Dead or Alive – The 7 Deadly Sins of Marketers on Facebook

Eleftherios Hatziioannou – founder of Peopleizers – was invited to open the AllThingsFacebook conference in Budapest (Hungary) in March 2014. In his very insightful keynote he shared many personal stories including how he got started on Facebook and how he became a change agent helping startups and global player brands to make their way into the “new” world. He took a critical look at a recent Princeton study which predicted the death of Facebook and shared his view on the future of the social media giant. More importantly he closed by talking about the mistakes marketers make. Something you should read carefully – at least if you want to avoid making the same mistakes.


The 7 Deadly Sins of Marketers:

  1. Thinking and acting “One Way”: In the past decades marketing was about spreading messages and pushing people into the sales funnel by spending media dollars to interrupt people as often as possible. Social Media has changed this playground forever. Brands are communities. Marketing has become a conversation. Brands and products are shaped by everyone who talks about them publicly, e.g. customers, industry experts, influencers, bloggers, competitors, etc… Marketers are part of a bigger community around their brands and products.
  2. Hard Selling: Too many times brands try to sell too hard where sales are not the issue – at least not as a first step. Marketers need to create value first which can happen by being part of the conversations happening, sharing interesting and/or entertaining content and “giving” first and “asking” later. It’s about the right mix between acting as a servant and a salesman. A great book covering this is “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook” by Gary Vaynerchuck
  3. It’s not about Facebook only: Facebook is just the tip of the iceberg. There are many other relevant platforms to consider and link to your social media engagement. Sometimes it’s wiser to start somewhere else first depending on where your customers spend their time. Never forget to link all social media platforms and thereby create cross-linking effects. It’s also about fueling every platform individually, because they can be very different (user base, culture, content formats, etc.). One “size” does not fit all!
  4. Acting like machines: The biggest opportunity offered by social media is that brands can act more human. Marketers can add a human touch to their marketing efforts and connect with customers and prospects in a way that was never possible before, unless you were talking to a customer at the counter of your shop. Lazy marketers try to “scale” their marketing by using too much automation which leads to the lack of the magic human touch: organic growth of likes vs. paid likes is one example. It’s better to have a highly engaged community of thousand people than 1 million “zombie” likes on your page.
  5. Not listening enough: Marketers did spend a lot of money to buy market data and insights about their target groups in the past. A huge industry evolved around this making billions. Today everybody shares information online hoping that it will be seen and used by brands to make a better offer (more relevant and personal). However, too many brands still don’t listen enough by using the available technology (e.g. web monitoring tools) to gather those data and turn them into insights which help them make more intelligent decisions. Money for such tools is well invested – just cut down your spendings on studies and market research data a bit and pump it into software that can show you where the gold is. Don’t forget: communication is 50% talking and 50% listening after all.
  6. Fear of failure: The social media world is fast paced and ever changing. Everyday there’s something new to figure out and to try. The best brands dare to be the first mover and walk where no one else has walked before. It’s about becoming the “Best Practice Example” yourself by innovating and daring more. Don’t wait until everything is safe and proven because someone else has done it. Take the first step instead and let everyone else follow you. Sometimes you loose, sometimes you win – the rewards will be great for the innovators!
  7. Forgetting about Mobile: The smartphone and tablet boom has brought up new challenges. Marketing campaigns and content have just been optimized to work great for general web use and now more and more people spend more and more time consuming content on the go. This means that marketers need to adapt their messages to new screens and formats and also get their message across within a very short attention span. No need to invest a lot of resources on a shiny product configurator tab on your Facebook page when no one actually goes there. People read your posts in their timeline sitting in a train – if you’re lucky. If you can’t put Mobile first – than at least consider it when you start working on your next campaign. 

You can watch the full keynote here (Lefti’s parts starts at min 4:40): 

We’re looking forward to read your comments! Did Lefti miss anything?


PS: A huge THANK YOU to the awesome crowd who made my day with this selfie on stage🙂

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