From Twitter to Facebook and SnapChat to Instagram, social media offers powerful opportunities for extending the reach of your company’s brand. Posting engaging content, providing expert comments on industry issues and interacting directly with target audiences, will all help your business attract new customers and retain existing clients.
Although social media is by its very nature more personal and informal than other forms of communication, you should still apply the same professional standards to social media content as you would to any other form of business communication.
Large corporations typically employ social media specialists to manage their online presence, but few small and medium-sized enterprises can afford dedicated staff and this lack of resource can lead to mistakes.
Keep your company’s social media profile professional by avoiding these common mistakes:
Silly Spelling Errors
Always use proper spelling, grammar and punctuation. This should be possible even on social media platforms with a strict character count limit, such as Twitter, if you plan the tweet before posting. Proofread each post carefully before pressing the send button as spelling errors can make your company look stupid.
Childish ‘Text Speak’
Most people use abbreviated “text speak” – LOL, IMHO, OMG and so on — in personal direct messages and emails but avoid them in business social media communications because they can give your business a lightweight and juvenile appearance.
Don’t overuse the emoji; not everyone is familiar with the full range of emoticons so using too many of them can make your post indecipherable to many readers. The smiley face or thumbs-up emoticons are generally acceptable in business social media posts if used sparingly.
Relying solely on text-based posts and updates will make your social media feeds look dull and unappetizing. Use high-quality, relevant and original images or infographics to add visual interest and impact to your posts.
Social media is about two-way interaction, so get involved and always reply or acknowledge when customers respond to your updates. Generate discussion by posting interesting news and views, share industry stories and provide insight on industry topics.
Getting Too Personal
Never express your own personal opinions and don’t get dragged into online arguments; always remember that you’re representing your business and that comments can be copied, shared and reposted, even after you have deleted them.
Jokes and memes can look unprofessional in business social media feeds. Always bear in mind that everyone’s sense of humour is different and what is funny to some people might prove offensive to others. Play it safe and avoid jokes or memes that may offend.
Apps and online software that automatically posts updates to multiple social media platforms simultaneously might save time but they can make your updates look lazy and robotic. Spend time tailoring updates for each of the main social media channels; what works well on your company’s Facebook Page might not have the same impact on Twitter or Instagram so tweak the content for each post.
Planning is the key to all effective communications so invest the same time in your social media campaigns as you would for other marketing communication activities. Proper planning will help prevent the mistakes that can damage your company’s reputation online.
Justin Soenke is a trend-based serial entrepreneur and thought leader in the areas of cyber-security, web design, SEO, social media, eCommerce and managed IT. Justin has overseen the creation and success of over a dozen companies in the technology, security and media sectors, and is the contributing source for his SB Design Blog, SB Tech Blog and SB SEO Blog among regular contributions to many outside blogs and websites, all for our clients.
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