I’m doing a social media strategy presentation at the Transportation Marketing and Sales Association in San Diego today. Today’s talk is a major revamp of  my social media strategy presentation, incorporating learnings from all the social media work we’ve done the past year. With much more social media content to share, I’ve prepared 12 social media topics for the audience to choose from in customizing the presentation to the issues most relevant for them. They get value from picking what’s covered, and it keeps me on my toes since no two presentations are the same!

We'll also be highlighting social media strategy best practices from among attendees to make the talk more industry-specific and recognize smart work in the transportation and logistics industry. While looking for best practices, I found a number of social media mistakes as well. Instead of calling them out in the presentation, however, today’s post highlights seven of the (unattributed) mistakes any business-to-business (or even business-to-consumer) company shouldn't be making:

1. Making your product/service the hero in every blog post.

In transportation industry blogs, the companies doing the blogging have their services providing heroic solutions in WAY too many posts. Using the problem-solution-result format to occasionally highlight your brand’s products and services is okay. If every blog post involves your brand coming to the rescue, however, it’s repetitive and will disaffect readers. The alternative is delivering content on what customers are:

  • Seeking information about
  • Focused on in their professional (and personal) lives
  • Challenged to accomplish in their businesses

With this approach, incorporating the Think-Know-Do perspective we’ve recommended will help you to create much greater content value for readers.

2. Only following and fanning business-to-business customers.

For business-to-business brands (and business-to-consumer ones too), deciding who to follow and fan can be challenging. While there are a variety of strategies which may be right, at least one strategy is clearly wrong: only following your customers. When you only follow customers in a business-to-business market, your customer list becomes visible to anyone checking your profile.

3. Creating an industry platform with lots of fanfare and very little planning.

One company introduced an issue-oriented portal to tackle a big, meaty industry issue. The introduction included lots of fanfare and promises of frequent updates, community, and vibrant conversations. On launch day, the company debuted several “executive” blog posts to frame its thought leadership position and then . . . wait for it . . . nothing. What does it make your brand look like when months pass and nothing’s happening on the site? If makes it look as if your brand doesn’t keep promises. When executives become hell-bent to launch this type of site, invest some of the development money into creating a legitimately implementable content plan to keep it updated and build a robust dialogue. Not sure how? Call us!

4. Featuring sharing buttons but nothing worth sharing.

Definitely make social media content spreadable by installing plug-ins to allow readers to share your content within their own social networks. Putting sharing buttons on a web page is only one part of the sharing equation. The content has to be valuable and worth taking time to let others know about it. Going through several TMSA attendees’ social media sites, sharing shows up on many pages no one would ever share no matter how easy it is to do.

5. You create all the Twitter and Facebook content you share.

Social networking is about conversation and sharing relevant content from multiple pertinent sources. The Twitter and Facebook presences for many TMSA attendees do nothing but push their own content, making it seem like just a bunch of mini press releases. You can check how you’re doing on this by looking at your last 20 tweets or Facebook status updates. In how many are you “talking” vs. answering questions, engaging in conversations with other users or sharing content from others? Target less than 20% of the content being your material and 80% from some form of interaction.

6. Ignoring social media when your company is being challenged.

When a brand is under attack, it’s discouraging, but pulling back and not communicating in every social channel where your brand is getting bad talked isn’t the way to go. With the ability for anyone to essentially broadcast very creative content about your brand, you can’t afford silence. There’s no reason you shouldn’t be the most compelling communicator of your story. If you’re getting pounded in blog posts, comment and move the conversation to positive topics. If a YouTube video search shows nothing but mocking videos and doomsayers about your brand, get busy and share lots of brief, rich stories about what your company and its employees are doing to provide value.

7. Having multiple accounts and one avatar.

It can be smart to have multiple identities for your brand set up in relevant channels with content targeted to interest areas your customers have. Every presence shouldn’t have exactly the same corporate logo though. Not providing visual differentiation undermines the value of the diverse, focused content you’re sharing. When designing multiple avatars, make sure they carry a comparable feel so people know they’re all from your brand, but reflect the distinct content and perspective each is presenting.


If you’re a TMSA attendee, were any of these written about your social media presence? If you didn’t attend TMSA, do any of the problems sound familiar anyway? - Mike Brown

The Brainzooming Group helps make smart organizations more successful by rapidly expanding their strategic options and creating innovative plans they can efficiently implement. Email us at brainzooming@gmail.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to see how we can help you define a strategy firmly tied to business yet recognizing the impact of social networking on your market opportunities.