How NOT to Use Social Media Marketing

As one of the hottest topics in B2B marketing, social media usage is the subject of multiple articles, blogs and webinars every day. But when it comes to putting social marketing tactics to use, condensing all these ideas into a defined social media strategy can be more than a little overwhelming. So take a refreshing break from all the hints, tips and best practices, and instead focus for a moment on what not to do in the world of social media.

For the ultimate example of how not to use social media, take this story of a restaurant’s serious Twitter folly discussed in a post on Digital Pivot E-zine. In this rather extreme example, the restaurant responded to a tweet from a disappointed customer who arrived at the restaurant to find it had already closed. When a friend of the customer posted a mildly disgruntled comment on the restaurant’s Yelp page, the restaurant’s tweets turned sarcastic and insulting, eventually escalating to the point of the restaurant cursing at the customer.

Yikes. Not exactly the respect and class with which you would expect a business to treat a potential paying customer. And it’s inspired us to highlight two crucial points to keep in mind when interacting on social media:

Anonymity can lead to rudeness
The feeling of anonymity that social media creates can result in people saying things that they wouldn’t normally say in person (case in point: the unnecessarily scathing reviews often seen with YouTube videos). Keep this in mind, and whatever you do, don’t answer rudeness with rudeness. As the Digital Pivot article notes, “bad comments about a company are a fact of life” ? and are by no means an excuse for you to sacrifice professionalism. Instead, turn rude comments into an opportunity: responding promptly and with complete civility will leave even your harshest critics feeling a bit sheepish.

You’re writing your own permanent record
In the stark light of morning, the restaurant in question quite obviously regretted their rash tweets (“Today’s special: contrition”). Too late. Twitter is a public forum, and things said in a public forum can be remembered forever. Evidence? Aside from being tweeted about all over town and by social media experts everywhere, there are now at least two blog posts commemorating this whole ordeal. So remember that having 15,000 Twitter followers can be both a blessing and a curse, and always take a step back and think carefully: do i really want to leave 15,000+ people with this lasting impression of my business?

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4 thoughts on “How NOT to Use Social Media Marketing

  • Social media tools allow you to engage your existing clients and employees too; they can become involved in the recruitment process passing on information to interested friends and colleagues. This again opens up a whole new network of potential business.

  • Many HR departments use social media to “check out” potential new employees, you can learn a lot about someone by looking at their LinkedIn profile. However, you must be very careful of the legal implications, a candidate can argue that information on their social site was used against them and this can lead to an expensive and time consuming tribunal.

  • Using a job board on a social media site may seem more expensive than your usual job boards but you have to keep in mind your potential audience. Job postings on a social media site are easily shared and therefore open up your candidate pool significantly.

  • Due to the variety of social media sites you will need to think carefully about which one you use; Twitter is a great way of getting your business recognised, follow relevant industries or people and they will hopefully follow you back and from there you can quickly build a “fan base”. A quick tweet about a vacancy could provide you with some prospective employees, especially if you ask your followers to “retweet”, this will open up your audience even more.

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