I promised you 5 social media marketing mistakes and how to avoid them, but today, at no extra charge, is a bonus sixth mistake. And this one is a biggie. The sixth and potentially most problematic social media marketing mistake is:
Thinking anyone cares about your brand.
The Allstate Community Forums is a perfect example of this. It doesn't have a chance to succeed as it is today because it is fundamentally flawed in concept. Allstate dramatically overreached in their efforts and assumed that people would want "a place to speak your mind on the things you care about and exchange ideas, information and experiences with other folks like you." It was nice that they didn't try to focus on selling Allstate insurance, but still they had a couple problems with the direction they did choose:
- The topic matter was so broad that they opened themselves up to competing with the very largest social networks out there, and they didn't carve out a niche for conversations around a particular subset of topics; and
- Even if people wanted a place to discuss absolutely anything, would they want to do that with Allstate branding wrapped around it? Um. No.
Allstate might have done better by adapting their strategy this way:
- Focus on discussion around life-changing events (because those are when you consider your insurance needs);
- Understand that a forum like this is going to grow somewhat slowly and you're going to have to invest heavily in great content around life-changing events to pull people in.
- Alternatively, they could have decided that what people really want to discuss on this sort of site is their insurance needs, their problems with Allstate customer service, etc. Because that's how the few people using it today are using it.
- In that case, analyze the top 25 or so types of phone calls that customer service is getting and build forums around those issues, with meaningful info.
In some ways, Allstate is trying to do the right thing. They've left up a forum where they are called "theifs" (yes, spelled exactly like that) and the moderator didn't jump in right way to deal with it. Instead, their customers have largely stepped up to tell the poster that he's a fool.
Nevertheless, the concept they went with is too big, and it looks like their investment in it in terms of sharing their expertise is too low. They should redirect it now.
So when you're working on your social media marketing strategy, remember that nobody outside of your organization really cares about your brand. Think a bit bigger and you'll find what they really care about. Engage in efforts around that and you'll be one step closer to success.
Note: I said in the video that nothing had been posted to the forums in six months. That was incorrect. I was reading the join date of the moderator. There is activity on the site still. Not much, but some. My apologies for the error.
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