How NOT to use social media for business

While I don’t profess to be an expert in the use of social media for marketing/brand development, there are a few things I’ve learned in the eight years I’ve been blogging.
1. Don’t inundate bloggers with press releases that are, at best, tangentially related to the blog’s subject matter. I don’t need nor want to know which institutions are the top ten for dental hygiene nor do I care that your company just convinced another company to use your electronic self-care product.
2. Don’t swamp LinkedIn and other groups with posts and topics clearly intended to market your firm. I’ve seen some marketers post a couple times a day to LinkedIn groups – all that does is get you labeled as annoying and your company a reputation for mindless mailbox filling.
3. Don’t use comments on blog posts to pitch your company or tout your services. Sure, you can opine and sign your name and your company affiliation, but don’t use someone else’s blog as your marketing forum.
4. Be mindful of the potential to offend. I know, shocking that someone who’s demonstrated a well-honed ability to do just that has the temerity to advise others, but note I did not say “don’t offend”, just be conscious that your words may have that effect.
5. Don’t disagree without citing some support for your position; the corollary is to not opine without providing links to material upon which you base that opinion. Opinion based solely on personal belief is not likely to convince anyone of the merits of that opinion or belief.
6. Be respectful – when that respect is merited.
7. Recognize that the social medium you use has to correspond to the audience you seek. Few executives in the health plan or insurance world spend their days trolling (pun intended) Facebook or Twitter, but more and more are reading blogs. While younger folks are definitely moving in the Facebook/Twitter/media du jour direction, people who write the checks aren’t there yet. And may not be for a good while.
8. If you begin a social media campaign, be patient, be persistent, and manage those expectations. It has taken me eight year to reach almost 3500 subscribers, and the work has absolutely paid off. That said, it is infinitely harder to build a brand these days than it was back in the 00′s, so be creative, be smart, and hire someone who really understands social media.

One thought on “How NOT to use social media for business

  1. Great posting Joe. #2 is my pet peeve. There are people out there who flood the LinkedIn groups with their postings. They pay no attention to whether or not their post has anything to do with that group.
    I’ve talked to some of those people, and they feel that getting their name out there is important. I keep telling them that if you overdo it, you become just noise. No one pays attention to your message any more.
    There is a line between getting your name out there and spam. Some people don’t understand that.
    I have ended up having to moderate several people in my group because of this. All their postings have to be approved by me, so I can control the flow and cut down on the noise.

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