In the hyper-connected world that we live in, it’s hard to imagine being able to run a strong online presence without the use of social media. This is no longer optional, seeing as how the majority of your audience automatically expects you to be available on all social networks and might get quite disappointed if you fail to live up this. In fact, some online businesses start working through social networks long before they make a website or create an e-store. In this way, their clients can place orders in their inbox and turn social media into their primary business platform.
Unfortunately, not everything is sunshine and roses in the world of social media either. There probably isn’t a single person out there who doesn’t regret or even cringe upon seeing something they’ve uploaded several years (or even a full decade) ago. When it comes to the business world, all of this holds true several times over. You’re constantly under a loophole and the margin of tolerance is not nearly as wide. With that in mind and without further ado, here are five negative effects of social media as well as ways to avoid them.
Nothing dies, ever
The first thing you need to understand is the fact that nothing that you’ve ever uploaded online really goes away. There might be this one embarrassing or controversial tweet or post that you’ve made several years ago and completely forgot about, however, once this topic reemerges, this tweet/post might reappear. You’ll soon discover that there’s no shortage of diligent and idle individuals, ready and willing to scroll through tons of your material in order to dig out something that could compromise your reputation.
Even if you do delete this piece of content shortly after, there’s always a probability that there’s someone out there somewhere with a screenshot. That being said, keep in mind that they could also take things out of context, which is why it is smart to avoid sarcasm on social networks. At the moment you might not be able to resist the urge, yet, keep in mind that sarcasm simply goes over some people’s heads. Moreover, as a business, it’s not your job to make social media content that depends on the interpretation of the audience. Your message needs to be short, simple and as clear as possible so that there’s no room for free interpretation.
Loosely estimating the efficiency
Another massive problem that comes from social media is trying to make a loose estimate on how you’re doing based on vanity metrics. Just because you have a lot of shares, retweets, and likes, it doesn’t mean that your social marketing technique is cost-effective. Your end goal is never popularity or affirmation on its own. You need this popularity in order to boost your sales, gain subscribers or grow your email list (whatever your immediate objective may be at the moment), therefore, it’s quite problematic to ignore metrics that really matter. What you need is a full-scale social media monitoring process conducted by a skilled individual or a specialized third-party agency. Nothing short of this will do.
Hopping onto the bandwagon
Social media is all about quick response. This causes people to quickly react to topics that they A) know virtually nothing about or B) are closely tied to scenarios that haven’t got to unveil themselves as of yet. Running the social media presence of your business is not the same thing as running your own Facebook page or Twitter account (which is something we’ll discuss later on). This is why you need to try and play it safe, unless, of course, your business is directly tied to the controversy in question. In that particular scenario, postponing the response might make you look even guiltier than you actually are.
This is something similar to what we’ve discussed in the first section, however, it’s also so specific and relevant that it deserves a section of its own. You see, unless you’re 100 percent sure that you’re in the right, it’s much better to avoid throwing accusations of any kind. The list of examples of celebrities and businesses calling others out for their unethical behavior only to be exposed as being guilty of the same sin is virtually endless. The latest example is the case of Asia Argento, one of the most vocal advocates of the Me Too movement, who, as it turns out, has a case of sexual assault of her own to answer.
The problem with the above-listed issue lies in the fact that, by association, the entire movement now seems to be compromised. Examples of this go on and on and it’s incredibly important that you avoid getting caught up in this vicious loophole yourself.
Personal brands are under a magnifying glass
The last thing you need to understand is the fact that even people in your employ might be personally under a magnifying glass. This is why you need to ensure that your entire management supports and upholds your corporate values. It’s not that uncommon that a controversy surrounding the CEO of a company brings a drop in the stock value.
Sure, as a small business, your employees may be out of the scope of the public eye due to the fact that the general public might be completely unaware that they’re in your employ. However, when it comes to experts and public figures like your marketing team or PR representative, you need to let them know just how important it is for them to find a middle ground between professional and private.
Another problem that you might encounter here is the fact that trying too hard may have an adverse effect as well. Think about it, people who go into the trouble of looking at your personal profile probably want to know what you’re like as a person. If they wanted to see a company bio, they would go to your website and look at the “about us” section. So, you need to give them a glimpse of your personal life without contradicting your corporate values.
As you can see, the world of social media is full of hazards and it’s incredibly easy for one to walk straight into a trap unless they’re very careful. Fortunately, the first step when it comes to avoiding a trap lies in knowing that there is one, to begin with. Luckily for you, now you know better.