You’re doing it wrong

“There is no right or wrong way in social media.”

Every so often I see it. I hear it. And my eyeballs roll back in my head, I drink of the wine and sigh.

Madness. Poppycock. Piffle.

    • If there was no wrong, there would be no posts about the pitballs of crappy corporate blogging and funny lists of why we don’t follow lame social media gurus. *
    • There wouldn’t be an ocean hot water for folks to parboil Kenneth Cole, Groupon, Nestle and a host of others.
    • If there was no wrong way, none of us would have jobs. (Maybe I could tweet for Ashton Kutcher, since he’s now doing it wrong – the other way.)
    • If there were no bad examples or excellent case studies of the right ways, a lot of gurus, pundits and other leaders wouldn’t be able to sell some books.

Puh-lease. I think some of my bestest, more funnier posts have been rants on the crap people are doing wrong.

It’s me.

I’ll sing you a chorus of “TEHO and we all have different goals, reasons, ambitions for being social.” Fine, whatever moves your furniture. But there are limits, there are many wrongs, including:

  • Stealing other peoples work, copying blog posts.
  • Taking credit for what’s not yours, i.e. retweeting without attribution.
  • Spam link bait crap sucks and I still believe Auto-DMs are of the Devil.
  • IMO small businesses need websites, but will grant there are exceptions. It’s wrong to say you must “do” social, have a Facebook page, Twitter or a blog. “Too boring to blog” is b.s., but of course there’s no shortage of poorly written, dull content out there.

FWIW you can flout conventional wisdom and break the Twitter rules, yet still achieve success. But when I see your company’s tweet stream is nothing but “we sell widgets, come see our widgets, which are totally for sale” tweets, then – unless you can come back at me with proof positive of your profitable sales – that’s the wrong way to do it.

If I were to write “my passions,” whatever I wanted – say, make every other blog post a Vampire Diaries recap – I’m sure many would say wrong strategy, bad move for my professional goals. And they’d be right. Unless of course, I was seeking to abandon PR and become a TV critic.

What’s right for me may not be wrong for you. Or something like that. Feel free to tell me I’m wrong.

*ETA: I really thought this list was good, funny; not calling the writer lame or guru. Apologies.

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16 thoughts on “You’re doing it wrong

  1. Hi Davina! I found your site through Jayme’s list and I have to say you’re fabulous.

    And right. There is a wrong way to use SM. Since I operate under a business name, I am very careful not to put my company out there too much. Many people think that would be the purpose of SM – to throw yourself in the faces of potential customers and hope someone stuck around. I’ve found it’s much more effective to just be myself. Yes, I represent a company, but hey look, I have a personality.

    PS – If I could blog Gossip Girl all day long, I’d melt into tears of joy.

    1. Thanks Maranda.. I knew Jayme’s list would be good to me!

      You’re right about being yourself; only way it can work, even if you’re representing a big brand. And the big brands have to understand that their humans working for them, being ‘social’ on their behalf will make mistakes once in a while. It’s wrong IMO to try to whitewash and sanitize a corporate message, losing the very value and impact that social media offers – genuine connection.

      PS Never got into GG, but I’ve got my shows and yeah, I could chat your eyeballs off. 🙂

  2. I agree with this article 100%. There IS a wrong way to use social media. The thing that gets me is why people aren’t acknowledging that there is a wrong way. If you use social media wrong,you will not be able to get the results or provide value to your company…you’ll be the first one to go. A really important part of this is plagiarizing. Just because other people can find your information else where doesn’t mean you shouldn’t help them. Give credit where credit is due! Companies who fail to acknowledge these things will ultimately fail.
    Katie Hozan recently posted..Are You Ready to Meet Your Son?

    1. Here’s another one Katie: how many photos have you seen used for blogs and articles, with the watermark still on them?! It many seem a little thing, but I notice and know it’s wrong.

      I think ‘social media’ gets this fluffy bunny ‘no right or wrong’ label because of the zero barrier to entry; anyone who can type can create a FB page, start blogging today. Companies need to understand it’s an investment in their business, and they need to decide their goals (marketing, PR, branding, etc.). And then realize it takes WORK to do it right. Thanks for sharing your comments.

    1. I do not know who started that ‘pie in the sky’ idea Marcus, but it’s a bunch of hooey. OF COURSE there’s right, there’s wrong, there is way wrong. There are those variables, X factors and you don’t have to play by the rules all the time. Just IME ya gotta know what the rules (rights, wrongs) are to know how and when to break them. FWIW.

  3. I like gurus and ninjas. Who else can I make fun of then? I mean, if we didn’t have stupid people doing stuff wrong all the time, the learning would just not be as much fun. I started tweeting about a year ago in earnest and still have less than 1,000 followers (damn me and my spambot killing ways)

    Some would say with less than 1,000 followers I am CLEARLY doing it all wrong. I say “bite me” and I go and I blog and then I look for work. Is it right or wrong? I don’t know.

    But I refuse to call myself an expert, rock star or ninja so I must be doing something right!
    Nancy Davis recently posted..It Is Easy To…

    1. If you’re an expert, I have not a problem with saying so; I know what I know, market my opinions, experiences as a communicator. It’s just that term, along w/ the gurus, ninjas, mavens, gets tossed – around a wee bit too much – too lightly sometimes Nancy. And yeah, were it not for bad examples we wouldn’t have funny blog fodder. 😉

      I think it’s the sentiment that gets me; it’s sometimes used as part of the social ‘sales pitch.’ IDK it’s just saying “oh Kumbaya, no right or wrong…” makes social media (and social media marketing) easier than it really is. FWIW.

  4. Hi, Davina. I just saw the pingback on my MarketingProfs blog post from your post today. I wasn’t sure if you were referring to me as the “lame social media guru” or not, but I’ll respond regardless.

    I don’t disagree with your take that there’s no “right” way to do social media. Some methods work, while others don’t. Of course, there are some basics and courtesies that are good to follow, but there’s no social media police to worry about.

    For the record, I have never billed myself as a “social media guru” – ever. The field changes so frequently, I don’t think anyone can really be an expert in it. Some marketers know more than others, but we’re all students.

    As for the MarketingProfs blog post to which you linked, it is a tongue-in-cheek and cathartic list for those of us who enjoy ranting every once in a while. Gotta have a sense of humor. 🙂
    Elaine Fogel recently posted..Marketing in the Age of Aquarius

    1. Elaine,

      NOT referring to YOU at all; I was merely sharing your good post. I really enjoyed your rant, the sense of humor and the discussion we had. I don’t know if you’re a guru or consultant or not, but again it wasn’t directed at you. I apologize if it reads that way.

      And I wasn’t saying there’s not a right way, there ARE absolutely right ways. I probably should have linked to more positive case studies, made my point a little clearer. I’ll take a closer look on my little tongue-in-cheek bit here, see if I can clarify my attempts at humor. Thanks.

  5. Hahah, you used “piffle”!

    I wonder if what people mean when they say there is no “right” or “wrong” way to use SM, they really mean there is no formula, or no perfect method. Because that I get – I think there are guidelines one can apply, but what’s going to work for you isn’t necessarily going to work for me, particularly if I try to blindly ape what you’re doing without giving a thought to my particular circumstances. Which you’ve already said, so I’m repeating what you’re saying… sigh…
    Shonali Burke recently posted..What “Saved by the Bell” Teaches us About Influence and Ambassadors

    1. Maybe that’s it, ‘the formula’ – maybe that’s what people mean Shonali, that there’s not a ‘one size fits all’ blueprint. It’s just an expression that I see bandied about and once in a while (esp. on Twitter) and it gets to me when there 1) are wrong ways, there are right ways and 2) the blindly copying w/out considering the client/audience/strategies. FWIW.

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