Oh yes – it can damage your business in many ways. Let’s start with a quote from a recent study:
A recent survey conducted by Business Network International (BNI) has found that 75% of people have been “put off” a particular company due to their poor use of social media. Small businesses in particular seem to have difficulty getting the social media balance right, perhaps due to lack of time, funding, or specific expertise in the area.
I added the quote so that you’ll know that it was Business Network International that is saying this – not just me sitting in front of the computer at Team Las Olas HQ. So, let’s look at how it can hurt your own business:
- Every day, I see social media accounts with a pathetically small number of followers. Why is that? Is that because the business itself isn’t popular? Maybe not, but that’s the impression everyone gets. Imagine that you’re in a strange town looking for somewhere to eat. You check social media. Restaurant A has lots of followers, interacts often, is consistent, shows great images … restaurant B has a handful of followers and blasts out their daily specials once in a while. I know, anyone stopping to think about it logically realizes that restaurant B are just bad marketers, their food might be delicious, but internet decisions are made quickly.
- No editorial control – I imagine that when you’re having a brochure printed, every word is carefully proofread. Errors include ‘text-speak’, typos, poor grammar, links that don’t work … all these show that a business just doesn’t give a damn about its public persona. Do you understand this tweet?
Neither do I. Neither will most people.
- Being half-hearted. In 1999, when I first started designing websites for clients (instead of for fun) I used to say that your website is the ‘internet branch of your organization’. Now, we can take that to be ‘your social media’ instead. If a business has a social media presence which is disorganized and haphazard, well, it’s true that people will think that the business is too. Remember, anyone can see how others’ social media is doing.
- A few days ago a I was having a long conversation with a Twitter follower about a certain local business. I was recommending it and the follower was asking questions. The business in question didn’t join in. Many times, I’ve seen businesses completely ignore mentions on social media. Why are they ignoring their potential customers? What impression does that give?
- I’m afraid that posting anything about religion and politics will turn some people off. Some people will share those views and beliefs but others won’t. We were always taught to avoid those two subjects at dinner parties and there’s absolutely no reason to mention them on social media either
- Some social media accounts have pages which are downright ugly. Social media today relies heavily on perfect images (think Pinterest) and there’s no reason why a business shouldn’t show itself in its best light. Yes, it matters a lot.
- If a business’ social media is out of date, will the business be too?
- One of the worst things that can damage a business’ internet reputation is when someone publicly says something negative about that business and it’s ignored. I have seen this so many times. Equally damaging is when someone praises a company and the company doesn’t thank them. It’s back to that ‘we don’t give a damn’ thing again …
Those are just a few examples of how social media can work against a business. There are plenty more. But at last, most businesses now realize that social media isn’t something that should be left in the hands of unskilled employees. Get in touch.