99 Social Media Failures

Q: What's the best way to fail in Social Media?
A: Do nothing.

Social Media is all about learning from mistakes... god knows I've made quite a few and almost certainly will make more. Here's a collection.

Image via lifehack.org

99 Social Media Mistakes, Complaints & Failures.

1. Doing nothing 'cause you're scared of what people will say.
People are going to talk, with or without you. (Wired)

2. Pretending to be somebody else.
When is it ok to lie to a customer? (mumbrella)

3. Stalking people across multiple networks.
Stop it. Social Media is a cornucopia of touch points but don't over do it.

4. Building a fake private Twitter account, and branding it later.
I've been followed by 'individuals' who later turned into gaming brands.

Bait and switch users with misleading links.
Becoming a problem as more people share truncated links. (Search Engine Land)

6. Selling your product all day, everyday.
Social Media is about capturing interest, not just sales. (The Next Web)
7. Failure to respond when asked a reasonable question.
It's a crime to have a presence yet ignore customers. My favourate is @VlineInform

8. Acting as if Social Media is alive, just 'cause you've arrived...
Bloody @Oprah and every Australian news media outlet.

9. Plagiarising bloggers content.
Most bloggers are overtly happy with a mere hat tip. (Journalism.co.uk)

10. Starting a blog with out doing any homework.
You need a point of difference... everyone jumps into this head-first. (Pro-Blogger)

11. Expecting people to read your blog when you don't read others.

Odds are, theres stacks of intelligent and original thinkers you can connect with.

12. Not personalising your profile.
People want to know who you are, what you're about. (Webinknow)

13. Preventing users from providing feedback and comments.
Somewhat controversial, but 90% of the time it should be open mic. (Pro-Blogger)

14. Giving fake reviews of your own products online.
Doesn't matter how you justify it, big mistake. (5 Blogs Before Lunch)

15. Forcing users to link to your site to participate in an event.
It's black hat and bad practice. (Recent example on Who is in control of your brand?)

16. Being rude.

17. Aggregating lists of popular lists to get traffic.
Unoriginal, unintersting. (Just like this example)

18. Having a mental breakdown online and sharing it with the world.
It's like driving by a car crash, you can't look away. (Mashable)

19. Mixing up your personal and brand profiles in Tweetdeck.
Sure, probably not a biggy for most people.

20. Not setting up Google alerts for relevant keywords.
It's free, it's flexible, it's timely.

21. Stealing photo's from flickr, passing them off as yours.
It'll play bad when someone figures it out. (Skitzzo)

22. Stealing creative ideas from flickr, passing them off as yours.
It'll play bad when someone figures it out. (Webinknow)

23. Stealing creative ideas off Youtube, turning it into your TVC.
You got it. It'll play bad when someone figures it out. (mumbrella)
24. Loading your TVC on Youtube and calling it viral
Two completely different communication techniques. (Online Marketing Banter)

25. Addressing everyone as "Dear valued client..."
Why would you do that? Talk about customer relations.

26. Not getting that communications evolve.
It's not a fad, I don't use a typewriter and I don't use morse code.

27. Using auto DM's and thinking they add a personal touch.
It's not personal, it's spam. (Tech Crunch)

28. Importing a Twitter stream and thinking your being social.
Using a feed because it's a buzz topic, is not embracing the medium. (ClickZ)

29. Not knowing what an RSS feed is, and not offering one.
Let people read your stuff however they want it.

30. Sending auto @ replies to people who mention your keyword.
It's spam, plain and simple. (Computer Weekly)

31. Changing the privacy policy on your network, and not telling anyone.
It's amazing how people react if they feel you're pulling one over them. (digitalOZ)

32. Begging others to RT you, it's pathetic
Can someone please tweet this, it took me ages.

33. Paying citizen journo's for favourable comments.
Again, amazing how people react when you try to pull one over them. (PR Distasters)
34. Thinking that your idea is going to 'go viral'.
It's probably not going to happen. No matter how much you spend.

35. Blocking access to Social Media in your workplace
For so many reasons Social Media can be an allie or enemy. (Chris Brogan)

36. Blocking access to Social Media on your mobile network.
3 Mobile actually charge you to access some mobile websites, on top of data. (Mashable)

37. Blocking access to Social Media in your country.
... reactions... pulling one over people... etc. (Mashable)

38. Lying.
Should go without saying. (PR Disasters)

39. Thinking people care about your product.
Your product, probably boring. Find an interesting angle. (Emergence Marketing)

40. Calling your product green when your website isn't.
Many make big claims, few think about their power sucking web presence.

41. Spamming those who are passionate about your brand.
There's a captive audience of loyalists.

42. Wasting money on 'promotions' when your fans want you to reach out to them.
Dear big brands, try this. 1 day less TVC's = hire someone to take your brand to the people

43. Not empowering Social Media enthusiasts to be your companies advocates.
Hire people that embody your brand, encourage them to talk.

44. Getting bogged down in possible legal issues.
It can be daunting but you've got a receptionist, or sales team yeah? (Copy Write)

45. Not moderating for abusive comments and spam.
Transparency yes, but truly offensive content requires attention (Laurel Papworth)

46. Responding to every negative comment.
Communicating isn't always about what you say. (Blog Catalog)

47. Not telling your customers when your business has a problem.
Surprising how understanding people can be if you show some transparency.

48. Not understanding how Social Media fits into your marketing mix.
Hailed the death of print media... it's not, it's a communication tool. (The Oyster Project)

49. Hiring actors/journalists/bloggers/assistants to fake persona's.
Smoke and mirrors don't work so well, nothing's a secret on the net. (Computer Weekly)

50. Not giving your employees (simple) Social Media guidlines.
So many companies fear Social Media for potential communication and legal pitfalls.
Think of the pitfalls if staff don't know what they can't say? (Search Engine Journal)

51. Preventing people from linking to your site.
Not sure why... but online, real links mean respect. (Ad Age)

52. Relying too much on online research.
There's a wealth of info online, it may not all be valid. (Pigs Don't Fly)

53. Blaming Google (your biggest traffic source) for stealing content.
Dear Rupert, did you not get the memo? (News.com.au)

54. Hijacking popular and irrelevant hash tags.
It's pure spam. (Search Engine Land)

55. Thinking Twitter isn't powerful.
One tweet led to a trip down under. (Webinknow)

56. Over using jargon.
It's easy to do, remember who you're speaking to online. (Marketing Mag)

57. Failing to listen.
Social isn't always about talking, it's just as much about listening. (Just Another PR)

58. Not learning from others successes and failures.
You would be suprised... how many people don't even bother to read.

59. Alienating people for publicity.
Sure, push the boundaries if you've got a reason. (Copy Write)

60. Not responding when your brand is under serious attack.
When your brands on fire you don't haggle over the price of water. (Kryptonite Locks)

61. Not recognizing that you are shooting at the moon...
You're going to fail, lots. Social requires commitment.

62. Using social media for astro-turfing.
If it smells fishy offline, chances are it will online too. (The Daily Background)

63. Spamming bloggers with your press releases, or often worse.
You read my blog, sent a pdf with no links and don't know my name. (Search Engine Guide)

64. Not understanding your brands online voice, find it.
Takes a little forethought to find the tone of your brand, it's not just words.

65. Filling your Twitter stream with automated posts.
It's not social, it's mind numbing, would you treat a customer like that?

66. Taking instead of giving.
Social Media isn't just a research lab...

67. Getting into Social Media 'cause there's a quick buck in it.
And yes those special offers you send via fax are fantastic! (Pro Blogger)

68. You utter the word 'guru' when describing yourself.
As if you actually discovered the internet. (BrandDNA)

69. Forgetting the importance of your website and its design.
Some seem to invest in 'Social' while neglecting their website.

70. Thinking Social Media has no commercial value.
If you can't figure a commercial reason for Social, think a little harder. (Inspired Worlds)

71. Hiding your companies personality behind corporate language.
It's the perfect opportunity to be approachable and authentic. (One to One)

72. Thinking you can't contribute to a community, just sponsor it.
Enthusiasts are already coming together? Why not ask how you can get involved?

73. Thinking 'news' is the only thing that can be talked about online.
There's a plethora of opportunity on the social web. (Search Engine Land)

74. Saying something, just for the sake of it.
There's no rules to success, just be honest and interesting. (Online Marketing Banter)

75. Sending insulting messages to people.
All it takes is a simple copy, paste. (Computer Weekly)

76. Squatting competitors urls & handles.

77. Ignoring the relationship between search and social media.
For so many reasons. (Search Engine Watch).

78. Not tracking your links.
So many complain about Social Media ROI... yet don't track it. (Search Engine People)

79. 'Doing' Social Media with no clear objectives.
Again, Social cops a lot for ROI but it's hard to measure without a yardstick. (Dosh Dosh)

80. Trying persuade everyone.
In reality there a subset of your followers that have the biggest influence.

81. Relying on strategic thinking alone.
Social media is the worlds largest experiment - recognise you may need to fail to learn.

82. Not understanding the power of giving.
The opportunity in offering something usefull to potential customers. (Marketing Vox)

83. Not reading comments.
It's where topics are debated, ideas fleshed out and the heavy lifting is done.

84. Spreading your presence too wide, and too thin.
The amount of networks a brand can consistently add value to is finite. (PR 2.0)

85. Having no crisis plan...
If something can go wrong, at some stage it probably will. (PR 2.0)

86. Using the exact same strategy and content across multiple networks.
Love it, you update Facebook & Twitter with every new presser. (Search Engine Guide)

87. Not measuring / monitoring your activity.
Yes it's possible! (I.e. - Radian6, Buzz Metrics, Dialogix)

88. Trying to get as many followers as possible.
Large unresponsive list = bad, smaller profitable base = good. (digitalOZ)

89. Signing up to every single Social Media network... or just one.
Find the most suitable platforms, and do them well.

90. Trolling competition online.
It's petty. (Boing Boing)

91. Being boring.
It's ok to have a sense of humour or a personality (xkcd).

92. Posting people's personal details for the world at large.
Admittedly, it's not something one intends to do, but still... (Computer Weekly)

93. Not understanding different networks have different etiquette.
Break norms for a reason, but understand what you can and can't do first. (SEO Chicks)

94. Thinking success should be measured in number of followers.
The number of followers tells you, in fact,very little. (Search Engine Journal)

95. Assuming all your followers actually saw your post.
Applies to all media in reality, not just Social. (Hugh Briss)

96. Buying followers.
It's another case of irrelevant and unresponsive list. (HuoMah SEO Blog)

97. Operating 9 to 5.
You can't work round the clock but you need to flexible or set expectations (i.e. Bigpond)

98. You treat Social Media as another advertising medium.
It's different. (MediaPost)

99. Not understanding that you are what you publish.
It's pretty simple: online bread crumbing for brands. (Webinknow)

So... What did I miss?


Nathan Bush said...

Killer list mate - well done

Karalee_ said...

Wow, great list! Not sure I completely agree with 17, but other than that, I agree with all of them.

Can't think of any more just yet.. might stew.

Oh, did you have if people are talking about you online then respond online? wait, I'll have to read again.. ;)

Jen Frahm said...

Holy crap. This is awesome. Think you've just produced next semester's marketing exam multiple choice. Well that's if there's a uni that's up with curriculum content. They could be now.

Jake Rosen said...

Great aggregated post. The general impression from all of these is treat a social media relationship as you would a face-to-face relationship. Don't be overly aggressive, don't be non-responsive, don't be self-centered.

In regards to 53, I've never met somebody who thinks Google is bad for them. Crazy!

nextbrett_au said...

@nathan thanks mate, appreciate it.

@karalee_ still waiting for the point 17 rebuttal thanks?

@Jen I actually did a course recently on internet marketing... it was about paid search and website usability... miles behind the curve.

@Jake Rosen Exactly there is an overall philosophy to approaching social and even search marketing. However I wanted to elaborate on some of the common blunders you see every day when new brands get involved.

Kenny said...

99 ways to fail. This was great. Maybe don't tweet just for the sake of tweeting. Have a purpose.

Karalee_ said...

Point 17 rebuttal:

Who doesn't like a good list? Especially lists of lists.

I challenge you to list the people who don't like lists.

Kwallen said...

Great list, all of it is so true! Btw, are you refering to MS launch party thingy in #34? :D

Lauren Vargas said...

Brilliant list! Thank you for the shout out as a listening tool!

Lauren Vargas
Community Manager at Radian6

nextbrett_au said...

@karalee_ I love your "oh yeah!" rebuttal - very nice, it's awesome. : ) And thanks for responding in the same social forum - i'll have to update a longer list now.

@kwallen - I wasn't actually, but I did unfortunately get an invite. Such a strange concept no?

@VargasL - My pleasure, thanks for listening. One of the few really useful tools out there at the moment for Social Media monitoring. Particularly in Australia.


Kwallen said...

@nextbrett Ooh did you go? I think they could have made the idea better but er, that promotional video kinda did them in, didn't it? Ouch.

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Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SEO Sydney said...

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Robert Steers said...

Great list, everyone should get into social media for their own good. We are doing it with a couple of clients now, and they are seeing some huge benefits!

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Social Media Marketing said...

Great list of 99 Social Media Failures, Very helpful for me :)

Anonymous said...

Thats a killer list!
Thanks a lot!

About Plan Website is Portal of Various Better Information Plans said...

Thanks for the kind words. Not sure what’s going on with the people telling you to stay away from informational niches, ALL my niches are information based. I have no product based sites that I’m earning with. Maybe these people were never earning and might not have things set up right? Not sure what to think of that kind of logic. If it has a high CPC and high volume of traffic with a lot of ads I can’t imagine you won’t earn. Maybe stay away from gambling and other niches that might eventually be banned/go down the tubes
I hope that helps…
ts my first ever visit on this site……good information being shared here..thanks

Debra Mennins said...

It's a sad truth that Social Media already has a blackhat side. Like with any other online marketing method, natural occurences of trust will still yield the highest ROI over time.

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