I remember watching the news the day Alec Baldwin was kicked off an American Airlines flight after refusing to turn off his iPad and wondering if this would be the end of a very good run for Baldwin’s appearances in commercials. It had all the right factors to erupt – public meltdown, viral media sharing, and corporate posturing. Instead, Baldwin parlayed potential fiasco to his favor, almost immediately integrating the incident into a Saturday Night Live comedy spoof instead of avoiding the subject. While the rest of us will likely never face the level of scrutiny directed at celebrities and national brands, how we handle our good news, bad news and every day interactions with the public is just as important. And while knowing how to create engaging content is definitely important, there are several ways that we can still harm that public relationship despite creating killer content. Here are a few:
Create Unnecessary Barriers
We all know that building up a database of interested contacts is useful, but is it really more important that engaging the stranger who happens across our content and may want to interact but moves on when asked to log in? Seriously, if you want to stagnate growth, just add a log-in requiring personal information from your viewer. Whether it is to access surveys, videos, or other content, if you want feedback, get feedback – not email addresses.
Charge Potential Clients To See Your App
If you’ve created a mobile app as part of your overall marketing strategy, do you really want to put a $.99 barrier between you and a potential client or between your current clients and the content you’ve created to build loyalty to your brand? There are always places to monetize, but charging to download your app shouldn’t be one of them. Now if you’ve created the next Angry Birds, then by all means, charge. But if your app is to promote your business and give customers fingertip access to your services, products and to you, don’t think of your app as a product, because it’s not. It’s marketing, and it’s really good marketing when you do it right. You are not going to get rich $.99 a download, but if you want to try, it’s the perfect way to limit your audience.
Shut Down Complaints
When a company I follow recently had some technical difficulties, their clients were understandably angry and frustrated. And while they issued all of the appropriate apologies and explanations of working hard to resolve the issues, they also shut down any sign of public comment through their social media. None of us as business owners like to read angry or critical comments when we’re working so hard to build a reputation of quality and value, but if we pretend that nothing is going wrong, we’ll alienate those who might have been willing to forgive and forget once the debacle is past. Consumers want to know their favorite brands will hear them when they’re unhappy. If you want to help your customers make the decision to leave, all you need to do is shut them up when they’re telling you why they’re unhappy. Otherwise, follow the Three A’s: Acknowledge, address, and accept the issue.
If Some Is Good, More Must Be Better
Through a glitch in a third-party app, one of my favorite sites, VentureBeat, recently posted seventy-one new stories at once onto my Facebook feed. Usually, that would be a recipe for disaster, but because their team is reliably judicious in the relevancy and amount of news shared with their fans, the brand managed to get past the snafu without losing fans. In fact they gained a few. But under normal circumstances, if you over-share with your audience, you’ll find you have less audience tuning in to your posts. If you’re a news agency, you can get away with numerous posts each day. But if you’re not a news agency, don’t think the same rule applies to you. Once or twice a day is about all anyone wants to hear from you. Unless, of course, you’re wanting to lose audience.
Build It So They’ll Come – And Then Neglect Them
If you spend the time and money to create a mobile and social presence for your company, isn’t it worth nurturing what you’ve invested in? Do you really want to be like the couple in the restaurant that doesn’t say a word to each other? Engage your audience; after all, they’ve signed up to have you engage with them. Send relevant new notices through your app at regular intervals – not spam, but information about upcoming events, new products, special offers – these are not considered spam by your audience but useful information right where they want it. Post regularly to your social media accounts – and make sure the posts aren’t all announcements about your company. Share industry news, ask questions of your readers. Don’t take yourself so seriously – have a little fun. Let your audience know you’re not stodgy and boring. Oh, and if all else fails, you can always post series of photos of cute kittens.