Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the Internet is where it’s at. We LOVE the Internet. It’s all shiny and pretty and has cat videos. You can conduct business without actually having to engage in the unpleasantries of human contact such as bad breath and putting on pants. As an entrepreneur and introvert, I totally see the great glowing beacon of Moneymaking in Your Underwear hope that the Internet offers. It is a very useful (and necessary!) tool to running a business in the 21st century. But let’s do it right.
The 7 Deadly Sins of Marketing on Social Media
I’ve written entire posts about this before and pretty much everything I’m going to say after this falls under the spamming category. Sufficed to say, if you post your business indiscriminately all over the Internet, you will be labeled as annoying and people don’t like to buy from annoying marketers.
2) Becoming a brand robot
People support people, not businesses. If everything you ever post online is about your product or business and never about you, people are going to move on. I saw somewhere that no more than 10-15% of your social media posts should be explicit marketing for your business. Post kid photos, funny cat movies, about your favorite TV show. Get them to follow you and your personal awesomeness first and their interest in your business will come along naturally.
You want to pitch your business or products at someone? Go ahead. Pitch, but don’t hound people. My rule of thumb: Once is an introduction. Twice is a reminder. Three times is a nag. I don’t even like to do it twice unless I received a positive or friendly but undecided response to my first pitch. No one likes feeling harassed. Make your case and let your personal awesomeness (see above post) do the rest.
Just because you see a moment on the Internet to promote your business (A relevant Facebook post, a person saying they are looking for a job, someone talking about similar products) does not mean that you should always take it. Every once in awhile when it is really, really relevant, sure. Private messages are probably best, but sometimes there will be an obvious interest by multiple people. Just do this very VERY sparingly. If people feel like you are constantly marketing in the middle of their conversations, it will turn them off big time and makes you liable to lose people not only as potential customers, but also as friends.
5) Fake friending
One of my most hated sins. DO NOT FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY “COLD” FRIEND PEOPLE JUST TO MARKET TO THEM. By “cold” friending, I mean finding someone on social media that you have no personal interest in and little or no established relationship of any kind with and then immediately inboxing them to ask if they have tried your product or are happy with their job or want to have a party, etc. This is total spammy jerk behavior. Don’t do it.
6) Posting controversial or polarizing content
Yes, I told you to be real. Yes, you have opinions. Yes, you are entitled to them. No, you shouldn’t post them on social media if they are controversial AND you are using the same account to promote your business. I am deadly serious about this. Keep your politics, moral judgments, and any other broad vents and rants to yourself. Or at least, have a filtered list so that you are only sharing with people you know who agree with you. Even then, mind your tone. People don’t want to support offensive people. They just don’t.
7) Whining, bitching, swearing and other negativity
Present the best version of you. Be a positive person that people like and want to do business with. If you are out there, complaining about your job, dissing competing businesses and products, swearing at your ex and just generally being a big giant wet blanket, people are not going to want to be around you and support your business.
All in all, this can be summed up as: Be the best version of yourself. Be real and be genuine. Social media is designed to help you develop and cultivate relationships. Be the kind of person you yourself would want to know and do business with.