5 traps of guaranteed failure and how to avoid them when exposing your brand to social media.

You are very excited about your brand and its offering. Your mind is flooded with ideas about how to market it. You must be thinking by now that how awesome the response will be and how little it would take to be famous on social media.

Don’t be fooled by your demons, luring you in traps which will guarantee your brand’s failure on social. In fact demons know digital better than we humans do, but their purpose is always to destroy you. 🙂

Now that you understand that there is something demonic going on in your head; let’s shake those thoughts off and get to work on a success plan.

First thing first. Take a step back and make sure you have what it takes to give your brand a voice on social. Ask yourself these questions before putting your brand inside the social echo system.

  1. Do I really need to take my brand on social?
  2. What my brand will stand for on social?
  3. What are my expectations?
  4. What are the consequences?
  5. Are my expectations real or just a demon painting a pretty picture?
  6. Am I possessed? 🙂

Let’s suppose, if all the answers are positive, than the next step would be to prepare yourself for the journey.

In my 17 years in advertising, branding and now for the past 8 years in digital branding, I have experienced majority of brands fail to making 5 lethal mistakes.

To avoid them you will need to keep a check on them to ensure your brand’s success on social. Now let’s take a look at the 5 traps which will guarantee your brand’s failure on social and how to avoid them.

1. Starting without a well thought-out agenda and a goal

Taking your brand on social with or without a well thought-out agenda and a goal is similar to that of taking a dog or a lion for a walk on the street.

If you don’t have a goal then you will probably have to walk many miles without ever getting noticed. Unless of course if you are already a celebrity then it wouldn’t matter; be it a dog or a lion.

But if you are an ordinary brand and have a clear goal, or in other words a lion’s leash in your hands, your brand will be noticed immediately and your brand voice will start to amplify.

This of course won’t happen overnight. Amplification may take a year or at least 6 months given how much effort you are putting in and how much media you are spending to reach your preferred audience.

The last thing you can do is to underestimate the influence social can be on your brand. You have to guard your brand’s wellbeing and overall health at all times, just like you would do for yourself when you socialize.

Social is not that different from an offline life. People take brands as personalities they can interact with and sometimes it can be very messy. So be careful of what you say or do on social but don’t be afraid to make a bold statement if it aligns perfectly with your agenda.

Exercise 1.1

Take a paper, pen or a pencil and draw a lion and a dog side by side. Now draw two circles around them. Write down the things you would do if you would want your brand’s presence on social to be as powerful and unique as a lion walking on the street with you or as common as a dog. You will see the difference between the plans you had for your brand on social before you did this exercise. In fact I would encourage you to first jot down what you think now and then do this exercise.

2. Planning content based on your own thoughts and whims

When you plan content, it is almost unavoidable to not get carried away with your own perception of how people perceive your brand. What this leads to is irrelevant content which will guarantee skipping.

To avoid this happening to your branded content, you need to first understand what social content is and what it is made up of. Our definition is more closely related to content crafted for social.

“Social content is a combination of “responsive”, “useful” and “causative” communication with your audience; delivered through various forms of media.”

We believe these three elements are common in almost every success story we have seen on social. Be it just a status update or an important news you want to share with your audience, it should have these three ingredients.

Let me elaborate these three key content ingredients:

RESPONSIVE:

Think of a photo which shows a man dragging a donkey cart and on it is his family with their dog. The visual caption reads: And we think we are doing enough!

This will generate likes but little or no comments/shares, let alone any inbox messages. Guaranteed!

Why? Because you are only asking your audience to like what they see by showing a very emotional image without asking what you want them to do after they see the image. Hence, lesser engagement.

Lesser engagement means your brand is losing its voice and eventually doomed to be infamous very soon.

The lesson here is to choose content which tells your brand’s story and connect to the emotions you want to evoke and then you ask them to take an action which is either useful for them or someone they care about.

USEFUL:

The information you choose to share should be useful, in any context, otherwise it will vanish in thin air of the social climate. However, you should be careful to not make tall claims which you can’t back.

Making your audience realize something which they are doing incorrectly all their lives is a perfect example of how your content can be treated as useful.

If you tell people that they were washing their cloths the wrong way all their lives and then showing them how to wash them properly suites a brand which is either related to directly selling laundry products or services.

Usefulness can be extremely rewarding when it comes to online food channels trying to get subscriptions or traffic to their websites by showing recipes which are easy to make and on the go.

CAUSATIVE:

Ask people to do something. Ask them to go ahead and share or ask them to go give their mom a hug on mother’s day. Ask them something as small as taking a look in the mirror or ask them something as big as taking a trip to some place they have never been before.

Ask them to be part of a cause or ask them to find their causes and share with you. Keeping the audience engaged is the biggest challenge brands face these days. Scarcity of good content and abundance of cheap click baits keeps marketers awake at nights.

Some content might work and some might not. But removing causative voice from your messages will for sure take the brands engagement graph down like anything.

3. Treating social media as a shortcut to instant fame

Sometimes I come across some very passionate marketers who want instant fame for their brands which are still in their infancy stages. They want their brands to go viral and be instant hits over night.

I often listen and wonder about their impatience and what is motivating them to take such a risk where odds are quite not in the favor of their brands.

Fame is good for brands. However, one needs to be careful in taking such decisions. To put your infant brand in such a hot seat is as crazy as it can get. Be extra vigilant and think really hard before you do something stupid.

99% of brands who try to pull a stunt to get attention fails. One or two succeed. Be careful. Just don’t do it before your brand is mature enough and its agenda and goals are positively popular.

One piece of advice here. Don’t ever relate your brand to sensitive issues which people are angry or sad about. Stay away at all cost, no matter how convincing it may sound. Remember the devil and the pretty picture?

4. Not learning from your mistakes and NOT making adjustment to your content too often.

As I urged you to be careful before, it is almost also unavoidable not to make mistakes on social. It might sound a bit double standard but that’s how it is. You work hard and learn from your mistakes and move on.

If you made a mistake then accept it publically and gracefully. If you said something which have created a negative impact on a group of people then, have a big heart and apologies and take down the content in question.

However if your content is advocating something commonly accepted as noble and in good faith then, you can assess the situation and respond to negativity with dignity and respect and stand your ground if you really believe in it.

Remember. You are not on social to make people happy. You are here to make a positive impact on people’s lives. Thinking too much about your audience’s moods and likes may also result in ordinary content.

Make your content around your goals and agendas and engage your audience causatively by asking them to do something after they see your message.

5. Give up too soon

Even after doing everything the right way; is your brand still having a hard time having a good share of voice on social? Wait! Just don’t give up too soon. I have seen many brands fail just because they thought social is not where they will find their edge.

They fail to understand that social is not going to give you an edge or doesn’t have tools to do so. It’s your agendas and goals which will and most importantly your will to keep on tweaking and improving your communication strategy.

So, if you are planning to shut your social down after doing everything you think you can then just take a step back and re-evaluate the same questions; I have asked you in the beginning of this piece.

Additionally, investigate the factors which are leading you to think; this is the end. Do a social audit of your brand with honesty. Or if you think you can be biased then, hire someone really good to do it for you.

These may not be the only factors which effect a brand’s success or failure on social. But they sure can be deadly.

What other factors do you think may be effecting brands you follow, work with or care about? I would love to hear your thoughts!

The author is not a professional writer or a blogger. But a beginner and a student of writing blogs. The author is also a seasonal marketer and have worked all his life making brands. If you want to reach this author; please email him at furqan@tdpartnership.com