I’ve spent a lot of time telling you about what you should do to run a successful social media campaign; today, we are going to discuss the things that you should not do, the things that are going to run your campaign into the ditch so fast you won’t know what hit you. Social media is powerful tool, no doubt about it, but if you misuse that tool, you can actually end up hurting rather than helping your business.
Have you ever had someone rub you the wrong way on Facebook or Twitter? It leaves a bad taste in your mouth and may cause you to avoid them in the future. This is definitely not something you want to happen to your business. Here are three surefire ways to sabotage a social media campaign.
Sabotage #1: Staying Above the Fray
I don’t know about you, but when I visit the Facebook page of a huge corporation, I feel like a peon, a small fish in a big pond, someone who will probably just look around and never be acknowledged. I guess I can cut, say, Nike a little slack if they don’t respond to each and every post I create on their page, but if I visit the Facebook page of a small or mid-sized business, I really expect someone to say, hey, I see you and I hear what you’re saying. It makes me feel like they see me as an actual living, breathing human being.
If you’re new to the social media game, chances are you’re not getting all that many posts, anyway, so take the time to answer them. Not only will your customers appreciate the fact that someone is taking the time to interact with them, but they may also learn more about your products and services, causing them to be more likely to take advantage of them in the future. Answering posts humanizes you to your readers, and it gives them a much better impression of your business than if you just ignored their comments.
Your customers and followers are not the only ones who can benefit from social media interactions, though. You yourself can gain a lot of useful information when looking through the eyes of your consumers. These posts and Tweets can be treasure troves when they are looked at as a resource; find out what your customers like about what you’re selling, what they don’t like, what they need, and what they want to see later on down the line. Bottom line: take the time to have the conversation.
Sabotage #2: Mixing Business with Pleasure
A lot of us – almost all of us, in fact – got our starts in the social media world by using it to communicate with friends and family on a personal level. We’ve shared clips and pictures, things that made us laugh, things that made us cry, and things that made us mad. If you are passionate about politics, you may have posted the candidates you supported in the last election. This is all well and good . . . for a personal Facebook page, that is.
Using social media for business is a whole different ballgame, and this is where a lot of people crash and burn. Don’t use your business’s Facebook page to rant and rave about how much you hate the current administration. Don’t Tweet out that you think that all men are pigs or all blondes are dumb. Jokes or not, you can really alienate a good chunk of your supporters if you take some sort of controversial stand on the other side of a topic about which they have strong feelings.
When it comes to knowing what to post on your social media pages, you have to discover what about your business or related issues that your customers find interesting and stick to the topic at hand. Running a hardware store? Tweet out your specials, post how-to guides on how to build a dog house, or link to an interesting article about the happiness levels of do-it-yourselfers.
Do not, I repeat, DO NOT, badmouth your competition, talk about how hot your date was last week, or discuss anything else that does not have a direct link to who you are as businessperson or what you do in your company. Personality and friendliness are great, but not at the expense of your reputation. Even seemingly harmless posts (“Had a great time at Red Fest this weekend”) can make you seem less than professional and leave readers wondering why they bothered with your page in the first place.
Sabotage #3: Going All In
No doubt about it, social media is booming. You can’t turn around without hearing or seeing some reference to Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and the like, so it’s obvious the far-reaching affects it has on our society at large. While your social media sites are vitally important (don’t get me wrong on that), you will sabotage yourself if you put all of your eggs in the social media basket at the expense of all of your other communication outlets.
What if Facebook disappeared into oblivion tomorrow, and all of your contacts went up in smoke with it? Nah, which will never happen, you say . . . but remember My Space? I think it’s still out there somewhere, but it’s certainly not the juggernaut it once was.
When you communicate on social media, remember one rule: all roads must lead back to your website. Your website should hold a unique seat of honor when it comes to your presence online, because you are more than likely in total control of everything on it. You don’t have to worry that your website will suddenly change formats and lose a bunch of followers. Your website is not corrupted by unwanted ads or pop-ups, either. Instead, it is just a nice little bubble where everything goes your way. Use your social media outlets to link back to your website. Refer posters to your website. Mention articles or posts that are featured on your blog.
In a similar vein, you should remember that while Facebook and Twitter are convenient, you should not use them as the only method to communicate with your customers and followers. An E-mail is a step-up from a comment. A phone call is a step-up from an E-mail. A face-to-face conversation is at the top of the totem pole. Just like your mom told you that a simple “thanks” was not a substitute for a proper thank you note after your birthday, social media is just not right for all lines of communication, particularly if it is something private or very important.
Social media is most definitely here to stay, and it truly does help you keep your fingers on the pulse of the public. Use it wisely, and it can help you take your business farther by building your circle of contacts and making connections that you would not have had otherwise. As long as you treat your social media accounts as an offshoot of your company and not a playground for casual and unprofessional conversation, your customers will really appreciate your being there and communicating with them. This works well all around, for you, your business, and anyone who reads your page.