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.