Almost all businesses can benefit from an Internet presence, but if your online efforts aren’t properly managed, you could end up with a very uncomfortable audience. I’m all for stirring the pot when the moment is right, but if you aren’t careful, this discomfort will drive away business. Uncomfortable, awkward moments rarely lead to sales.
“Business schmisness!” you say? Alright then; here’s how to make your audience uncomfortable in 10 simple steps.
1. Get political.
The easiest and fastest way to drive away your online audience is to be extremely opinionated about a topic that doesn’t have anything to do with your company, but is extremely dividing. What better option than politics? So go ahead and tell us how stupid you think Democrats are! Or let us know that you think Republicans are morons! Encourage your audience to vote for your candidate of choice. After all, if they disagree, you don’t want their business anyway, right?
2. Get religious.
Politics aren’t your cup of tea? No problem! Just get religious. Nothing will make your audience uncomfortable faster than if you start challenging their belief system while they’re trying to buy your product.
3. Get defensive when you’re wrong.
If you don’t like politics or religion, don’t worry. There are still plenty of ways to make your audience uncomfortable. Your online outlets will have to deal with customer problems from time to time, for example. Instead of apologizing and addressing the issue, get really defensive. Start an argument with one of your customers, and remember: never back down.
4. Beg for money.
Your audience won’t be truly uncomfortable until you’re begging for money. Tell them about your financial problems. Plead for more sales. If you really want to take the discomfort to the next level, you can even consider adding a donate button to your website. It’s not enough for people to support you by buying your products. They should just give you money as well.
5. Start an argument with another brand.
Your competitors really suck. Who cares if your audience is uncomfortable; you should tell them in a very public way so everyone knows how much better your company is.
6. Ignore a problem.
So what if your customers have problems? So what if your product’s been recalled? So what if your entire audience is ranting about issues online? It’s not like your store is on fire or something. Just ignore the problems and they’ll probably go away.
7. Mix personal with professional.
It’s going to make everyone extremely uncomfortable when you post your pictures from vacation on your company Twitter account, especially since you spent most of your time at a nude beach. Make sure to boost the discomfort level by going into detail about how your kid is potty training, and take every opportunity to complain about life. There’s no need for separation between personal and professional when you don’t care about audience comfort.
8. Be R-Rated.
Some of your customers prefer mild language? Kids might use your website? Eff that. It’s your business. You should be as vulgar as you want. Bonus points if you’re vaguely inappropriate with one of your customers.
9. Opt for text-speak instead of using grammar.
You only have 140 characters on Twitter, so you better make every one of them count. No need to shorten your message and use proper grammar (or at least make it readable). Speak like a 14-year-old girl would text. They’ll figure it out.
10. Give out incorrect information.
If your audience isn’t already clicking away from your site or profiles online, start doling out incorrect information. There’s no need to fact check. Go ahead and contradict yourself. If anyone asks a question to clarify, just ignore it (see point #6). That way, you can not only make your audience uncomfortable, but you can also really tick them off.