Across the channel, we are looking at the worst 9, the 9 worst things that you could do in a particular area. There’s always some pretty good advice about what you should do, but here’s a look at some of the mistakes that will get you in trouble. All of these I’ve seen, but no names mentioned this time. (but you could have fun guessing)
- Create a completely fake site pretending to be some brand fans. Write in a condescending manner that is a marketers view of how a particular demographic talks. When found out (because you always will be) deny everything, then pull the site down and leave a vague, meaningless apology.
- Create a site following the travels of some brand fans as they drive across the country visiting stores. Forget to disclose that the bloggers are in the employ of the agency (instead of being ‘sponsored’). Eventually apologise.
- Comment on multiple blogs as a character from a commercial, to promote the product. But don’t just confine yourself to blogs and boards that are ad related or discussing the character, no, just pretend you are someone real and comment on posts that are talking about serious life issues. Fudge it and blame it on an intern/junior team member when found out
- Comment as a character in a promotional game, commiserating with people who are going through real life changes just because your character is. Post the same message to multiple forums without changing it.
- Astroturfing in general. Even if you are a real fan of the toy, web site or political campaigner, don’t go out and post the same polished message everywhere.
- Treat bloggers as second class citizens and pretend that you are doing them a favour by sending them exclusive content. Send out the same email to 100s of sites, asking them to sign up, explaining how great it would be for them if they used your oh, so, pretty content but only if they get picked from the applicants.
- Send out every single press release to the same list of bloggers, despite complete lack of relevance for many of them, because they are on a ‘relevant’ list that is floating round in PR circles.
- Ignore outright critiscism without some kind of response. It will just get worse if it hits a few of those influentials.
- Have no social media plan at all – even if all you are doing is listening, you need to be doing something to understand what your customers are writing and thinking about you. People who have blogs and write on message and review boards may only be a small proportion of your customer base, but they are a visible proportion for many, many others who are doing research on the web. If all they ever see when they type in your brand name is complaints, what are you doing about it. The answer is not to employ a specialist agency that will push the bad results away, but do things to change their opinion of you. Search for Dell Hell and you’ll see the original problems and they way the company changed things.