What Were You Thinking?As more and more small businesses move into the social media space, the demand for a “Dr. Phil” intervention has increased as well.  It takes a lot of restraint on my part to keep from saying “What were you thinking?” Here are some of the “oh no you didn’t ” moments to avoid.

Just this weekend, I received a Facebook friend request.  The request came from a business, not a person.  What were you thinking? I don’t want to be friends with a business. My business is built on working with local businesses, but never once have I been contacted by a business.  I’ve been contacted by the business owner, manager or decision maker, but never the business.  I actively look for opportunities to recommend local businesses to my network.  But the recommendation is based on the people – the owners, the managers and employees.

Facebook personal pages are designed for individuals.  Even if you and your business are one and the same (as my business is), keep business and personal pages separate. That’s not to say that you never post anything business related on your personal page, but it should be VERY limited.

This same friend request had a second faux pas. While the sender did take the time to write a personal note (not the standard friend request message), the message was the problem.  Their message started out good, we have a mutual friend and I would like to connect with you.  Had they stopped there, it would have been fine.  However the next sentence was “I hope you will become an outstanding customer.”  What were you thinking?

Why not just come out and say “Prepare to be bombarded with my sales message”? Social Media Rule #1 — It’s not about you! Why, when we go to a car lot or furniture store, is the first words out of our mouths, “I’m just looking”?  We don’t want to be sold but we like to buy.

Social media (as in any sales opportunity) is like a piggy bank.  As a business, you make social capital deposits into your customer’s piggy bank.  When their bank get’s full enough, they will cash it in and buy from you.  And how do you make deposits?  By providing valuable information.  If you customer would say, “Thanks.  That was a great idea.” then you have just made a deposit in their bank.

Here’s one more.  Okay, you’ve decided that social media is something you need to do.  Now you are ready to start building your connections.  But your profile has no picture or a picture of your dogWhat were you thinking?

Regardless of how cute your dog is, I’m not connecting with it.  I want to connect with you.  When I see a profile with no photo, it tells me you don’t take social media seriously and are probably not a good connection.

Another instant “no connect” sign is having an incomplete or hidden profile. For some, it’s about how many friends/followers/connection you can get.  But if you’re social media plan calls for building relationships, those relationships will be a targeted demographic, not the masses.  When a profile isn’t visible, there is no way to tell if you’re a serious business minded person, if there is any reason for me to connect with you.  Once you make the choice to be in business, you’re now a public figure so you profile should give me an insight into who you are, what you do and why I should connect with you.

To keep Dr. Phil at bay, treat social media as you would any networking opportunity — build and cultivate relationships that lead to long term business.

Gary Wagnon and 800biz.com specialize in online marketing solutions, including web site design, search engine optimization, social media marketing and mobile text message marketing.  For more tips, watch for Social Media Lab relaunching soon.

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This entry was posted on Thursday, March 17th, 2011 at 9:50 pm and is filed under Social Media Marketing. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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