Yesterday while doing some research on Twitter I was alerted to an article that made me stop and think.
The writer was commenting on how airlines were harnessing the power of Twitter and using this tool as an information-sharing platform. This allowed them to share information with customers as it was happening to keep them informed of delays, issues with flights, etc.
However, he noticed that one particular airline had set their Twitter account to private, requiring people to physically make a request and wait until their account was approved before they could access any information.
This was of concern to the writer, and rightly so, considering we are in the information age and are often time poor. We haven’t got the time to go through an approval process just to be able to access their tweets.
Here’s a link to the article. [Written by AskAaronLee]
I had the exact experience just two days prior. I noticed one of my Twitter buddies was following a business, which had set their Twitter profile to private.
I remember being quite puzzled as to why they would do that?
Why would any business have their Twitter account set to private so that none of their posts could be viewed unless you were connected to them? To me, it didn’t make sense, especially considering that your posts and conversations provide you with an opportunity to build brand awareness as well as being able to connect, engage and have a conversation with prospects.
As the writer of the article so aptly said: “[your tweets] won’t appear on your timeline and it won’t appear on the Twitter search engine. Literally, you don’t exist at all unless someone requested to follow you.”
It got me thinking.
How many businesses are practically non-existent because of what they’re doing (or not doing) in their marketing and communications strategies?
And, while we’re speaking on the topic brand awareness and engaging with people, how many businesses are tarnishing their brands, reputations and relationships because of what they’re doing (and not doing).
Here are three things that I’ve seen business owners do that isn’t going to help them build a strong brand. Nor will these things enable them to build a relationship with people who could quite possibly be a potential customer.
[I’ve also reached out to my network and asked them for their feedback. I received some great responses, which you can read below].
1. Off-brand comments and interactions
Everything you do, say, write – your online and your offline interactions and communications, reflects on your brand. Positive or negative – your interactions will impact the perception others have about you and your business.
Complaining and being negative about something that has happened to you; alerting people to the ‘wild’ weekend you’re going to have; or informing us that ‘you’ve just gotten off the phone with ‘your client from h%ll’ – is not really appropriate and can turn off a potential client.
Other things that can impact your reputation and your relationships are the groups you join; the videos and articles you share; as well as people you are connected with.
Wouldn’t want your mother or a prospective client/JV partner to read something? Or even if you’re not sure – don’t hit enter!
2. An unprofessional (or non-existent) photo
A picture paints a thousand words. What does your current photo say about you? Would a potential prospect be inspired to connect with you, let alone invest in your services?
And, just like an unprofessional photo can tarnish your brand, so can not having any picture at all. If you’ve been meaning to get a professional photo taken to use in your profiles – make sure you do this as soon as possible. Feedback that I’ve received about people who don’t have a picture (but just the standared icon provided with the technology – such as the Twitter) leaves the impression that you may be trying to hide something. This is certainly not the impression you want to make.
3. An unprofessional (or non-existent) bio
One of the first things people do if they’re interested in what you have said is to check out your bio to find out a little more about you.
I know I do – especially when I’m wearing my Host/Show Programming hat from Business Success Podcast and The Ambitious Entrepreneur and looking for guests to interview on my podcasts. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve gone to find out more about people (especially on Twitter) only to find an empty profile (or profile which is uninspiring and unprofessional), with no link to direct me to their website. If that happens – I’ve gone onto the next person. Opportunity missed.
With only a few seconds to make an impression make sure you have an up-to-date profile with a link to your website so that anyone who wants to find out more information about you can do so easily.
Make sure everything you do and say both online and offline continues to portray you as the professional you are so that any prospective customer can see the value of connecting with you and investing in you!
Here are what some of my Facebook friends had to say:
Louise Kerr says that she doesn’t like it when websites have no address or way for her to find out about the real business behind the site. Not sharing this information gave the impression that they were less than trustworthy.
Karla Campos has noticed, especially on Twitter and FB that some companies don’t interact with customers. Their [business] page is just sitting there doing nothing. And, if you are on LinkedIn make sure you join groups and join in the conversations.
Katy Tafoya had quite a bit to say on this topic and shared the following (in no particular order):
(1) no contact page, (2) no real address and/or phone number on the website, (3) not asking questions and communicating with their FB fans, (4) not having a social media strategy, (5) using a FB profile instead of a fan/biz page, (6) not communicating with their community enough.
Linda Harachi also had some great points to share:
(1) No consistency in their brand in terms of logo and colours across different mediums (2) not having business cards (3) giving out outdated information (4) hard to find contact details on websites (5) not communicating regularly via FB, blog …etc (6) not being mindful of the business people you are connected to on your FB personal profile (7) making posts on FB that are too personal (8) spelling mistakes (9) websites that are too hard to navigate – not user friendly (10) not responding to and acknowledging emails! = bad customer service…. (11) signing up people to newsletters without consent.
And, for businesses that have a physical shop front:
@ElitepetcareEdu cautions shop owners: not to cover all their windows up and refuse to turn on lights. This gives the impression that you are not open so can turn away potential customers.
Recognise something you need to update and/or get onto today so that you don’t miss out on opportunities to connect with prospective customers or JVs? Did you find this article helpful? Please Like it and share it with your community! I’d really appreciate it!
Also, have you seen things that other businesses are doing that you want share? Please do! It’s always great to connect with our readers!
Are you missing out on new business because of the way you are showing up online?
I agree consistency is important and backing what you promote with action.
Yes, action is very important as well. Shows the importance of not only talking the talk – but walking the talk as well! Thanks for stopping by @Momsherbs!
Thanks for the acknowledgement Annemarie. Consistently conducting yourself professionally is the way to go.
Linda Harachi | My Australian Secretary
My pleasure Linda – you shared some great tips which we all should take note of!
Annemarie, this article is a great summary of so many things that businesses do wrong. The only other thing I can think of (and I really tried to come up with something to add) would be not optimizing your images. No one wants to wait for images to load. That one mistake can make your visitors leave in a hurry.
Hi Sherryl, thanks for stopping by and leaving your suggestions. You are so right – when it takes ages for a page to load there’s no way people are going to hang around. Thanks for the reminder!
Let me go back to that airline story, I mean why would this company do that? The costumers needs more information about them from time to time. I don’t know what they are thinking but that’s how they run it. Anyways, like what everyone else said being consistent is very important. When you run a business you should be confident in anything that the potential costumers asks or any thing that they want.