Here’s what happens your company dives into social media without a strategy. Or knowing best practices.
Cannery Pier is a small hotel in Astoria, Oregon that I’ve been wanting to stay at for some time because it looks fabulous, but is a little out of my price range for your spur-of-the-moment weekend getaway. So after drooling over their website, I subscribed to their email list, figuring I would watch for specials discounts ( I am subscribed to so many hotel email lists, it is absurd – sidenote: all I ever want from a hotel email is a discount). So I was quite surprised when I received two emails from Cannery Pier’s Twitter and Facebook accounts, asking me to follow them. Normally, I would have no problem with an opt-in email letting me know they are using social media, but it has to be done correctly. Here’s what Cannery Pier should have done differently:
- Use your own email template. Cannery Pier sent emails out of the Twitter and Facebook platforms, branded as Twitter and Facebook respectively. Instead, use the template you use for all other email newsletters, and let us know what your Twitter handle is and where we can find you on Facebook, it looks much more professional, and not like you just dumped your email database into Facebook. Plus with Facebook, not everyone uses the same Facebook email as was on your email list (in my case) so I wasn’t even given the option to go to the company’s profile (we’ll get to the profile problem later). Facebook wanted me to join first, even though I’ve been on Facebook since 2004.
- Say something first. When I went to Cannery Pier’s Twitter page, it was blank. It was customized nicely with their logo and custom background, but no updates had been made. How would I know if I want to follow you? What are you going to talk about? With the email shenanigans you just pulled, how do I know you’re going to invest time into Twitter as well.
- Companies should have a Facebook Page. Not a group or a profile. Take 10 minutes to read up on best practices for businesses in social media and then build. Facebook pages have become much more robust and with the addition of custom url’s there is no reason a company should rely on solely on the group feature over a page. Business also need to steer clear of profiles, as it is technically against Facebook’s rules and has the potential to be shut down. So play by the rules.
The bottom line is, don’t do social media poorly just for the sake of being there. It will do you more harm than good to do a bad job than to do nothing.