Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Don’t Let Social Media Turn Your Business Anti-Social

For all the good that social media can do for your business, don’t be naive and think that it is free of land mines along the way.

Keep in mind that while many companies using social media to promote their brand and services have flourished, some have had a negative experience. Businesses need to sit down and weigh the pros and cons of social media campaigns before embarking into unchartered waters.

When considering whether or not to use social media in your branding efforts, consider a few items where problems can arise:

Who will direct the campaign?
When using social media at your business, will it be one person, a team or all employees promoting the company’s efforts? It is important to determine ahead of time who will direct the social media game plan so that everyone is using the same playbook and there is no miscommunication. Establish a company policy as it relates to social media so that there are no misunderstandings among management and employees as to how it will be used;

Protecting company data
When you roll out a social media campaign make sure not to place sensitive company data in danger. Confidential company and personal data should not be divulged, given how quickly it can spread across the Internet. According to Proofpoint Inc., in 2009, 17% of U.S. businesses had confidential information exposed on social media sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn;

Getting out the right message
When employing social media for your business, it is important not to use it to engage in confrontations with customers. Nothing looks more unprofessional than an online war with a customer or competitor. Quite simply, save that stuff for private;

Will your social media efforts be 24/7?
Given the 24/7 usage of the web, are you prepared to engage in social media non-stop? While you may not have the manpower or desire to monitor the web 24/7, be sure to review any messages tied to your company. If someone slips in a negative comment about your business at 3 a.m. on a Sunday, you’d be surprised how quickly that message can get around if not dealt with in a timely manner;

Fresh content
Nothing turns a viewer of your site off more than stale content. Given how often sites like Facebook and Twitter are updated daily, tweeting about your company’s efforts once or twice a month won’t cut it. It is imperative that you updated your social media campaigns regularly so you are shown to be up to date on things, while customers have a good rapport with you, knowing you’re providing them recent details;

Not providing customer feedback
If customers are tweeting you or sharing their thoughts with you on sites like Twitter and Facebook, are you responding back? It is important that businesses respond to customers, especially in today’s age where customers want responses to today’s messages yesterday.

As you can see, there are a number of areas where social media gaffes can end up hurting your business.

Social media has a lot to offer a company; make it your business to properly use it to your benefit.

Author: Dave Thomas

Dave Thomas writes extensively for an online resource that provides expert advice on purchasing and outsourcing decisions for small business owners and entrepreneurs at Resource Nation.


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