Everyone is jumping on the social media bandwagon these days. From small, local shops to larger businesses, the realization that they are missing out on an important form of marketing has hit hard.
As Ted Coine put it recently:
“Businesses are going social by droves – some with gusto and aplomb; many others with no shortage of trepidation and struggle, but the word seems to be out: 2015 is the last year to become a social business or to officially be a laggard.”
They have all heard it can “increase sales”, “get more visibility” and “enhance customer loyalty”. What they have not heard is that social media may not be the pill they need if their product or service is something no one likes. You need to gain loyalty before you can enhance it, right?
A few days ago, I was contacted by a business owner who wants to “do social media”. For the sake of privacy, I won’t disclose any names, but will only say that they are a business in the services industry. After the usual introductions, the conversation started with him saying:
“We have a great website, but we are not getting any leads. Our competitors are using social media and they have thousands of likes on their Facebook page. We want to get into that market. How many likes do you think we can get?”
As it turned out, his business wasn’t getting any new customers and he was frustrated beyond measure. So, I told him I would get back to him after some research (read: stalking).
After 30 minutes of “googling” them, I learned the following about the business:
- – Almost all of their customers had complaints about their arrogant attitude, lack of customer service, irresponsibility, inability to make good on promises and the list went on
- – Their services were outdated
- – People who had worked with them would not even recommend them to their worst enemies
Basically, no one was willing to touch them with a ten-foot pole.
Here’s What You Need to Hear
If your product or service is awful, social media is not going to help you. While social media can tremendously improve the odds of a great service provider, it can also throw your already bad business into the deepest pits of internet notoriety. Social media has not only given you new tools and platforms to reach your customers, it has also given those customers an equal, if not more, number of avenues to vent their very public dissatisfaction with your services.
Build Before You Broadcast
Think of it this way: would you invite friends and family over for dinner when your house is a mess? Of course not! Then, why would you want to invite the whole world over to your business when it is not even equipped to provide the most basic services it advertises? You would not and you should not.
Take a long hard look at your business model, learn from what people are saying about you and fix it. If you are not willing to do even the bare minimum of what is required of a good business, don’t expect people to give you their money. Remember, social media is a spotlight that can highlight all the good things about your business; it will also make all your faults glaringly obvious.
You need to get your house in order before you invite me in. No one likes a dirty home. Do you?