The six deadly sins of businesses on social media

You’ve made another social media marketing foible. How did you make this mistake again? Many of the mistakes we make in social media are simple errors. Sometimes, it’s a simple matter of not paying attention to what we’re doing. But, other times, it’s a lack of understanding of how to use the social site. Avoid these six dumb mistakes, and you’ll be (surprisingly) ahead of your peers.

Sharing Too Much Or Too Little
Yes, social media is about sharing information. But, it’s a double-edged sword. Just read some of the Yodle reviews out there. Yodle is a marketing firm that helps businesses expand their local reach – they’re really good at it, but even they admit that social sharing can be dangerous. The problem is that small/local businesses desperately depend on sharing information with people – they almost have to be “too personal.”

The risk is this: if you share personal information about your physical address, and you don’t know who might view that information, you could be setting yourself up for endless harassment from disgruntled employees, customers, or even strangers who are annoyed by your posts.

Sensitive business information should also not be posted publicly. It’s easy to accidentally post a message in the status update box in Facebook, for example, instead of in a private message box. Check before you send. Better yet, use your company’s internal email for any sensitive company info.

Likewise, sharing too little information, or getting personal on business-related posts might be a bad idea too. Personal opinions, like religious or political beliefs, may turn off potential prospects or existing customers.

Arguing With People Or Going off On Tangents
There’s an old saying – “you can win an argument, but lose the sale.” It’s true. By arguing with potential customers on a social networking site, you may win the day, but lose the sale. It’s inevitable that someone is going to post something nasty to your company page. If you can address it in a civil manner, being objective about it, do so. If not, let it go.

Going off on a tangent is another mistake many business owners make. If your prospect or customer makes a comment, or asks you a question, stick to the point. Try to essentialize your answer.

Stealing Content
When you share content on social media sites, make sure you have permission to do so. Sure, social media is all about sharing, but there is also a lot of copyright-protected content out there. You should either be linking to the content directly, or have permission to link to it from the copyright holder.

Selling Before Engaging With People
Don’t try to sell to your prospects before you’ve engaged with them. people have to trust you before they will buy from you. Once you build rapport and people know you’re an actual human being, and then you can pitch.

Mixing Up Your Business And Personal Account
This is a silly mistake, and one that’s made because business owners are in a hurry to post a status update to their business page. It’s easy to forget which account you’re logged into, and sites like Facebook make it a little hard to distinguish between the two. So, look up in the right-hand corner before you hit “post.”

Bashing Other Companies
Talking trash may be fun, but it’s usually bad for business. When you bash others, it makes you look petty or defensive. Of course, there are times when it can be appropriate, like when a company attacks you or is making obviously fraudulent statements. But, err on the side of not doing it.

OSM would like to thank Frances Meyer for her insight to the six deadly sins of businesses on social media above, she has years of online strategies behind her, she especially enjoys writing about the basics of making social media work for today’s businesses, from building profiles and plans to regular interaction with consumers.

What is the worst mistake you have made on social media?

The six deadly sins of businesses on social media