Best and worst social media marketing practices.

This post outlines some of the best and worst practices in social media marketing. Most of these are common sense, but they are critical components for an effective social media marketing strategy.

Best Practices:

  • Consistency: This should be applied to every area of your involvement in social media. All of your online profiles should share the same information. Make sure to use the same user names. If possible, use the same profile pictures (if applicable), logos and contact info. Maintain a recognizable streamlined presence across all social networks, professional and personal. Be consistent with your blogging updates, marketing campaigns, product updates, improving website usability and responding to customer feedback, good or bad.
  • Listening: You need to listen consistently for customer chatter. If people are talking, it usually shows your image negative if you don’t listen to them. Satisfied customers remain quiet for the most part, as there is nothing to gripe about. Satisfied customers, on occasion, will leave testimonials and reviews. Happy customers are loyal endorsers of your brand, and it’s essential to keep these people happy.
  • Transparency: People relate to people, plain and simple. Show the human side of your brand. Create an experience and tell a story. Put real faces and stories behind the message you are trying to get across. Most of all, be authentic. If faults are made, acknowledge them.
  • Handing over the keys: Some professionals always turn their blogs over to smaller, lesser-known voices for guest posts. Let others shine when the chance presents itself. With millions of votes in the blogosphere, you probably won’t be heard unless you have an edge. I firmly live by and believe the old saying, “do onto others as others do on to you.”
  • Promote others first: There is a multitude of ways to do this. Suppose you have the platform and audience, hand over the keys to your blog. Share useful content via Google Reader, Digg or Stumble it. These are the easiest ways. Make sure that your blog on a particular topic to reference and link to the source. Bloggers love the “link love”, I know I do. It’s a sense of accomplishment and acknowledgement. Relating to others is also very positive for search engine relevancy and rankings.

Worst Practices:

  • Don’t Ignore: Negative criticism or customer complaints should receive some response. Saying nothing can steal your fate on the web. Word of mouth, predominantly negative, on the web spreads quickly.
  • No drive-by: Drive-by spamming is people will see a significant no. Spam. Do you want your brand recognized as spammers who are just trying to make a quick buck?
  • Lie, cheat and deceive: Don’t create fake profiles and or personas. Creating a fake image with the goal of marketing will eventually backfire. Fakes are always found out, and it will just take a matter of time.
  • Don’t player hate, but participate: Sometimes, saying nothing is better than something. What I mean by this is, don’t trash talk your competition. Listen and learn instead.

These are just a few examples off the top of my head. What are your best practices? What’s the worst you have observed?