Top 5 ways to destroy your firm’s credibility with social media

by Adrian Dayton
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[author: Claire Trévien]

Sometimes being the best is just too darn exhausting. So, here are five easy ways to help your company go down in flames.* All you need is some terrible digital marketing advice. Proceed with care!

*Alternatives also included if you’re that way inclined.

1. Be needy, relentless, and selfish

Look, we’ve all heard that inbound marketing is the way to go, but you’re a maverick! Here’s what to do: badger your customers using every channel you can think of. Tag them in a tweet every five minutes, send them a daily newsletter without an opt-out button, interrupt them throughout the day to tell them how great you are.

Bonus: With GDPR on the way, if any of your customers are European, you can quickly lose millions this way too!

How to fix it: Shift the focus, try to care more about your customers and prospects. Be mindful of how you use and store their data. Only tag people if the content is relevant to them (it’s ok to tag people if you think they’ll find it interesting, but don’t abuse this), and limit your mass email communications to once a week or less.

More importantly, put the focus on sharing content that is relevant and personalised to your audience, rather than throwing pancakes at the wall to see which one sticks.

2. Welcome the robots with undiscriminating arms

Who needs the human touch anymore? Automate a year’s worth of social media updates and blogs on January 1st and you’re set to go! This works especially well when your tweet about how your “Business is on fire!” coincides with a major fire-related disaster. Your audience can be as disgusted as they want: no one is handling your accounts! Their requests and questions can keep piling up in your notifications like bills on the mat.

How to fix it: Automation is a fantastic tool, but it’s not something you can set and forget. At its best, it will provide you with a base layer of content, giving you more time to interact with your clients and prospects on a personal level.

Remember that people are used to getting instant answers by tweeting or Facebook messaging a company – you need a plan to handle this. While some of these responses can be handled by robots (Facebook robots are becoming very sophisticated), nothing will replace dedicated staff (particularly for B2B companies). As well as handling queries, your non-robot staff can post timely updates, hit ‘pause’ when needed, and generally make the face of your business look lively and human.

3. Walk away from the burning building

You’ve written the thing so it’s clearly brilliant. Throw it into the void with the others. Walk away. Never look back. Proofreading is for cowards who don’t have conviction. You have conviction. Your doctor says it’s untreatable. Fact checking is for puppies. Boom.

How to fix it: Blogs, social media updates, and any other content you create, are publishing. Check what you publish online like you would any printed material: are there any glaring typos? Have you made a huge factual mistake? Did you spell the name of the CEO you quote correctly? Is a “social manger” really a job title?

The internet can be forgiving up to a point, but some errors can quickly turn your business into a laughing stock, so spend a few extra minutes checking your copy.

4. Talk about fire when your business is water

Your marketing manager loves everything to do with “fire” and talks about it incessantly through your company’s channels. I mean, you could tell them that technically “fire” is your direct competition, but where would be the fun in that? Besides which, Tracy is a bit terrifying. Let’s stick with “fire”.

How to fix it: Don’t silo your business goals from your marketing team – they are the voice of your company in more ways than one and need to know the direction you are heading in to best support it.

5. Have the personality of a newt

Everyone knows marketing is about making yourself look good, and the best ways to look good are:

  • to use lots of jargon, preferably packed together tightly to muddy comprehension
  • use language so neutral you might as well glaze over it
  • avoid anything topical, funny, interesting or useful in your content

Just add the same stock photos as everyone else and you’re good to go. How could anyone resist your charmless tone?

How to fix it: So of course, there should be guidelines for your content to ensure that you do not create and share content that is inflammatory and/or shares sensitive information. Yet, if your company is serious about differentiation, then you need to identify and display your firm’s personality. This will be different for each firm and is intrinsic to your branding – if your branding says that you are ‘innovative’, ‘agile’ and ‘forward-thinking’, how does your marketing reflect this?

Written by:

Adrian Dayton
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