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Right Business, Wrong Social Media Culture


Want to sell a hamburger in India? Go ahead, McDonald’s did. But Mickey D’s menu in India doesn’t have any beef. That’s right, the famous Mac in India is the Chicken Maharaja Mac.

There’s no beef because the traditional McDonald’s menu doesn’t work in India where for so many the cow is sacred, according to their culture. McDonald’s had to do something different to launch its brand in India. The same is true for businesses entering the new cultures of social media. Businesses need to show respect for each platform.

Related: Why Being Human on Social Media Is the Best Strategy You’ll Ever Have

Adapt to Facebook’s norms.

Businesses often make cultural gaffes on Facebook. Rather than appreciating Mr. Zuckerberg’s domain as one with a culture that holds personal relationships as sacred, businesses are quick to use traditional marketing methods such as billboard-style advertising, paid or unpaid and post messages like “Sale happening today!” or “Check out our new merchandise!”

But remember, Facebook’s culture is based on personal relationships. Nothing says, “I have a desire to be unfriended” like posting a billboard about a business in the middle of a user’s posts from real friends. It’s like going to the bar with some buddies and having one interrupt, “Buy from me!” That kind of cultural faux pas on Facebook will get you unfriended fast.

Instead, stay relational on Facebook. When your business posts a message, make it warm and relatable. Have at least one real person like the CEO or a vice president post on the company’s behalf. Recent research indicates people are more willing to make a business referral if they know the owner on somewhat of a personal level.

So get out there and post personable updates on Facebook. Don’t be shy about friending potential business leads on Facebook, not because you want to sell to them but because you hope to develop a real relationship. And relationships developed on social media can lead to referrals, just like those enhanced on the putting green.


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