(Note: Did you really think I’d let this opportunity to pass me by? I mean I’ll never get another opportunity to write a title like that…)
If you live in the US, you’ve heard of the big Congressman Anthony Weiner Twitter scandal. It’s everywhere. Another politician caught with his pants down – or to be more accurate, caught tweeting pics with his pants down…
Some say there is no such thing as bad publicity. As a marketer, I have to disagree, especially if you’re Representative Weiner and living up to your last name by acting like one. Overnight, Rep. Weiner has become a joke – and not just to snot-nosed 11 year old boys who still giggle when they hear ‘peacock’ but to those of us who are older and mature enough to understand that sometimes a peacock is just a peacock. So, yes, there is such a thing as bad publicity – and these days publicity, especially bad publicity is all too easy to come by. Just one little slip of the keyboard or a too-fast flick of the “send” button, and you could be ruined.
Social media is a wonderful resource for promoting and managing a small business reputation. But as the Rep Weiner debacle has shown us, it can also be a reputation/small business killer.
Here are four ways you can avoid marketing your small business like a Weiner.
- If you make a mistake, own up to it. Man up, admit your mistakes and do everything in your power to improve and prevent it from happening again. Whatever you do, don’t lie! Businesses are made up of human beings and human beings make mistakes. We are never going to be perfect. The key to managing your reputation is to admit your mistakes, deal with them, and find ways to improve. Lying or pretending that everything is perfect when it isn’t alienates everyone. You will never build a successful business this way.
- Nothing you put out on Social Media is private – especially your privates. Marketing is all about managing your image. If there are things about your business, your processes, your finances, your procedures, your management, etc that you don’t want the general public to know about, keep it to yourself. Social media is not the place to complain about employees, customers, or vendors – and you never want to air your dirty laundry.
- Don’t get too comfortable with your Facebook or Twitter “friends”. Rep Weiner wrongly assumed that all of his little Twitter girlfriends were his real friends and the information and pictures he shared with them would be kept private. But as a high-profile government figure, that was just plain stupidity. As business owners, we need to be just as mindful of what we’re putting out there. Many years ago a well-meaning co-worker gave me some much needed advice that I think applies here. He said to me, “going out for drinks with co-workers, and especially bosses, is still work – and you must treat it like work. Don’t drink too much and keep it appropriate.” I think that same rule should apply for social networking.
- Don’t wait until your flaws are embarrassingly exposed to get help. Rep Weiner has issues… whether he’s a sex addict, or just plain stupid is for him to decide. But clearly, he has issues. Who is without flaws? I’d be lying if I said my business (or my life for that matter) is perfect. My point here for small business owners is this: recognize your weaknesses, own your weaknesses and then commit to doing something to address them. Too many small business owners wait until they’re a job away from closing their doors, or a week away from missing payroll to get help with their businesses. Don’t wait until it’s too late – get help now.
What do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this!! Leave your comments here.
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