Friday, 17 May 2013

How to Lose Friends & Alienate Clients: 7 Deadly Social Media Sins

The very purpose of using social media for business is to garner Friends & connections, to communicate and to network.  Social media have become an immeasurable tool for facilitating client relationship management as well as for your marketing initiatives.  But if you’re committing any of the following 7 deadly social media sins, your efforts might just be counter-productive.    

Deadly Sin #1:  Promoting Yourself / Your Business Relentlessly
I’ve blogged about this before.  One of the most appealing characteristics of social media is that they displace the traditional advertising/promotion model of in-your-face, unsolicited interruption.  As the name predicates, they’re social – a means of connecting with people on a human, personal level.  There’s no room for blatant self-promotion within the realm of the social.  Unparalleled customer service is more like it. The idea is to connect and engage with clients/prospective clients so that they become interested in using your products and services. It’s inbound marketing. People are engaging with you because they want to be engaging with you.  It’s interactive, two-way communication. So,:

Deadly Sin #2:  Getting Into It (And Not in a Good Way)
Because social media is about two-way communication, it’s inevitable that people are going to butt heads and encounter differences of opinion, just as we would in every-day, face-to-face interaction. The worst thing you can do, however, is to engage in a knock-down, drag-out with someone over a social media platform for all to see. And you do see it all the time, especially in comments sections.  But as a business professional, if this is the way you conduct yourself, your clients are going to take one look at your social media interactions and run the other way – fast!  Which leads me to:

Deadly Sin #3:  Not Minding Your Manners                                              
It’s a no-brainer, but you’d be astounded at the number of people who don’t pay any attention to manners and etiquette while using social media.  Just remember to use basic politeness when engaging.  Would you be boorish in a face-to-face meeting with someone?  Likely not.  So just because you’re sitting behind your computer monitor and no one can see you, doesn’t mean that you can forget about social graces.  Pleases and thank yous go a long way. If someone pays you a compliment, acknowledge it. If a less than satisfied client comments negatively, acknowledge that, too – politely.  Now, off to:

Deadly Sin #4:  Not Responding to Comments, Complaints and/or Criticism
By not responding to your clients’ comments, you’re essentially saying, “I don’t care!”  If a comment is positive and complimentary, a great, big “thank you” is in order, along with a little response about why you’re so pleased that he’s pleased and about how much you value him as a client.  If a comment is negative – in the form of a complaint or criticism – a full response is warranted just the same. Again, it’s crucial that you make the client feel important and relevant by addressing the criticism and doing whatever is in your power to rectify the situation.  I recently posted an extensive blog on how to respond to criticism:  Damage control is critical. And remember, others will be able to see how you respond, so do it eloquently and with finesse. Snark is never a good idea!

Deadly Sin #5:  Spam, Spam & More Spam
Everyone hates to be spammed.  Don’t spam people!  Enough said.

Deadly Sin #6:  Not Steering Clear of Religion & Politics
Oh, this is a slippery slope, my friends.  The basic rule to bear in mind is that your religious and political views have no place within your business networking.  Remember, wars are fought over religion and politics. Everyone’s view is different and you will in no way be able to avoid ruffling a few feathers if you pontificate with respect to your views or if you comment on another’s.  Just stay clear!

Deadly Sin #7:  Not Fostering Your Relationships
It’s all well and good to garner plenty of connections through your social media endeavors, but what good are those connections if you do nothing to cultivate meaningful relationships with them? The beauty of social media is that they allow you a relatively intimate glimpse into the lives of the people in your network. They can provide you with invaluable information about people. Using this information to help you provide better service to your clients is what it’s all about. Take advantage of that – get to know people and let them get to know you. That’s how trust is built and maintained.  If your clients don’t trust you, what’s the point?

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