As a marketer your aim is to engage, inform and entice customers to buy your product or service and become brand advocates. One thing you don’t want to do is to annoy them. There are many common mistakes companies make that will lead to customers switching off, or even worse, telling friends and family negative things about your brand.

Online is still a medium that is being explored, it has a lot of untapped potential which marketers are still discovering. Listed below are the top five most annoying things brands do online, so you can learn from others mistakes:

1. Having no presence at all

These days it is unacceptable for a business not to have a presence online. Most consumers now will research a company or product online before deciding what to purchase. In fact, according to the 2011 World Internet Project, Australians are the world’s second most avid internet searchers for information about consumer products (behind Americans).

If you don’t have your brand on the internet, consumers will likely dismiss you. There is nothing more frustrating than searching for a business, even just a phone number or address, and being unable to find anything. If a consumer can’t find you online their level of trust in your brand will diminish and they will move on to a competitor’s site.

2. Mixed messages

This is an easy mistake to make through social media, especially if you are using multiple channels or have several people executing the strategy.

With social media think about what you want to be known as an expert in, or what your target audience is looking for from you. Stick to these guidelines, while you can inject some fun into it by tweeting about office activities or sharing photos of something funny, make the majority of your updates, tweets or posts about your area of expertise. For example, imagine if you want to a fashion blog and the latest update was about the carbon tax, confusing, no?

Make sure each person who has access to the social media accounts knows what those messages are and what has been posted already. This way you can avoid double-ups and confusing followers.

3. Being too complicated

We all love a clever marketing idea, but there is a difference between being clever and being complicated. If you try and trick your customers, mislead them or don’t explain clearly what you do/sell then you will lose their interest.

Clearly state what you are selling and how they can go about purchasing it. Keep it simple. Humans are always going to look for the easiest way to do something and you must provide it for them. If you don’t, your competitor will.

4. Being too promotional through social media

Marketing through social media is about building a relationship based on trust and you can’t build that by sending out constant promotional messages – be smarter than that. Getting a consumer to ‘Like’ you or follow your brand is hard enough, don’t push them away.

Think about the value you can add to their lives. For example, do you work with cars? Send out messages about new car launches, the best way to change a tyre or have a discussion about the price of petrol. Think about the value you can add to their lives.

 5. Starting and stopping

Once you start a blog, Twitter feed, Facebook page or LinkedIn group be sure to continue. There is nothing worse than a customer looking at a stagnant site. It looks unprofessional and it gives the impression that there is a lack of pride in your brand. If a business couldn’t be bothered to update its page once a week, would it be bothered to give you great customer service or produce a quality product?

Remember to post or update regularly as well. Depending on the medium, you want to be updating at least once a week, more so for Twitter. If you don’t stay top of mind you will be forgotten.

All of these are commonsense but it is amazing how many times businesses get these wrong. Online is an effective tool to spread you marketing messages but should not be taken lightly, a little bit of know-how and commonsense go a long way.

BY ON 4 November 2011