Social media is considered to be one of the most important functions on the internet. Never in the internet’s short yet explosive history has there been anything as exciting, and as potentially useful when it comes to marketing and brand recognition, as social media.
However, as fast as social media can propel a business, it can also destroy it almost overnight.
Improper use of the social media machine can kill sales. Even worse, it can make your company the laughing stock of an entire planet and it can do so in a New York minute. There is no company big or small enough to be immune to the damage that you can do through carelessness or flippant use of the heaviest marketing tool around.
Even one instance of rude, obtuse, or tactless content can do months and even years of damage.
Social media is a powerful tool, and with power comes responsibility to both your business and to the public.
Here are some things to consider:
NEVER – EVER – MIX YOUR PERSONAL LIFE WITH YOUR BUSINESS
Personal interaction is a good thing. Your followers and customers like to feel as if they ‘know’ you. They like to interact on a personal lever – to a certain degree. But be careful, fans and followers are fickle. They can’t see your face, they can’t hear the tone of your voice, nor gauge your mood. So it’s best not to share too much of your personal life or opinions. Jokes, politics and too much personal information can cost you dearly in customers and followers. They just fade away, and you may never realize why.
So a good formula that many social media managers use for a company’s social media is a 70/30 rule. Devote 70% to social marketing that is exclusively focused on business. The other 30% can be personal interactions, perhaps a funny story of something that happened in your study, or a challenge you’ve conquered with a new design. Let them see into your studio and share your accomplishments, or maybe share a problem with your followers and get a lively discussion going as to how to solve the challenge.
Keep your post and online ‘attitude’ casual but also professional.
BEHAVE AND PLAY BY THE RULES
Know and follow the rules and guidelines for the site you’re using. They are different for each social site. A good plan is to print out a copy of the rules for each site and keep near you as you post or blog.
Don’t post on topics that are deemed inappropriate by the social site. First of all the rules are there for a reason, if the social site considers it inappropriate, your followers will most like consider it inappropriate as well. And secondly, it projects a bad image and can get you blocked or even banned from the site.
IT WILL NEVER GO AWAY
Your words last forever on the World Wide Web. A post could easily come back to haunt you. So again, choose your post, replies and comments carefully. If you stick to professional posts rather than personal information or opinions, you’ll save yourself a lot of headache and keep a professional image.
Even post that are inactive won’t truly disappear. They can reappear at any time, sometimes because a follower has caught you inadvertently contradicting yourself, or maybe you posted something in error or made an angry reply to a comment. If this happens, address the issue with grace and honesty.
WHO WANTS TO READ ALL YOUR DUMB ‘FLUFF’?
Everyone is busy and your readers will soon get tired of reading “air.’ It’s unprofessional and can destroy your image. Your readers are following because of a specific interest. Keep your post centered on the common interest.
If you’re bored, or commenting and chatting with friends, post on your personal site.
The same goes with posting silly thoughts. Don’t post every post that comes into your head. Just because you think it’s ‘cute’ doesn’t mean it is. Don’t take a chance of looking dumb to your followers.
AH, COME ON NOW, USE YOUR SPELL AND GRAMMER CHECK (forgive me, I couldn’t resist!)
Small spelling errors are not always a big deal and can be forgiven. But consist misspellings can make a bad impression, especially if you misspell words common in your industry. It would look extremely unprofessional to misspell ‘jewelry’ through your site. And your spell check will not make the distinction between ‘your’ and ‘you’re’, or ‘there’ and ‘their’. So take time to proof-read and use your spell check and grammar check.
DON’T OFFEND OR ANGER YOUR FOLLOWERS (Well, uh… duh…)
On social media, image is everything. It only takes one comment or reply posted in bad taste or anger to fuel the flames. Choose comment, posts and replies very carefully. Don’t let your attitude appear snarky or uncaring. Angering one follower can result in angering a group of followers. And you never get them back.
If a follower makes a comment your not happy with, it’s best to ignore it. If you respond to an angry or unreasonable post from a follower, do so with grace. Address the follower’s issue, (not their attitude), and offer a solution. That’s good customer service.
Never sling insults that could offend any of your followers. Complaining or insulting anyone on social media is never acceptable. When you’re a business owner, your followers will also scrutinize your personal accounts. Keep it friendly and professional.
SOCIAL MEDIA CAN BE GOOD FOR YOU!
When used correctly, social media is an undeniable force that allows companies to do many things that other marketing devices simply cannot do, such as customer support, public relations, new product development, and most importantly, customer relationship management.
Good or bad, social media marketing is an enterprise that is here to stay. Use it wisely, and your business will live long and prosper.