When Good Social Media Marketing Goes Bad.

When creating social media buzz, be sure you are well positioned for people to know who you are, what you do, where you do it and how they can connect with you. Don’t let your social media effort take a bad turn.

I was just completing my Monday morning social media perusal of Facebook and enjoying pictures posted by friends and family of the wedding we attended this weekend. In the mix was a nice short story commented on by my cousin about a guy who had volunteered to help paint a restaurant, soon to be featured on the popular Food Channel TV show “Restaurant Impossible.” I’m a fan of the show so I clicked to learn more.

The picture featured a person who I assume is the author of the post posing with the show’s host Robert Irvine. The Facebook post was attributed to a page for a Residential/Commercial Painter. Now I thought to myself, this is a perfect social media opportunity. It is exactly what many small businesses pay professional PR firms to make happen for them. This guy has successfully associated himself with a national celebrity and created a little social media buzz as evidenced by the fact that it was commented on by my cousin and several other people. So now I was further intrigued and investigated further to see where this company is located.

When I went to the company’s Facebook page there was no mention of their location, neither was there a link to the website. There was a phone number with an area code associated to the Chicago south suburbs so that gives me a potential clue, but with cell phones today that area code can be used by anyone anywhere. Undaunted I clicked the “About Us” page which had another link to the site owner. This is where it really starts going bad. The profile photo is of the page owner extending his middle finger. In addition, a number of the photos on his site feature him and other people also extending the same salute. Understand that though this is a rude gesture I understand it is all intended in good fun however this is now associated with a business page.

My observation is that the person in the picture with Robert Irvine is the COMPANY OWNER. He appears older than the “bird flipping” PERSONAL PAGE OWNER who I am willing to guess is the son of the COMPANY OWNER. Son probably said, “Hey Dad you should have a Facebook page for the business. I’ll set it up!” In this case actually a very nice gesture. The problem is that now the son’s casual antics are associated with dad’s business.

This is where “Good Social Media Goes Bad.” Dad gave up a day of his time donating his professional skills which successfully positioned the company as a friendly business, willing to help a neighbor. As a result he gets a bit of national exposure and a tremendous newsworthy social media opportunity. However because he relied on a non-professional social media adviser he is not positioned to garner maximum value from this opportunity. Painting and decorating is primarily a local service. Since we have no idea where they are located I cannot consider if it is a business I might use or recommend. Since there is no website I cannot investigate further to learn about what they have to offer and the services they provide. And lastly if someone were as motivated as me to delve further they will likely stumble upon an associated page that references a person who appears to champion a “screw you” attitude. This does not bode well for a potential business relationship.

My take-away message is to be prepared for success. You do not know when it may arrive or from what direction it might come. An opportunity like this can easily be parlayed into a few jobs you might not have otherwise have gotten. Building your brand by associating yourself with others who have a bigger fan base than you (in this case Robert Irvine and Restaurant Impossible) is an ideal way to gain exposure. Finding social media opportunities that are outside the usual field of experience are golden, don’t squander it.

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Reno Lovison specializes in helping businesses utilize video as a part of their social media strategy.

  1 comment for “When Good Social Media Marketing Goes Bad.

  1. September 11, 2015 at 4:00 am

    Great post, Reno! It’s so true that we have to be prepared for getting attention, and want to make
    sure that all components of our business online projects a positive image. Thanks for sharing your story in a compelling way. Glad to know you!

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