5 Potential Negative Effects of Your Social Media Obsession

Blogs. Twitter profiles. Facebook fan pages. These are just a few of the sources of our growing social media obsession. Every day, more and more businesses are jumping on the social media bandwagon with high hopes of engaging consumers and getting more sales.

And while I’m certainly a proponent of socializing your brand, there is a dark side to this obsession, and it can have some nasty effects.

1. Turning customers off with your personal beliefs – In an attempt to show customers your human side, you run the risk of alienating or offending them with your opinions and beliefs. This is especially true if you decide to discuss politics or religion. A simple Tweet talking about your support for a certain candidate or a policy can upset some of your customers and cause them to boycott your business. That’s why I recommend staying away from sensitive issues whenever possible.

2. Overlooking the importance of print – Sure, the number of people who get their information from blogs and social networks is constantly increasing. However, that doesn’t mean you should write off the print media altogether. Coverage in a major newspaper or magazine can still provide some great results for your company, so be careful not to get overly obsessed with the novelty of social media.

3. Decreasing your productivity – One of the biggest dangers of social media is that it can quickly transform from a powerful marketing tool into a huge time waster. You need to make sure you outline social media goals and a plan for how you’re going to reach them. Once you have a plan in place, make sure all of your social media activities are in line with this plan so you don’t end up wasting hours doing nothing.

4. Worsening your customer service – Ideally, social media can improve your customer service. JetBlue, H&R Block, and Comcast are just a few examples of companies who’ve been successful using Twitter for light customer service tasks. However, if your business plans to do the same, you need to be careful. Make sure your employees are well-trained on how to provide customer service through Twitter, and be sure they understand how to not cross the line of being too informal (a huge danger with social media).

5. Burning yourself out too early – If I’ve seen it once, I’ve seen it a thousand times. A key decision maker at a company hears about this “hot social media thing”, and decides his company needs to start blogging and Tweeting. They blindly jump in with no plan, and blog and Tweet furiously for a few weeks. Of course, they don’t get any results because: 1) They don’t have a plan and 2) they don’t really know much about social media marketing. As a result, they get burnt out, proclaiming social media to be an overhyped waste of time. The reality is they never gave themselves a chance for it to work.

What are some of adverse side effects of this current obsession with social media? Share your thoughts in the replies.

This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (, the online leader in affordable press release distribution. To subscribe to PR Fuel, visit:

3 Responses

  1. I love your list. It’s simple and clear. If I had to add anything to it, it would be that: with all the social media frenzy and the many people on it, you might start to lose sight of your targeted audience and probably end up wasting time and effort on people who don’t bring any value to your business.
    So you should have a plan of your targeted audience according to the objective behind having a blog or a Twitter account. You don’t really get control over who follows you, or who reads your blog, but you hope that your tweets or posts attract the targeted audience. However, you can’t really wait for the right audience to find you, you need to have a clear plan of how to go out there and get them to notice you, your blog, and your tweets.

  2. Good list, Mickie! You’ve succinctly captured some of the vague impressions people have about social media.

    I would add this to the list: Not being prepared for the different culture that social media represent. That is, the culture of social media is based on transparency, immediacy, and a blurring of lines between personal and professional. Your company might need to make some internal culture adjustments in order to “play well with others” in the social media world.

  3. […] 10 January 2011 Social media: Converse, don’t coerce! Posted by The Graduate under leadership development Leave a Comment  The majority of us, particularly the younger generations, have felt the ‘pull’ of social media. In our personal and professional lives, the positive implications of developing a ‘personal brand’ are evident – as are, many would argue, the negative. […]

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