How You Use Social Media Can Kill Your Business

The social media movement has expanded the amount of people we can reach and connect with on a personal level. The new relationships and connections we create with people all over the world can have a profound effect on our personal and business growth. We learn about cultures and nations that we were, perhaps, previously ignorant of. None of this is a new concept, but what may be is how quickly you can destroy your business by using social media incorrectly.

TRANSPARENCY IS A UTOPIAN CONCEPT

Not too long ago, Michael Fortin wrote an article titled “Don’t Be Transparent, Be Authentic Instead”. That article is an important read for any social media wrangling business blogger and you can search for it online.

That article is the tip of the iceberg in the concept of ‘transparency’ being too Utopian to work within the jaded confines of our society. Of course, true transparency is ideal. Many things about a perfect world are. Unfortunately, as a group, most of the world isn’t ready or willing to accept true transparency without penalty.

WHEN TRANSPARENCY FAILS

Let me give you a couple of examples of transparency failure we’ve seen.

Failure 1: We had a copywriter who was posting on Twitter about the work he was doing. He made several posts within a few hour period which were ugly complaints about a client and how ‘stupid’ he felt that client was. We obviously considered this unacceptable and immediately removed him from our list of subcontractors, but think about this: If he was hoping to use Twitter to get more client work – how many potential clients just read that and thought… “I’m not going to risk being badmouthed on here, I’ll find someone else.” Everyone gets frustrated, but what if the client he was working on read that? Put it this way, if you wouldn’t say it to your client directly – don’t post it either.

Failure 2: We had a designer who was a day late returning her design phase work. When we contacted her, she said she had a family emergency the night before and was unable to send in her work because she wasn’t home. A quick check on her Facebook showed that she was actually out at a party that night and posted multiple times while drunk talking about how much she was drinking and even hinting at wanting to bring a man she met there home with her. Obviously, we relieved her of the design work, handed it to another designer who caught up on the time schedule, and never again worked with her. In this case, people are allowed to have a life, we understand that. But if you cannot get your work done and have to lie about why – it’s a problem. If you do not have enough class to not post details about your ‘wild nights’ to everyone on your social networks — that’s also a problem.

HOW WE MONITOR SOCIAL MEDIA CONVERSATIONS

My business has been around for over a decade and is very focused on client satisfaction and excellent treatment of our web design clients. We have a network of hundreds of copywriters, designers, and coders who work with us on projects. However, even with screening of those experts when they come on board with us – you don’t always know someone until you have observed them over a long period of time.

That’s why we monitor what they say online.

How do we do that? Well first we get as many of their social profiles as we can. Usually, we ask for a list of them. We’ve also found that most people won’t provide them all. We then Google search the usernames of the ones they have given us because most people use the same usernames over and over. We also monitor blogs, and check for listings of social networks on those.

We have a system set up to consolidate all their social media comments into one master feed. That master feed can then be browsed directly to see what they’re up to, but that’s a lot of things to read each day. What we do is take the master feed, run it through a filter that creates two sub-feeds based on certain things we think are important to monitor. The first sub-feed is created by running the master list through a keyword & synonym filter that pulls out words related to business – for instance, “client” “business” “work” etc… The second sub-feed has a filter that runs their posts through a check for foul language and words like “sex” “drugs” “drunk” etc… There are hundreds of words in each filter.

Seem a bit ‘big brother’? It probably is – but reputation and client treatment is very important to us.

Here’s the thing: If we can read it and you can lose work with us over it… how many POTENTIAL clients did you lose also?

7 WAYS TO EDIT YOURSELF

We’re not suggesting you stop having a life and stop making mistakes. You can post about those things and it simply makes you a more interesting person to read about. Just use common sense:

1. If you wouldn’t say it to a client or boss – don’t say it where they can read it either.

2. If you wouldn’t say it to your grandmother – don’t say it on your public posts.

3. If you wouldn’t say it to police officer – don’t post it on your social networks. For that matter, don’t do it either.

4. If you plan to lie to your boss – don’t put the truth where they can see it.

5. If you plan to go out and get drunk and know you have a tendency to post while drunk – give your phone to a friend to keep for you.

6. Learn how to use privacy settings and understand how visible your posts are on different social networks.

7. If you want a place to vent – create a completely different identity for yourself to do that. Name no names in your posts, and make no connection to your other profiles or email addresses.

Consider it all part of Internet Etiquette. Social networks are great to hear more personal things about someone and we encourage people to share a bit of themselves online (using normal cautions etc..). In the long run, full transparency is too Utopian for our modern world to handle well. We’re still at a point in our societal growth that when someone seriously calls a client an idiot – they tend to get a bit upset about it.

Solving Web Design Nightmares – Responsive Web Design!

There are many techniques to ensure that a website is reaching its intended audience. Online marketing, off page SEO, on page SEO are the top three used techniques.

But in the core of it all is design, user experience and layout. So knowing that everyone is different, and that users access the web in different ways we need to ensure that we can offer the best web experience to as many of these users as possible.

One of the main things to consider when developing is:

How do users access a website?

A careful developed site – it sure looks good on a desktop… But what about iPad, iPhone, Android, Blackberry?…

How is the site going to work on mobile devices?

Thinking about presentation for each device does no longer work, and for a long time designers did not have a choice. But with the advance of mobile technology the developing/design community has found a better, more affordable and faster way.

Responsive Web Design

So here is the Wikipedia definition:

Responsive Web Design is an approach to web design in which a site is crafted to provide an optimal viewing experience—- easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning and scrolling— across a wide range of devices (from desktop computer monitors to mobile phones).

So, this design allows designers to create fluid websites with flexible content that automatically adapts to the size and orientation of the users’ browser to deliver the optimal layout. This means a site can look great on any device, no longer only on desktop. It also allows for the website to be consistent and more importantly usable regardless of how people are accessing it. So, with a responsive design, we can be confident that the website will deliver fantastic user experience on any device.

How cool is Responsive Web Design? .net Magazine rated it as the #2 in Top Web Design Trends for 2012. And, we expect for 2013 to be the year of Responsive Web Design.

Some Pros:

Better SEO – Only one URL structure to maintain
No Pinching and Zooming – While optimized websites will still offer this disadvantage.
Content Management – Rather than multiple content versions for different devices, now we manage only one set.
Time and Money Savings – No longer a business that needs a web presence is tied by budgeting and the need to allocate large amount of funds to web development and its multiple phases.
Site Updates – Content updates can be done once and sometimes design changes too.

Responsive Web Design is a very powerful strategy in most situations. However, there is still tons to be said about True Mobile websites, and their undivided utilization for mobile devices. For a small business owner, budgeting for two different designs and projects can be a bottom line drainer. With Responsive Web Design you can achieve maximum ROI on your website design cost. Want to learn more? Check our site

Author: Aitor Recalde with ps.marketing