4 Ways to Screw Up Your Social Media Marketing Strategy

There is no doubt that B2B social media participation is growing at a rapid rate. In fact, according to a Forrester Research study released last year, B2B marketers’ social media spending is expected to increase by 490% by 2014.

The Art of Social Media
That’s a significant jump and it’s certainly justified by the returns that some B2B marketers have reaped from relatively minimal investments.

But while social media is great for driving website traffic and rounding out your online marketing strategy, that doesn’t mean it’s a mistake-free medium.

After all, in the social space, with more followers comes more scrutiny. That inevitably opens the door for marketers to do things that are guaranteed to alienate their follower base and sabotage their social media strategy.

HubSpot published a list of B2B social media marketing’s biggest blunders last year and I’ve got a few thoughts of my own. So if you don’t want to find your company on a list of B2B social media failures, then make sure you don’t do the following:

Be inconsistent

What does that mean? Tweet once and then never tweet again. Or,worse yet, establish a group on LinkedIn, invite all of your contacts to join in, and never update it.

Social media is all about owning and maintaining your presence in the online space, so be sure to do it in a meaningful way on a recurring basis.

Be overbearing

If you invited users to your Facebook group more than once, you’re overdoing it. The beauty of social media is that your audience or follower base is always growing, so you don’t need to harass the same group of people in order to force growth.

If you’re providing meaningful content and information to your audience, your group will grow organically. And, if you do feel like you can boost growth with an invitation, be sure to send it only once. There’s nothing worse than a desperate invitation.

Be selfish

There are numerous good reasons to establish a social presence and one is to share the most relevant information with your followers. There are a few exceptions (for example, if you’re Apple, you really don’t need to share information on anything but Apple), but we should all be conscious of acting selfish with our updates.

Be sure to pass along relevant links that don’t drive traffic directly to your website. Your followers will appreciate the varied information and won’t feel like they’re inundated with content that’s only about YOU.

Jon Morrow of KISS Metrics addressed this issue on his blog last fall, chastising marketers who use social media for their own selfish gain. That selfishness isn’t just bad business strategy, it’s also a surefire way to send your social media followers running for the hills.

Be childish

In the online space, you can find review sites that cater to nearly any business. Whether you’re a storefront or a venture capital firm, visitors can rate a site and review the services you provide.

But reviews aren’t always positive. As Mashable contributor Josh Catone points out, they can sometimes be downright harsh. He lumps those negative reviews into four categories (Straight Problems, Constructive Criticism, Merited Attack, and Trolling/Spam) and discusses how to respond to each one.

Of course, responding to a negative review in a childish manner is never the way to go. In fact, it’s a really easy way to lose your credibility. While negative reviews are upsetting, a reckless and emotional response will do more damage to your reputation in the long run than that one negative write-up.

So, instead of losing your cool, use those reviews as a way to better the company at every turn. As hard as it might be, responding graciously to negative feedback can go a long way in endearing yourself to your followers.

Have you been guilty of those social media marketing mistakes in the past? I hope not, but you wouldn’t be the first.


It’s important to remember that social media can be a double-edged sword. While it provides instant access to a large pool of potential customers, allows you to quickly spread your message and helps promote thought leadership and brand awareness, it can also wreak havoc if you slip up.

So, as your follower base grows, make sure that the effort and attention you commit to social media marketing strategy does too.

Corey O'Loughlin
Corey O'Loughlin

Corey was a marketing analyst at OpenView from 2010 until 2011. Currently Corey is the Owner of Prep Obsessed and was previously the Marketing Manager at MarketingProfs.
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