage your audience.

Mistake #6  Being too afraid to try.

Most of you are probably reading and thinking, "this is common sense."  I completely agree, social media engagement is common sense!  If you have good “in-person” social skill, then social media marketing will be natural for you, but you have to try.  One this is ceratin, sitting on the sidelines will not make any progress!  Get involved, leave a few comments and enjoy yourself.  Most companies screw it up when they put their "marketing" hats on and look at the mediums as completely transactional or over analyze every comment they leave.  Experience has proven that transactions happen, brands grow and your message will spread best when you treat "engaging your market on social media" as you would if you ran into a customer on the street.

Be yourself, be helpful and be active!  With that, there are many experts out there reading this.  What are some other common mistakes that should be added to the list?


Ok guys. Got the message loud and clear. Sorry for the self-promotion. I guess I got a little over zealous because I'm so involved in this issue. Thanks for the gentle guidance.
By the way Paul, I'm a longtime reader of your blog "ISMintraining." I've always found it informative and thought-provoking. More posts!
David Book
Hi Roland, Thanks for taking the criticism constructively, that is exactly the intent. I got involved in DrivingSales a few months ago and have really enjoyed it. Your input and expertise in the area of Social sites (and other areas I'm sure) is looked forward to. And, by the way, GREAT idea with the widgets ;-) Welcome to the gang! David
Jared Hamilton
I appreciate the participation. My next post will be about some quick and easy ways to get your business into social networking. There are a million ways to get involved and positive actions that can be taken, its certainly not just about avoiding the landmines...

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