4 Damaging Ways Businesses Promote Themselves

Business, no matter what industry you’re in, is a competitive environment. With social media and the expansion of marketing content’s reach, it can be exceptionally challenging to get noticed. Every move your business makes matters and you have to make them count. 

However, some businesses have tendencies to resort to desperate actions just to make their brand look good. But the truth is, poor tactics will always do more harm than good in the long run. There are tactics to avoid so as not to damage your business when you think you’re actually helping it.

Fake Reviews

Many businesses and even review sites, post fake positive reviews, or sometimes, negative reviews of a competitor. Such reviews without basis can be easy to fake as websites often only need a first name (or sometimes let people stay anonymous) to publish a comment or a review. But publishing fake or misleading reviews is considered illegal. It breaks the consumer laws and may be subject to court action. 

Reviews do matter and many people turn to them for guidance, but it is not worth the potential damage that fake reviews can do. People can begin calling out the fake reviews which will then do more damage to your business leaving you worse off than if you hadn’t created the fake posts to begin with. 

Fake reviews make consumers skeptical when it comes to brand reviews and recommendations online. According to Pew Research Center, about 48 percent of consumers do not easily trust reviews. Getting feedback, especially positive ones, from real customers will be hard. But there are ways to get honest and authentic reviews for your business, like encouraging people to leave feedback upon purchase or giving an incentive whenever they review your product.  

Social Media Posts in Poor Taste

Social media is a wonderful place for businesses to express their brand identity and engage with customers. It can give businesses direct access to customers, allowing them to easily engage and communicate. Social media posts require regular posting schedules in order to reach the target audience effectively. But this does not mean that you should just schedule any post for the sake of posting or just be on-trend. 

It is a sensitive discussion whether businesses should be political or take stances on social issues. There are issues that are worth taking a stand for, like the oppression of minorities or climate change. If your business promotes specific ideals, beliefs and lifestyles, it is important to convey your message and vision in a positive light, without offending other social groups or organisations. Post responsibly and avoid petty, shallow, or personal ideas or beliefs to become a voice and brand for your business.

Social media content must be well-planned and strategic. This goes for businesses as well as business owners who have their reputation tied to that of their business and vice versa. If you posted anything in the past that you regret, you can keep your personal social media profile separate from business accounts or remove your name from Google searches for complete privacy. 

Try to post relevant, informative, accurate and timely matters in line with your brand. In general, foster a safe social media environment and a culture of respect for customers. This is guaranteed to work best for any business.

Off Brand Marketing

There are many ways to market a business, such as social media campaigns, advertisements, and brand partnerships. However, it is a waste of time and money if those marketing efforts don’t match your business and its demographic.

Thinking outside the box and touching new audiences is great in marketing, but there’s a line you don’t want to cross. That line is where you start to lose your core audience. Focusing on trends and trying to adapt to relevant topics online can help boost your visibility and establish your presence. 

But trying too hard has a risk of putting your campaigns off-brand. Drifting away from the brand you established and not supporting your existing campaigns will likely cause those campaigns to fail. Desperately trying new ideas over and over will also throw you off your track. This will reduce your chance of being recognizable and remembered by customers. 

The key to engaging and retaining customers is authenticity. Building a strong branding is a process that involves tedious effort, planning, strategising, execution and maintenance. Be dedicated to your brand and people will surely remember your business as you wish them to.

Bad Promotions or Special Offers

Offering discounts or free giveaways are great for business. This can improve promotions and encourage people to take action, whether to purchase more, leave a comment or review, or join the mailing list. But sometimes, businesses go overboard, leading to catastrophic results. 

If you are thinking of offering incentives to customers, be sure your business can accommodate these offerings and won’t be strained in order to make them happen. Many businesses get too generous and can sometimes go bankrupt because they offer too good of a deal.  Over-promising will surely attract people, but not being able to deliver to your word will affect your credibility and reputation. Special offers with too many terms and conditions in the fine print can also lead people to no longer engage with your promotions.

To launch a successful ‘surprise and delight’ marketing campaign, make it a win-win situation for your business and your customers. For example, only reward referrals that have successful purchases, offer exclusive discounts to people subscribed to your mailing list, or offer rewards that are valuable but not necessarily monetary, like webinars. In promoting or giving exclusive offers, don’t forget the element of surprise. It’s better to under promise and overdeliver than the other way around. 

You are Your Greatest Competitor

The business industry is a dynamic and evolving landscape challenging companies to always innovate and compete for customers. But don’t let this pressure overwhelm you. Your business will always be its greatest competitor, so choose and plan your growth and promotional strategies in a way that will strengthen and improve your brand while leaving a positive impact on your customers, every time.

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