Top 10 List of Social Marketing Practices to Avoid in 2012

Copyright 2011 Cisco Systems: Reproduced with Permission.

Everywhere you look, folks offer B2B marketers social media marketing advice. (In fact, I’m guilty of that!)

But how about a few lessons on what NOT to do?

Petra Neiger leads the Center of Social Media Excellence at Cisco Systems. I met her through the SVESMC and, this past week, she joined me for a panel that I moderated on Forecast 2012: The Challenges and Opportunities with Social Business

During our talk, she mentioned this clever, tongue-in-cheek blog post that she wrote recently with another Cisco colleague about those special practices guaranteed to give any marketer nightmares. 

I think the graphic is a scream, so with her permission, I include it here.  (Hint: You can turn each of these nightmares into a best practice by doing the opposite…)

From a mainstream B2B marketer’s perspective, here are five more “worst practices” that I’d like to add to Cisco’s list:

1) Switch to social media from traditional online and physical media because, well, social is “free”!  Did you ever count up the hours people spend (and waste) on this medium? Or what kind of effort it takes to keep a blog interesting?  Or a Twitter handle active? Still think it’s cheap?

2) Start a Facebook fan page and wonder why only your employees like it.  Lesson: Facebook is a social networking site, not a substitute for a Web destination. Search engines don’t pick up the content you put there as readily as they do Web pages. And if you don’t do anything social, like offer promotions, coupons, contests, games, funny/ironic observations, controversy, etc., few will notice.

3) Use Twitter to promote business services that require assessments and have long sales cycles. (  After about 20 tweets, what can you really say that’s interesting and specific enough to garner a following?

4) Encourage your sales and service people to get involved in social media.  Lesson: except for LinkedIn, this idea stands a snowball’s chance in Hades on so many levels.  (Customer support is another matter, however.)

5) However, do let your sales executives blog.  Especially when clients might find the posts just a little bit insulting. See: Why does everyone hate us?   And the winner is….  So things are looking better or aren’t they  (Enough said.)

Here’s hoping your social media marketing plans continue to shape up well for 2012. Remember: True success is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration — so keep experimenting with your social marketing, but keep the client in mind as you do.

3 Responses to “Top 10 List of Social Marketing Practices to Avoid in 2012”

  1. Jon Birdsong Says:


    First time reader here! It’s my first week at a new job and I was referred to your blog by a colleague of mine: you’ve already added you my rss reader :) We are really ramping up our marketing efforts at the moment and your content has helped me navigate this new space. Thanks for posting and please keep the great content coming!

    Jon Birdsong

  2. Laura Ramos Says:

    Steven, Thanks so much for the comment. I think you hit on the two that are particularly common, but bothersome, in the B2B marketing space. #4 – failing to engage with your community — is another one I think B2Bers should heed. B2B has always been about community. We used to call it “user groups” and “customer advisory boards”. Social is just ANOTHER way to extend those interactions. Funny how many have lost sight of that one. Thanks again!

  3. Steven Pofcher (@spofcher) Says:

    Laura – Love the poster. #6 and #9 both really resonate with me. I have met many people, including well-known people who should know better. They feel and promote the idea that social media (SoMe) is the end-all and be-all. They forget that SoMe is a vehicle to be used in conjunction with other vehicles to get a message to their audience. While SoMe is a very powerful tool, it should only be a part of a comprehensive marketing plan.

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