Every day as I study and research the psychology of social media and business I hear something along the lines of “social media is a place to exercise my right to free speech”. Well it is true that you can say nearly anything you want, however, there are consequences for what you say or do on these platforms. People will in fact “defriend”, “unfollow”, “uncircle”, or “disconnect” from you because of what you say and do. The fact is what you say is not “free”, there will be consequences for your actions for both you and your business.
As a real life example: I was having this very conversation with a business owner who I challenged about what they are saying on Facebook and Google+ . I told them that what they are saying is negatively affecting their business. This person strongly and confidently told me that their business was doing just fine, and basically they were not changing their strong and sometimes erratic rants. Later that same week some mutual friends who are connected to the “ranter” and I were having a conversation about ranting and behavior on social media. The “ranters” name came up. I looked at friends and said, “My wife and I cannot send a client to their business, because I am afraid that if something goes wrong over there that our client would get blow out and ranted by this person, I can’t trust them”. My friend David said, “I cannot send a client or someone I cared about over there either because of this person’s strong views and angst, I fear for them going over there”. The overwhelming point…your personal posts have consequences and consequences for your business.
I happened to run across an article in the U.K.’s Telegraph about a study that was conducted for a fitness company out of the U.K. called sweatband.com. In this study they asked respondents to tell them what are the most annoying posts on social media. So if you always wanted to know how to “Annoy Your Friends and Tick off People” here are the top 10 results: (Humorous posts and commentary provided by Yours Truly)
1. The Exercise/Fitness/Diet Post Boast.
What We AreThinking: “I hope you go running and get eaten by wolves…but they won’t like the tofu turkey and faux spinach salad either.”
“This is the best thing I have ever eaten.”
What We Are Thinking: “You realize you said this about tofu turkey.”
3. The Cryptic status updates.
“The shoes missed the boat, yep, it’s mall time.”
Our Thoughts: “Seriously…stop doing drugs!”
4. Gamers that Repeatedly Invite You.
“Sandy just invited you to play mafiaville superword bingo three times”
What We Are Thinking: “I really want a block all apps setting, and with it a message that tells this person…I now block all game apps, clearly you did not read my multiple posts that said, PLEASE DO NOT SEND ME GAME REQUESTS!”
“Sally got the princess award today in school…she will always be our princess no matter what!”
What We Are Thinking: “I think I just threw up in my mouth…hmm…yeah princess is a great name for a stripper, you will be so proud.”
6. Over-sharing of personal information.
“I gave myself a white wine enema…I have never felt so refreshed…and my fanny is very happy!”
What We Are Thinking: “…and you wonder why I never invite you to my home for dinner.”
“I just became mayor of Hanks Left handed Wrench Plaza!”
What We Are Thinking: “Wow! That and $3 and you still could not buy a cup of coffee at Starbucks.”
“Please tell your friends to come to the 14th annual “save the snail” charity golf tournament, everyone knows a snail that needs a new start!”
What We Are Thinking: “Now that you posted this to my timeline…again, I have hidden this post, and I have now hidden you so I never have to see or hear another thing from you…again.”
“Sherman ‘liked’ Willy’s Post, “Just popped a zit…huge…filled an espresso cup.” And “Lisa, commented on Willy’s status, “take pictures…did you miss work?”
What We Are Thinking: “All of you need to just stop the madness…you clearly have no lives and you need to stop using our oxygen.”
“I just got a real estate listing on 123 ABC lane, totally excited” and/or “You can change your body and your life by drinking this super powder shake call me, because I can take you from flab to fab”, and/or “Stop working for someone you don’t know, call me and find out how I am making thousands of dollars a month working from home through my laptop and phone”.
What We Are Thinking: “You and I both know the reason you are promoting yourself here is because all your other marketing efforts have completely failed. You are looking for a last ditch effort and did I mention you were a “Loser”. I wouldn’t buy anything from you, or recommend you to anyone because you are a thorn, no an oak tree in my ______. I would defriend you, but I know that you would whine to 30 other people one of which happens to be my spouse.”
Okay so out of the more than 1700 people surveyed 52% of them have said they are using social media less (my guess is in reality they are talking Facebook) because of posts like the ones mentioned above. 38% of those surveyed indicated that they have quit “a” social media site altogether. So what does this all mean.
Yes there are consequences for your actions even on social media. As a business owner you need to be careful. It’s not political correctness you need to worry about it is social media etiquette. Know the culture, chances are you may be taking a selfish view of social media versus a selfless view. I will let you guess which business wins in the end.
To your success!