How Social Media Could Destroy Your Business

  • August 27, 2013

When you read anything about running a small or medium-sized business online, the article will tell you social media is a good thing. It helps you reach your customers in real time. You can have engaging conversations with your customers. You can learn about their likes and dislikes. You can respond to their issues within minutes. Social media is definitely, positively, absolutely a good thing.

Sure, social media has many countless benefits. So where’s this going? It also has many negative aspects. Many, many negative aspects. And if you’re not careful, those negative aspects can destroy your business. All your hard work can - poof - be gone in seconds.

Everything lives forever

On social media, as with anything online, everything lives forever. It doesn’t matter if you delete a post or a photo, it still lives online, and anyone with a little bit of know-how and time can find it.

This works to your benefit if you’re using a content calendar correctly, always being careful about your posts. This doesn’t mean you can’t post spontaneously. It just means you are armed with a content strategy. You know where you want your social media efforts to take you.

If you make a mistake though, this will, no doubt, work to your disadvantage. If you act on an emotional whim and respond to a customer in a way that is unprofessional, this would ruin your online reputation. They say all publicity is good publicity, but in todays world, negative publicity travels a lot faster than positive publicity.

Make sure you are confident about each post.  Have a content strategy and stick to it, so you’re not regretting something you posted.

Mixing business and pleasure

It can be a pain to have multiple social media accounts. When you’re short on time, it makes sense to consolidate your accounts if you can. Facebook offers you the option of posting as your business or as your personal account if they are set up on the same email address.

What could go wrong? Lots. You could one day post something about all the alcohol you consumed on Friday night from your business account. It’s fine for your personal contacts, but your business fans likely won’t be too happy, especially if your business brand has a wholesome image.

Even though it can take a few extra minutes to log out of your personal account and log into your business one, it will benefit you in the long run if you set up your personal social media accounts separately from your business ones.

Everything lives forever, remember.

Angry fans

Sometimes your fans will be unhappy with you. Sometimes they will take it out on you on your social media accounts. Sometimes they will literally post hundreds of times about how awful your business is. How do you deal with this kind of reaction? Head on. Don’t delete their posts. Address their concerns clearly. Show your other customers that you care about what your fans think.

The worst thing you can do in a case like this is ignore your fans. This sends the message that you don’t care about their loyalty, and you don’t know how to do damage control.

You won’t be able to make each customer happy. Sometimes people are just having a bad day and will take it out on you simply because they can. All you can do is show others that you’re trying.

Automated messages

Everyone hates automated messages. When someone signs up as a fan, don’t send them a generic automatic message. Many people think those messages are no better than spam. You can send them something more personalized, welcoming them to your page and thanking them for joining. Or if you don’t have the time, you can not send them a message when they sign up. It’s almost better than sending a spammy automated one.

Grammar and spelling police

This may seem like a no-brainer. Proofread your work before you post! If you don’t, social media is full of secret spelling and grammar police who will arrest you publicly, and shame you for not putting more thought into your posts.

Sure, those guys can be annoying, especially if it was a small and honest mistake. However, it reflects directly on your professionalism and brand. Remember when the Mitt Romney campaign spelled America wrong? You don’t want to be in that guy’s shoes. You will lose credibility pretty quickly. It doesn’t take long - just read your work before you click publish.

By being wary of these five ways social media can harm your business, you’ll have an excellent chance of succeeding with your social media campaign.

Have you seen (or been part of) a social media blunder? Tell us about it in the comments below.



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