The right social media strategies can really help your small business succeed. These four deadly mistakes, however, could create challenges your business will never overcome. Whatever you do, don’t fall prey to these problems.
Deadly Mistake #1: Getting Political
If you have a target audience with uniform political beliefs, then you could potentially get away with some mild jokes. Typically, though, you don’t want to get political in social media posts.
Remember when Chick-fil-A stirred up a big mess by saying homosexual couples shouldn’t get married? That was a media nightmare. Even though some customers supported the message, Chick-fil-A ended up backpedaling as hard as it could to say that its company did not discriminate against anyone in any way despite the personal beliefs of certain owners.
That might have smoothed things over for some people, but you’re not going to catch many marriage equality supporters lining up for waffle fries and chicken sandwiches. That’s the kind of bad PR that sticks for years.
Deadly Mistake #2: Dead Silence
If you start a Facebook page or a Twitter feed, you have to commit to it. Don’t let it sit for days without any updates. After a few weeks, potential customers will assume that you’ve gone out of business.
Hey, everyone else is updating their profiles like mad, but you’re just sitting there with nothing. What else would your customers think?
Deadly Mistake #3: You Have an Erratic Message
Successful social media is all about good branding. You need to create a coherent identity for your business that makes everything sound like it’s coming from the same person, even if it’s coming from various people on your staff.
An incoherent message bewilders prospective customers. Are you a cutting edge company that likes to show off and boast about its achievement, or are you a meek business that likes to keep things simple? Either way, you have to choose. You won’t win any fans with multiple personalities.
Deadly Mistake #4: You Argue on Your Page
Social media is a way to connect with your customers. Some of those customers will have complaints. That’s fine. You can’t do everything perfectly.
Whenever someone complains on your Facebook page, apologize for the inconvenience and ask them to contact your customer service reps. That way, you can handle the situation calmly. You might keep a disgruntled customer, or not. One thing’s for sure, you won’t sow seeds of discontent amongst random onlookers.
Amy’s Baking Company is the perfect example of how you should not use social media. The restaurant and its owners appeared on a TV show hosted by famed chef Gordon Ramsay. After Ramsay gave up on the couple, they received humiliating comments all over the Internet.
What did the couple do? They argued back. They could have left it alone. They could have hired a PR professional. Instead, they responded to attackers in all caps, making them look like completely unstable people. They essentially begged for more people to make fun of them. The only thing that they did successfully was get more people to mock them.
What other deadly mistakes can you think of? Have you ever made a mistake that left you smacking yourself in the forehead?