Social media is a tremendous platform to market your business; however, to use it correctly, you need to cover your backside. We want to help you cover your butt, so your rear need not fear as you drive your social media into high gear. With this striking line of prose, let us get started.
First, are you complying with local and federal laws? While I am not a lawyer, I did stay at a Holiday Inn last night. That unique law experience allows me to peer into what I see to as some of the threats companies face when using online marketing.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has strict regulations on how companies behave online. Take the Can-Spam Act of 2003. This act regulates how businesses communicate not only via phone, but also through email communications. Social media was not part of the law; however, some of your corresponding monetization efforts with email and mobile marketing are affected.
Too many companies are taking liberties with social media connections for the purpose of email and mobile communications. Why is this dangerous?
Recently, a $250 million class action lawsuit hammered Papa John’s Pizza. The company allegedly sent out millions of text messages to customers without their permission. Some recipients received multiple texts in a row in the middle of the night. This is a big no-no in online marketing. Even if some of the text messages were a technical glitch, you need to start using permission marketing. This starts with a good social media campaign.
Second, remember the government has laws, and the social networking companies have their own set of rules. You cannot just follow the law, and ignore social networks’ guidelines. Some of the large social networks can (and in many cases have) kicked people out faster than they can say “buttocks.” Twitter Jail and the Google Slap did not arise out of thin air.
For example, Facebook prefers business being conducted on fan pages. Mark Zuckerberg has a low tolerance for people making money in ways he finds unacceptable. I have seen friends kicked out of Facebook for being overly promotional.
The company regularly screens out Facebook ads it deems inappropriate. While a set of guidelines exist, I generally submit three ads at any one time assuming one or more will not survive the review. Once had one rejected because I used a question mark.
Third, never react and tweet. Ever wonder what went through Congressman Weiner’s head when he tweeted his junk on Twitter? How did Trump believe his Tweet tirade on election night was acceptable? Truth is they probably were not thinking.
Too many companies face that problem as they begin their social media campaigns. They do not think before promoting. However, social media leaves a permanent record. State your thoughts, only when they are THOUGHTFUL. If you get a feeling in the pit of your stomach, take a snack break BEFORE you post.
Think about Kenneth Cole’s misstep when they tweeted during the Arab Spring in 2011.
“Millions are in uproar in #Cairo. Rumor is they heard our new spring collection is now available online at http://bit.ly/KCairo -KC”
The company is now on virtually every social media agency’s list when they warn their clients what not to do for their business. If you type into Google “Kenneth Cole social media” there are over 1.6 million results of the PR disaster.
Well, now we know “There be dangers in these waters.” So, what can we do?
The best thing any company can do when they face social media challenges is to make sure they understand the game ahead of time. If you are unsure then check out my blog post on Social Networking Etiquette.
Preparation can help you avoid a lot of unnecessary perspiration later on with social media.