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Facebook 101

December 16, 2012


Social media is a funny subject for me.  On one hand it presents an opportunity to reach your target consumer in a personal way.  You can answer questions, provide information on new product launches, provide information on things happening in your industry.  Use it for contests; use it for marketing research and/or product development.  You can even use it to post your new TV ad or radio ad.

On the other hand it can be an unmapped territory where you know there are landmines, but you have no idea there they are and unfortunately lots of companies step on them.

Unfortunately, there is a lot of “irrational exuberance” about social media and what it can do.  It’s like a new toy for a child.  They go crazy with it and then they go to far and break it.

I will say that there are no rules for social media despite the “experts” out there who claim they can help you make money on it.  You can make money, many have, but the rules aren’t as clear cut or set as one thinks.

As with anything it all depends on your goals and how you go about achieving them.  It has been my experience that social media is best used when it comes to answer questions from consumers, market research and product development.  I have yet to see any of my strategies result in increased sales.  It can definitely drive relevancy.  You can get people talking about you and sharing your posts, but that rarely translates into real sales.

Rather than speak to how you can make it work (speaking to my point in regards to no rules) I’m going to show an example of what not to do.

Here is an image a friend sent me that a local pretzel shop he follows on Facebook posted the other day.  I’m no Photoshop genius so I blocked out any identifying markers as best I could (don’t want to get in trouble with the lawyers).  This local shop is known for making cool designs based on themes.  For example they did a Thanksgiving Day Turkey out of their pretzel product.  Here they are doing the same thing:

Wrestling Picture Modified

OK.  What’s going on there?  What thoughts went through your head?

Well, obviously it looks like a sex act; however, that’s not what it’s supposed to be.  It’s supposed to be a double-leg takedown as seen in wrestling.  This picture was commemorating the start of the high school wrestling season and the owner of the shop was celebrating his son making the varsity team.

Do you get it?  Probably not because most people don’t know anything about wrestling other than what the WWE produces.  So what’s the lesson here?

Don’t post things that can be misconstrued so easily.  There are a lot of different ways to say in pictures what you can say with words.  If you can’t do that than DON’T DO IT!  It’s better not to say something than to say something you will regret.

In business you have lots of things going on so if you can’t post about one subject without having issues then post about something else.  For this pretzel business, what’s wrong with just saying “It’s a great day, come out and get a pretzel.”

If anything the lesson is to double check everything and think.  Think. Think. Think.

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