Category: Social Media Marketing

When Its Best to Stay Away from Social Media

broken facebook

Most of us have heard over and over again why it’s important to come up with a social media marketing strategy. For those in the dark I’ll shed some light on the benefits. Not only does it help your SEO efforts, it allows customers to regularly engage with you, introduce your business to their friends, be part of a customer’s web research and makes the web a bigger, happier, friendly place [insert rainbow].

There are however, some real reasons why some businesses should stay the hell away from social media.  One good reason is if you’re insane.

Take the case of Amy’s Baking Company.  If you haven’t heard of this small, failing restaurant in Scottsdale, Arizona get caught up on the Amy’s here  but if you are up to speed you can see why not having a social media presence is probably the worst thing to ever happen to them.  Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m elated to know that there’s a place in Arizona that I should avoid like the plaque but I’m the consumer, not the business owner. If I was the business owner every update I made on Facebook was like shooting myself in the foot. I’ll explain.

Bad Businesses Then and Now

15 years ago if a restaurant was horrible I’d complain at my table and tell my friends to avoid the eatery later on. That would be it! That horrible business may fail or it may scrape regularly getting walk in looking to try something different. But the world is a lot bigger and more connected now.

I hate reality TV so I would have never watched that episode of Kitchen Nightmares. 15 years ago I would have learned about Amy’s by someone at work coming in saying “Stacey, I saw a crazy episode of Kitchen Nightmares, where some chefs went all crazy and Gordon Ramsey just walked out!” My reaction would have been “Oh, man. Sorry I missed it” not actually feeling sorry at all and the conversation would have ended there. But what did happen was I saw a few tweets when I got to my desk about a crazy episode of a reality show but I saw a Twitterstorm on ‘an epic Facebook meltdown’.  Then a coworker would have come in saying:

“Stacey, I saw a crazy episode of Kitchen Nightmares, where some chefs went all crazy and Gordon Ramsey just walked out!”

“Oh, man. Sorry I missed it.”

“Oh, it gets better. Then they go on their Facebook page and start freaking out really bad. Then they start typing in all caps about Yelp and Reddit users calling them shits and they just don’t know good food and it’s all there fault the restaurant is failing and they just don’t stop! It was the most epic meltdown ever. You gotta check it out”

“Wow, really?”

“Yeah, I’ll send you a link

The Differences

Two key things happened in the now conversation.  One is the access to this story through an easy to share link. I get to witness and read this insanity for myself, not just hear an office-friendly version.  Another thing is that the story evolved. This isn’t about a dumb reality show; this is now a full blown social media lesson on how not to behave. In fact the meltdown on Facebook was more newsworthy than the show. If you even type Amy’s Baking you see a SERP full of their ‘Internet meltdown” page titles, not Kitchen Nightmares or Gordon Ramsey. The conversation shifted.

Meltdown search result

Some of the most cringe worthy moments are this:


facebook freakout

And this:

facebook freakout

And this:

facebook freakout

There are so many and I can’t share them all.  To make matters worse there are Youtube videos with show snippets so people who don’t watch this show, like me, are all too tempted to see it in action.

With so many trolls, so many people willing to make memes and negatively review Amy’s Baking Company they should have stopped while they could but instead of walking away they just keep fueling the fire, writing weirder and crazier things, spreading the negative sentiment all over the web until the Amy’s Baking Company decided to ‘temporarily’ close. All of this happened in a few days.

The point of social media marketing is to be social so if you’re certifiable please do your business a favor and outsource the marketing to a professional.  Or just stay off of the web completely and hope your business has great foot traffic.

Interview with an Author: Alex Clermont

Self-promotion is one of the beauties of Social Media. A company, a dev team or a single person can build an entire business on Social Media Marketing. Although studies have shown that not every business can do it, for many others this is their best option. Take my brother, Alex Clermont for example. He’s an author that got tired of dealing with traditional publications. Frustrated by the amount of obstacles he had to go through to get his work in front of an editor he decided to publish and advertise on the web.

When Alex’s book “Eating Kimchi and Nodding Politely” came out I couldn’t help but take notice of his web presence; I was really proud of him. His book is selling and with reviews on Amazon building I decided to sit down with him so I could pick his brain.

Why did you decide to self-publish?

I got frustrated with the constant rejection letters that come with submitting to literary journals and other publications. It’s tiring to spend months sending out a single story to 30 different publications and have them all reject you. Gertrude Stein spent 22 years submitting before getting a single poem accepted. After some research it seemed like self-publishing could be a better route.

That’s pretty awesome but since you’re an unknown it must have been hard for you to get attention online. How did you come up with your marketing plan?

Well I thought about two things: First, what mediums can help me reach an audience of people who’d be interested in what I’m writing about. Second, what’s free. The free thing was really, really important. From that I devised a plan that included the creation of my blog, a Facebook fan page, a twitter account and a bunch of other stuff that creates a brand image of a cool guy that writes deep stories about you, me and the rest of us.

My blog was really essential since it was both personal but also contain short stories that gave visitors an idea of my writing style. I tried to avoid what I saw as flaw in other indie author blogs. I didn’t try to write about my process of writing. At this beginning stage of my career that wouldn’t attract fans, but other would-be indie authors who aren’t interested in becoming my fan. I also tried to keep the quality of the stories on my site on a professional level. People who often self-publish creative writing on their website/blog put up amateurish poem and quickly put together stories. I wanted my blog to really put on display my abilities, so I put up almost the same quality of writing that I’ve submitted and published through others.

What did you want to accomplish by doing social media?

Branding was my aim with social media. I just wanted people to know about me. I needed to project three or two essential and likable characteristics about myself that people could gravitate towards. I figured if i spread that image around enough, backed up with content, I could create a fan base. You know, book groupies.

Do you like doing all the marketing by yourself?

No. I hate the fact that I can’t focus on writing all the time but I like having direct control of my image plus I get all of the revenue.

What are your thoughts on traditional media?

I think traditional publishing is going down a very dark road and more people [writers and readers] are looking at ebooks… As an author you have more of the revenue and more of the control and you don’t have to wait around for success. A lot of great authors like Michael Crichton got many rejections before someone printed their novels…. Publishers aren’t the arbitrators of anything.

Would you consider all this a success?

I do. I can connect with my audience and built a long-term career. People are reading [my work] now, buying it now, commenting on it now, as we speak.

Alex spoke to me about his average monthly sales and I have to admit I’m impressed. It’s easy for best-selling authors to sell online but for an independent author to write, publish, market and sell a book by himself it proves that the world is changing. Producers and consumers are interacting in more direct ways and it seems like we’re all the more better for it.

Alex Clermont is a writer born and raised in New York City. He also regularly posts short fiction pieces on his website Alex’s first book “Eating Kimchi and Nodding Politely,” is a collection of narratives about his time living in in South Korea. He also smiles a whole lot. Say “Hi” if you get the chance. :)