How Not to Use Social Media to Market Your Business : Under30CEO How Not to Use Social Media to Market Your Business : Under30CEO
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How Not to Use Social Media to Market Your Business

| July 5, 2013 | 5 Comments

Social Media Faux PasIf you run a business, then by now somebody has told you that you should be investing some amount of energy in social media marketing.  Odds are this person calls himself a guru or a ninja and said you “absolutely have to do social media,” which isn’t strictly true – but you should forgive him for his exuberance, mostly because he’s never heard of word-of-mouth marketing and doesn’t really know how to use his smartphone to make phone calls.

But I’m getting off track.  The point is, social media is a powerful tool to help you grow your business.  Fortunately for the purposes of this article, though, it is also a powerful tool to help make sure you don’t have a business for very long.  And since everyone else will probably lecture you about all the good things you could be doing, I thought it would be more fun to talk about some of my favorite horrible social media marketing tactics.  Let the failure begin!

Get Into Running Arguments With People Who Write Negative Reviews!

Did somebody post a negative Yelp review about your business?  The nerve of some people!  A lot of people let those things go, or quietly figure out how to delete them.  But you should definitely start an endless yelling match back and forth about how stupid they are for having a problem with the way you do things.  I know that for myself, as a customer, nothing is more persuasive than an angry business owner telling me how dumb I am for not immediately buying whatever it is that they’re selling.  In fact, I often find myself shamed into buying two or three additional things just so the yelling will stop.  And I’m pretty sure everyone else who reads your ravening diatribes will be similarly eager to appease you by buying huge amounts of your products.

Never Post About Anyone or Anything But Yourself!

Some business owners have found considerable success by partnering with other complementary businesses via social media to cross-promote and share promising customer leads.  But anyone who wants to do the same with you is probably just looking to steal your customers.  They probably don’t even have any customers, and they probably also are the same people who are posting negative Yelp reviews about you.  So stay away from everyone!  You know how people from Texas are fond of occasionally talking about seceding from the rest of the United States?  Well take it a step further and actually separate yourself from everyone.  Then maybe all those Texans will stop talking and actually do something for a change.

Never Use Pictures!

A word is worth a thousand pictures – I’m pretty sure that’s the phrase.  Which means that your brain should be literally exploding right now with all the pictures I’m bombarding you with.  I don’t know what you’re selling, but I’m guessing that your primary market is not blind people.

Even businesses that sell concrete post pictures of the concrete that they sell, which is amazing to me because I simply can’t believe that there are significant visual differences between various types of concrete.  (I know I’m going to get an angry comment from a concrete professional about that, I just know it.)  Which means the fewer pictures you post, the more likely it is that people won’t  buy anything.

Hope that helps.  Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go yell at a few people who made unflattering remarks about another article I wrote.  I’m pretty sure they’re all from Texas.  Seriously, Texas people, put up or shut up.  If you’re gonna secede, get it over with already.

Jeff Havens is a corporate speaker and author of Unleash Your Inner Tyrant! He helps people succeed at leadership, communication, professional development and more by telling them exactly what not to do. He shares his unique blend of comedy and content at

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Category: Entrepreneurship, Startup Advice

  • Michael Luchies

    Nice article Jeff! Those are definitely the three keys to failing at social media. If #1 is done right, you can learn how to improve your product/services to better serve your customers and it also gives you a chance to make angry customers less angry….unless they are just trolling.

  • Daniel DiPiazza

    I think the key here is to use social media to be a thought-leader. Thought leaders use the “we” context and put the onus back on the follower…thus further solidifying their position as a leader to begin with. Great article, Jeff!

  • Mike Darche

    This is a fresh spin on social media–well done! It reminds me of a really great book that I think you guys would enjoy: Word of Mouth Marketing by Andy Sernovitz. Give it a read if you have the chance, you can apply it to all sorts of web marketing.

  • Guest

    The more your business grows in social media the more you attract unnerving attention. But we don’t deal with those things by responding violently, because you’re holding a business page, you have to deal with them in a professional manner. People praise you more on how you respond to these kinds of situations, not on how you ride your high horse :)

  • Jayden Chu

    Using pictures will plant curiosity to the people interested, but we should not forget how meaningful the message will be shown in our images. The important thing is how we register the true purpose of what we’re showing. Interesting post!