How to Use Social Media Marketing to Destroy Your Business in a Weekend

 In Business Marketing

“Be careful what you wish for.” ― Proverb

Marketing is a powerful tool, indeed ― a single campaign can launch your business into the stratosphere. Or, if you’re Tucson restaurant Cup It Up, a single campaign can destroy your business forever.

In a single weekend!

How is this possible? This article from the AZ Daily Star shows how.

To recap, here’s a brief timeline of what went down:

  • Friday: two of the restaurant’s three owners post a pro-Trump, anti- “liberal” causes (Obamacare, the media, global warming, etc.) manifesto on Facebook, encouraging supporters to “like” the post and tell their friends, and detractors to tell their friends and not patronize the business. They end by vowing not to broadcast any more NFL games in their restaurant.
  • The post prompts tons of shares and comments ― and sparks an immediate, intense backlash, including calls for a boycott. The owners take the post down three hours later.
  • Saturday morning: the restaurant’s third owner ― taken completely by surprise by the original post ― resigns, and begins the process of legally untangling himself from the enterprise. The business removes its Facebook page entirely.
  • Saturday afternoon: the restaurant opens for business two hours late, but receives an unending series of threatening and harassing phone calls. Employees quit.
  • Sunday: More harassing phone calls. More employees quit.
  • Monday: the restaurant closes its doors for good.

That, my friends, is the power of social media marketing! (Just in case you’ve ever asked yourself: “does social media marketing really work?”)

Yikes! There are lots of powerful lessons here, but here are the two biggies (and one bonus lesson) that I want to highlight:

  1. People are much more likely to voice their displeasure when they’re upset than voice their approval when they’re pleased. As a business owner, you know this already ― you’re going to get five complaints for every one unsolicited comment of praise. It’s just human nature.
  2. Generally speaking, it’s a good idea to make your business appealing to a specific target audience, rather than to everyone. That’s a lesson I learned years ago from Dan Kennedy. A more important lesson I learned from Dan Kennedy years ago, though, is message to market match. That means your message has to fit your market, or it won’t work. In this case, these guys’ restaurant is located 100 yards from the University of Arizona, in a neighborhood that is absolutely brimming with the kind of folks whose beliefs these guys find objectionable.

Many business owners will take exactly the wrong lesson from this: that you shouldn’t bring your personality or beliefs into your marketing. Don’t make that same mistake: these guys were just foolish.

And now, we finish (on a bit of a woo-woo note) with the bonus lesson: the universe gives you exactly what you ask for. Here’s how the two owners of Cup It Up finished their original post:

“If you like this post, please share it with 5 friends and we look forward to your next visit!

If you disagree with this post, please share it with 100 friends and we won’t be expecting you any time soon!”

… and the universe gave them exactly what they asked for.

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