There is no denying that for all businesses, social media marketing, if utilised correctly – with the right tools, resources and time – can be a powerful and beneficial marketing tool.

One of the main benefits for a lot of businesses using social media is that in its basic and simple principal, it is a free marketing tool which has provides businesses and organisations the opportunity to reach a mass audience at any one time – meaning small, independent businesses can compete with the “big boys”.

However, whilst the marketing benefits of social media can prove extremely useful for businesses when utilised in the correct manner, when the eye is taken off the ball and mistakes happen it can be costly.

Each year there will be no end of high profile individuals, businesses and organisations that fall foul of the pitfalls of social media and online marketing; and although these mistakes may prove costly for them, they can act as a learning curve for everyone else.

Below, we take a quick glance at three things which can be learnt from mistakes made during 2013 on one of the main social media players, Twitter.

Tone of Voice:

It’s no secret that Twitter offers a character limit, making it imperative that those using the platform as a marketing tool get their message across in a clear and concise manner – and as such, get the tone of voice correct.

Unfortunately, as one well known global brand found out earlier this month (November), getting the tone of voice incorrect can lead to a lot of negative publicity – even if the tweet has been deleted!

The tweet in question read: “1 RT = 1 Breakfast for a vulnerable child” – and led to the brand receiving a backlash on Twitter for using charity as a marketing plan to boost their own profile.

Timing of Tweets:

The timing of when a tweet is sent can make all the difference to whether it reaches the widest audience possible, or falls on deaf ears. Timing tweets to get the ultimate exposure is that important that there are tools available which advise when is the best time and day to tweet – although how accurate these are remains to be seen.

One tool which is used by many is the ability to schedule a tweet – meaning that even when the office is closed, the Twitter feed is kept up-to-date, and engages with its audience.

However, scheduling tweets can also lead to mistakes being made as Tesco found out back in April when the “horsemeat scandal” broke, as their customer service team had scheduled a tweet which read: “It’s sleepy time so we’re off to hit the hay. See you at 8am for more #TescoTweets”.

Hashtags:

Hashtags are one of the most powerful tools available to Twitter users, enabling people to join conversations about hot-topics, or spread the word about certain products, events, etc.

Using the right hashtag at the right time can also make or break a marketing campaign, and with Twitter opening their advertising platform to small and medium- sized businesses in the UK, the power of hashtags is set to increase.

However, using the wrong hashtag can lead to confusion, as one retailer found out earlier this year when they included irrelevant hashtags in a number of their tweets.

In addition to causing confusion, including a hashtag within a marketing campaign also leaves it open to “hijacking” – as McDonalds found out with their #McDstories last year.

It would appear that not everyone has learnt from the hashtag hijacking scenario McDonalds faced, as this week the London Mayor, Boris Johnson, saw #AskBoris – which was created to encourage his followers to take part in a 1 hour Q&A about his policies – hijacked by people asking him questions relating to his previous gaffes and favourite death metal band.

To help ensure that solicitors and lawyers do not fall foul of the pitfalls that social media can often present, at JE Consulting, we provide a social media marketing service designed to help professionals make the most out of the marketing opportunities social media offers.

Find out how you could benefit from our services, by contacting us today.

Categories: Blog