I was heading home from a meeting recently and stopped at a QT (Quiktrip for those not in the know) convenience store for some gas and a quick bathroom break. When I walked in the bathroom the first thing that caught my eye was a large Facebook sticker on the wall directing me to “Like” their page on Facebook.
My initial reaction was great job QT. I’m obviously going to be looking towards the poster for the next 30 to 40 seconds and will naturally read it. Second I’m not likely to forget that they have a Facebook page that they provide offers on. So far so good.
Now the not so good. The sticker itself was in terrible condition and looked like it should have been replaced months ago. Now I wonder if this was a hot idea at QT at some point but now their enthusiasm as faded.
I’ll have to pay the bathroom another visit in about 6 months to see.
With QT inspiration here are 4 ways to keep your social media out of the toilet.
1. Remember if you want it to be about you, it has to first be about them
If you are using social media to drive business its natural to want to tell the world about the great deals you offer, how great you are, and why they should buy from you. You can do that but you need to share this information in the form of value.
What are the top 5 questions people ask when looking for a product or service you offer? What problems are they trying to solve? What type of content do they consume to answer their questions?
Take the time to educate, inform, introduce, and entertain them through written, video, and audio content. If you help them solve their problem, teach them something, or make them laugh you’ll have improved your chances of earning their business.
2. Think before you speak or type
Kenneth Cole was probably having a good day and excited about his upcoming spring line until …”Millions are in uproar in #Cairo. Rumor is they heard our new spring collection is now available on line at http://bit.ly.xxxx”
Or how about the f-bomb dropped on the official Chrysler Twitter account @chryslerautos “I find it ironic that Detroit is known as the #motorcity and yet no one here knows how to fxxxking drive”. Maybe the account was hacked as claimed or maybe someone forgot which account they were logged in before tweeting.
Speed and a speedy reply are a good thing until…
3. Get them excited and then…
You’ve invested the time to build your social media communities. You even found people who actually like you content. Now six months into it your busy day turns into a busy quarter and posting, engaging, etc. just isn’t on the task list.
Even worse people that felt that they could reach out to your brand have messages siting in your various social media inboxes with no replies. This isn’t Monopoly where you can go back to “GO” and start over. You’ve inadvertently caused damage to your brand so you’ll have to start somewhere before go.
Invest the time and effort or stay on the porch.
4. Turning a little mistake into a big problem
Everyone makes mistakes. Its what you do after that determines the damage. You can even make a mistake, do a great job of fixing the error, and come out better off than before. United Airlines missed their opportunity.
In 2009 Dave Carrol and other passenger sat on the tarmac and watched baggage handlers toss around his $3,500 guitar. When he asked United to pay to repair his guitar they refused. For nine months he tried to get United to pay for the damage, until he finally took his frustrations and wrote a song called “United Breaks Guitars“. He then filmed a video and posted it to YouTube.
The video received over 150,000 views within one day, prompting United to contact him to resolve the issue. As of February of 2011 it had received over 10 million views and was voted as the #7 viral video of 2009. Knowing the value of publicity he released two more videos and is now in demand as a speaker on customer service.
There is a tremendous amount of opportunity for a business to use social media but an equal number of potential threats. Simply using common sense and taking a minute to think about what you are about to type should be enough to keep you from putting your foot, and your brand, in the social media toilet.
What are some mistakes you’ve made or seen others make?
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