5 Social Media Donts - The Marketing ShopWith most companies engaging in some form of Social Media there are those companies who have a dedicated resource for marketing and/or social media, with many more having to manage it themselves – particularly if you’re a sole trader, or working with only a small number of employees.

As there’s no exact formula to Social Media what works perfectly well for one business or industry doesn’t necessarily fit a competitor if the person managing the account doesn’t “get” their customers, it’s all about trial and error, taking advice or suggestions where possible, maybe even looking at competitors – but never copying.

The result is that there is huge range of quality across Social Media and the following are my pet peeves in this area;

1. Auto reply – this to me speaks of laziness, particularly when it’s a direct message to you via twitter for following somebody that may have appeared of interest.  If you were hoping I’d do business with you, you’ve lost me as how do I know you’re not going to make more of an effort for me?  The direct message facility is for sending messages that you don’t want publicly splashed all over twitter and to this day I have not liked a single facebook page or clicked on a link to a website on the basis of a plea originating in a twitter DM.  Auto-tweeting a response to all new followers is also a big no-no, by all means say hello but don’t send the same message to every single person that’s following you…

2. Fan Of The Week – yes, it was designed with the best of intentions but in reality it’s best used to acknowledge fan pages with large numbers and not so that the same two contributors on your page of 200 fans can have their name selected on alternate weeks.  I rarely comment on pages that run fan of the week, but can appreciate why it would benefit another business to comment and possibly have their name called out on your page?  Even worse is seeing a fan ask what they get for being fan of the week and the comment being ignored as the page owner isn’t keen to say that actually they get nothing other than having their name called out – automatically via an app at that!

3. Trying Too Hard – we’ve followed or liked you and when doing so we saw your bio so we know a little about what you do.  Quickest way to ensure I no longer like or follow you however is to bombard me with a series of tweets or status updates on the hour all day and night telling me why I should be interested in your service.  The same goes for social media pages that run a series of giveaways for no purpose other than generating fan numbers – quite obviously missing the point that the quantity is far less important than the quality.

4. Talking At Me – this applies particularly to Twitter, where people send out a seemingly never-ending series of tweets yet never share, re-tweet or engage with other users.  Or they pop up in your timeline when they want something, yet when they’ve got something valuable they could add to a conversation that’s fine but it’ll cost you, whereas they expect your advice for free.  Businesses using Social Media are ultimately out to generate business but you should really think about giving a little something back.  Social Media is about sharing, engaging, having conversations and not just intended as a personal sales or information channel for you.

5. Playing Hide & Seek – I’ve followed your exploits or chatted with you on twitter and decide that maybe we can do business but on clicking through to your site I find no real substance, no real information on why I should choose you and little or no information about what experience you’ve got in your field.  I don’t expect a CV, although a link to linkedin is a good idea when you are selling a service in particular.  But when all I see are prices, services and how great you are why would I trust you?  Worse still, I google you and you’re the invisible man?

As I’ve said before, these are personal irritants and some people may well be quite happy to receive auto-replies or be delighted to become fan of the week.  However, as Social Media offers so many opportunities for real engagement with customers as opposed to more traditional means, taking short cuts or screaming desperation from the rooftops won’t earn you any business from me.  And that’s not as a marketeer, that’s as a customer whatever your business.




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