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The topic of social media marketing often sparks conversations about trends. Seems there’s always something “trending” somewhere, and a digital marketer’s job is to know how to access that information and apply it well.

But not every idea is a good one, as the next question in the NetBase “Ask Our CMO” series addresses: What are your top five marketing “must nots?”

1) Don’t over-commit

It’s always hard to say no when clients or higher-ups come to you with a “brilliant idea” or some other need. But sometimes, you have to say no – or at least have some boundaries. If you promise to go “to infinity and beyond” for everyone at all times, you’ll self-destruct.

Clearly define how many projects you can take on at one time with your resources. You’ll be much more productive and effective with a manageable calendar. Knowing how to say no – to a client, a boss, another department – is a skill every marketing executive needs to possess. It’s not lazy to want to do your best work. It’s in everyone’s best interest.

2) Don’t let anything run on autopilot

With all of the tools and tech at your disposal, it’s tempting to leave the computers in charge, and let things run themselves. But when it comes social media monitoring, for example, all the data needs to be intentionally analyzed and directed. How else are you going to find new audiences or micro-segments? And how will you know if things are starting to unravel in time to prevent a domino effect? You won’t – unless you’re actively involved in the process.

3) Don’t neglect your email lists

Your contacts list is a testament to your networking skills, and to the people who found you interesting enough to follow as you ascended through the ranks. It’s a hard won and valuable asset – so be sure to put it to use. Reach out to people when you have interesting information to share, or to be in touch and find out what THEY’RE up to. That doesn’t mean you can’t reach out when you have something to promote – just make sure that’s not the ONLY time you’re in touch. (Also, please don’t buy a contact list.)

4) Don’t be over-confident  

Knowing your niche and a possessing a healthy dose of confidence can take you far – but that doesn’t mean you can let your guard down. Staying on top of trends in your space, and understanding what your competitors are doing, is critical. That’s a big part of what social monitoring is about – and when you use it smartly, you can just about predict the future. You can also avert disaster, and jump on opportunities when your competitors disappoint their audience. You know they’d do it to you.

 5) Don’t be overly “familiar”

Even if it should go without saying, I’ll say it: Keeping personal opinions or controversial issues out of professional communications is always the best policy – unless that’s your niche. This applies to social messaging for your audience as well. This is one more reason to use social monitoring and listening platforms to get into the heads of social users. What annoys them or delights them should never be a surprise. Use sentiment analysis to stay on top of their passions so you offer the right messaging at the right time for each segment of your audience.

There are probably a number of other “must nots” that could be added, but these are the five I think are most useful for keeping marketers focused and poised. If you have others that work for you, tweet them to me. Maybe I’ll update to a top six.

And if you have a question about social media listening – or anything else – submit it here and check back often for answers!

Image from Kenny Louie