Business Rants

How Not to Market on Social Media

  • March 31, 2015

Today comes a lesson in how not to market your business on social media. This morning I tweeted a gripe about over-use of “(some number) shades of” in marketing, and got a (probably auto-generated) pitch to come see the the site of a “website factory.” I’m sure all they (or their software) saw was the key phrase “web design” in my tweet (which was part of the offending title and irrelevant to my point) and BAM, they hit me, a cold contact, over the head with a sales pitch right off the bat. Yes, inviting people to the sales funnel that should be your web site is, indeed, making a sales pitch.

Not good.

Twitter fail!

Twitter fail!

There was no social aspect to that response, none at all. No sense they were responding to the context and meaning of my tweet, no acknlowlegement they even understood my real “pain point” and were seeking to address that. They made no attempt first to persuade me even to care they exist before pitching to me. If they don’t have a social media manager, they need one. If they do, he or she is not worth whatever they’re paying.

If you think scanning (either manually or automatically) a social media stream for key phrases and then firing off a reply keyed to that phrase is effectively marketing your business, you are dead wrong. All I feel right now about the brand in question is put off—not to mention if they’d taken a few minutes to look me up before they approached me they’d have realized I already provide many of the same services they offer so I’m not likely to be shopping for what they do.

Come on, people: that’s not even social media specific—it’s Basic Marketing 101. You find people in pain, and then convince them you can alleviate that pain. What was my pain point in that tweet? Certainly not anything related to needing someone to build me a web site—in fact, my pain was related to lazy marketers over-using trite approaches. This brand’s knee-jerk marketing response to something I didn’t even really care about just made the pain worse.

Social media marketing is hard. It takes time, patience, and empathy. Social media is a medium through which you discover potential clients by searching out the people whose pain you can solve, and then developing a relationship with them to the point they are no longer just a contact—rather someone who honestly cares about who you are and what you can do for them. It is patently NOT just another pipeline for the equivalent of “email blasts” or “cold calling.”

Please don’t be “that guy.” Please also feel free to share this post everywhere you can; I think it’s a message that needs to be spread.


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