Stop That! You’re Doing it Wrong…

Anyone who knows me is aware I’m pretty chilled out. I can count the people I’ve ever encountered in my life who have the ability to push my buttons on one hand – but in the business world there are some things that really rile me.

Often such activity and behaviour is carried out with the best of intentions, but if you recognise any of this, think twice before using these strategies to market your business.

7 marketing no nos
7 marketing no nos

Here are my top 7 marketing no-no’s and how to break the cycle by not indulging them:

1) Auto DMs

On Twitter, don’t respond to a follower with a direct message containing a sales pitch or directions to another social media platform.

There’s a fine line between automating your social media for efficiency and letting the robots take over (Tweet This).

Perhaps I’m being obstinate, but it’s a big social faux pas to DM me to like your Facebook or buy your product when I’ve connected with you on Twitter. Do that, I’m unfollowing


Thank them personally, thank them with a retweet and cultivate a relationship.

Social Media is a communication channel, not a sales tool (Tweet this)

2) Comment Spam

When I launched this new website, I got all excited when I had my first comment on a blog post. I took the time to thank the commenter then looked for them online to compliment, follow etc. only to discover that it was spam. Since then I’ve had several spam comments. Filtering spam is irritating and time consuming and it flies in the face of ethical interaction. If someone tries to sell you a product that claims to share your content by commenting on other websites; run a mile.


Don’t be sucked in by miracle fixes, magic bullets or get rich quick schemes. If it seems to good to be true, that’s because it is.

Spammers are the effluent of online society. It stinks and it ruins it for the rest of us (Tweet this)

3) Buying Followers

If you need to buy followers for your Twitter/Facebook page you’re doing it wrong. Social media is not about quantity it’s about quality. It’s far more effective to have a handful of engaged followers than thousands of duff ones.

For some tips on how to make the best of Twitter here’s 21 of them from an earlier blog post.

21 Twitter Tips - blog post
21 Twitter Tips – blog post


Use social media to maintain connections with people you’ve met in the real world. If you follow stuff you are genuinely interested in your feed will send you far more rewarding and interesting content and the right people will find you. If someone tries to sell you followers don’t do it.

4) Really Looooonnnng Videos

Picture this: you click on a link to a video that entices you in with a promising headline – ten minutes later; you’ve patiently listened to how that person’s life went from crap to awesome and they’ve still not told you how. It’s like a really long rambling joke with an unfunny punchline. It’s tedious.


Keep your videos short and informative. Don’t try to cram in too much, give the viewer a flavour of what you need to say then a ‘call to action’ – that’s marketing speak for a way for people to follow up if they want to.

5) The Oversell

Being passionate about the benefits of your product or service is great but don’t overdo it. Get your message across but don’t force it on people. There’s nothing worse than a pushy sales person who doesn’t listen to the customer or who ignores the signals that they’re not interested. No means no.


Einstein said; ‘if you can’t explain it to a 6 year old you don’t understand it.’ If you can’t sum up the benefits of what you do quickly and concisely, keep working on your pitch.

Be brief, informative, friendly but most of all, listen.(Tweet this)

There’s an Arab proverb; ‘ we have 2 ears and 1 mouth’

6) The Guilt Trip

Get me emotionally invested in something, sure, but don’t give me a sob story and make out that I’m an evil person for not doing what you want me to do. It really sucks.

I notice this a lot on Facebook in particular.

Posts like; ‘If you don’t share this with 50 people it’s because you kick kittens’ or ‘If you don’t repost this you are wishing death on every victim of cancer’.


Just don’t, OK.

If you see these posts, don’t repost or share them. Don’t be part of the problem by smearing judgmental nonsense all over the internet. Be part of the solution and ignore it.

7) Attempts to Compel Repeat Business

Here’s an example of this: A friend went to a well know Italian food chain in the UK. I’m naming no names as this organisation may have changed their policy.

My friend had a problem with their meal and complained. Rather than fixing the problem, the restaurant gave my friend a  £5 voucher to redeem at their next visit.

Frankly, If I’ve had a bad experience I’m not going back and I’ll be shouting from the rooftops about this cynical ploy to avoid the problem and shift responsibility.


A complaint is an opportunity for improvement. (Tweet this)

Don’t disrespect your customer by not taking them seriously or shifting responsibility. Deal with it there and then and learn from it. You’re business and reputation will be all the better for it.

Please add to my list by commenting:

What cynical marketing ploys annoy you?

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