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    Social Media and Business 2010 – Fatal Mistakes to Avoid. Part 2.

    by Paul Shuteyev
    Oops! Mistake!

    Oops! Mistake!

    Mistake 3: Offering too much or too little choice

    Offering audiences too much choice for communicating with them creates noise. For example, if they receive the same information via Twitter, LinkedIn, email marketing, online groups, and your newsletter, at some point they will tune out and potentially miss important new information.

    Offering too little choice is just as problematic. For example, many organizers now use Facebook to advertise events and contests to the exclusion of traditional websites and advertising. However, the assumption that "everybody" is on Facebook—or that everyone who is on Facebook and needs the information will receive it—is flawed.
    Solutions: Choose the best mix of communication vehicles for your audience and purpose. Enable audiences to filter your information and messages by topic. Enable opt-in communication and allow audiences to choose their preferred format to receive information (e.g., daily, weekly, monthly email; RSS; social media group or fan page). Above all, provide a single place that audiences can go to get all available information on one topic.

    Mistake 4: Failing to consolidate messages and information

    A key problem with relying on quick-and-dirty methods to disseminate information (e.g., Tweets, Facebook, and LinkedIn updates) is that no one ever gets the complete picture at once—if ever at all.

    You also lose control of the message through "re-tweeting" and status sharing, so it's important to have a method in place that allows you to own the whole picture even while the message is being disseminated by others.

    Solutions: Assigning ownership of audiences (No. 2 of the first part) can eliminate this problem. Here's another strategy:

    1. First consider how many messages the audience really needs about the topic, and how often they need to receive updates.
    2. Next, follow the advice in No. 3 above.
    3. Then, for each topic or event, provide a single place where audiences can go to get all the information they need. These days, this is most likely to be a Web page—but it may also be a toll-free number or a physical location like an information kiosk.
    4. Finally, in every message you send out on the topic, tell people where they can go to get complete information.

    Mistake 5: Falling prey to "easy" and "cheap"

    The primary problem with easy and cheap is that it's easy and cheap. With no premium or barrier to entry, user-driven communication vehicles like Twitter and Facebook arrive on the market already commoditized. By becoming distracted by easy-access commodities, companies erode the value of tried-and true foundations of communication.

    Examples of how this can happen include:

    * Creating too much noise for truly important messages to be effectively heard.
    * Inadvertently training your audiences to ignore messages from you because there are too many messages of low value.
    * Succumbing to 11th-hour communication (because it's so easy to do) rather than planning out well-timed information delivery.

    Solution: Consider new communication channels within the context of the bigger picture: your business and marketing goals, your audience's needs and preferences, your marketing communications mix. The marcoms mix should always be open for tweaking, but make changes only after you have a solid business case for it. Once the need for change is determined, take the time to map out your audiences, the messages they need, and the best channels of delivery for each audience-message combination.

    Written by:
    Paul Shuteyev
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