From years of PR research and supporting other entrepreneurs, I have experienced many bad websites and etiquette on social media. The worst is when they come from my own military community – the ones I’ve set out to help. If your website or online networking bothers me (and I’m almost immune at this point), imagine the frustration you are causing potential clients.
My personal pet peeves are the best way to lose my interest in your product, service, or blog…fast! And if it makes it hard for me to find your information, are you losing your target customers just as fast?
- Not listing an email address on your website.
I get it. The form is easier. It’s already a template on your site, it weeds out spam, and it looks pretty.
But as a PR professional trying to send out press releases or invite organizations to get involved in big campaigns, I don’t have time to individually email every form on a website and wait for a response (and trust me, neither does your local military public affairs office or corporate company) in order to bring you into the loop with the other participants who did provide emails.
So, if you have a form and no obvious email address on your website, I’m going to be lazy (What? I’ll admit it!) and delete you off my invite list. Don’t let your small business miss out on big opportunities because you were hard to get in touch with by email.
- Making it hard to find your social media links
Being a social media addict (obviously), when I go to a website and like what I see, I immediately follow their social media. But if I’m searching Timbuktu for your social media icons, you’ve probably lost me as not only a follower, but a customer too. Your customers may be searching for the same information and without it available, may choose to engage with another business option.
In this day in age, if you’re not present on social media and maintaining that platform, I’m going to view you as out-of-touch with your customers and therefore, find an alternative.
- Broken links
This is the worst. I go to your website, fall in love with your content and find your social media icons, only to realize that two out of the five listed are broken.
Check your links. It’s simple, easy, free, and professional.
- Not setting your links to open in a new window
If this button isn’t checked, I have been directed off the page I was on, but now what if I can’t figure out how to get back? Set your links to “open in a new window” so that my phone doesn’t bug out on me (shout-out to all of us with the oldies but goodies on technology) and kick me off the website. Make it easy so that I don’t have to track down your URL again and start the whole process over. If I get flustered over this, how is Generation X going to handle it? Think about your audience first!
5. Not providing a full link to social media platforms
This one drives me bonkers. If I offer to help someone online by checking out their social media page, or asking if they want to be included in an article, etc. and they comment with a @XYZ, I get annoyed. Now, I have to go physically open the social media platform, type in your @XYZ and search for you. Instead, drop your full link. Don’t make me or your future customer do all the work to find you!
6. Messaging or emailing without telling how we originally connected
I receive a lot Facebook messages and sometimes they are in response to things I posted the previous week. Please start with what post you are referring to, a refresher of the conversation we were having (if we exchanged comments), and then move forward with your request.
You know how awkward those conversations via text are when someone says “hey, do you want to go on a date tomorrow?” and you don’t know whose number that is? That’s what it’s like when you comment on a thread with 50,000 people in a Facebook group and reach out the next week with a “hey, so are you available to talk today?” Um….sure, but what are the 5Ws? Save the awkwardness for text messaging and introduce yourself first!
Harsh much? Probably. But in the age of competition, you need to be doing everything you can to make the simple things stay simple. You may not be able to control the giant sale your competitor has, but you can be sure that your Twitter link works!
Want my free guide to social media (and how to use it correctly as a military community business owner?), get access to it here!
P.S. If you caught any of my own pet peeves on my website (minus an external link from another site of course – can’t control others!), you have full permission to email me and get a discount on any of my services!
Jenny Hale is a marketing and social media consultant, coach, and teacher for military spouse and veteran business owners. Nicknamed “The Military Social Media Guru,” she uses her background working with military non-profits, corporate companies, the Army, and as an entrepreneur to help others struggling to meet their business dreams. With the goal of bridging the gap between the military community’s marketing efforts to civilians and vice versa, Jenny works to make an entrepreneur’s vision come to life. You can follow her on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.