Social Media and Business: Friend or Foe?

Between Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest, social media has expanded exponentially in the last five years alone. While it has provided people with ways to keep in touch with old friends, businesses should be taking full advantage.

social-media-cubeBusiness are able to target their audiences and expand their brand with the right internet marketing. Like personal social media accounts, some business make horrible snafus that leave them cleaning up a public relations mess.

Keep in mind that social media is not as easy as many people would lead on. Treating social media like it’s your own personal account may lead to serious problems. Trusting someone else to do it for you might be helpful as well. Just make sure that your social media manager knows what they are doing whether it is a person or an entity.

Many celebrities and businesses use specific people or companies to handle their personal and business social media accounts. Sometimes, they wind up with egg on their face and have to hire a PR team just to clean up the mess that one tweet left.

If you are planning on launching a social media campaign to boost your online presence, consider a few guidelines to implement and mistakes to avoid to help you along the way.

1. Social Media Voice/Intent

This first tip does not solely apply to social media, but it is an important one to remember. Social media, like any good business strategy, will only work if you know your voice. Moreover, you must use that voice in the right way. Your business’ Twitter and Instagram should only include posts that are relevant to your business.

voiceLook at Taco Bell’s Twitter for a good example. How do you make a series of tweets about tacos? You tie it into other current events. Just make sure that your social media account manager knows what they are talking about. The DiGiorno pizza company made the mistake of using the hashtag “#WhyILeft”. They ended up having to issue an apology, but the stain was left.

Moral of the story – keep your voice in mind when trying to make culturally relevant posts. Just make sure to research into a hashtag or social cause before it blows up in your face.
In the same vein, keep your personal and business accounts separate. Combining the two may not be a great idea. It shows to your potential customers or viewers that your business lacks true legitimacy.

2. Invest in Social Media & Your Core Audience

selection-for-investmentHaving every possible social media account in the world will do very little to enhance your business model if there is no purpose to it. For instance, a new consulting business with a Pinterest account may not help. In fact, it could leave people scratching their heads and choosing another company. That is why it is important to have a solid social media plan before signing up for accounts.

Believe it or not, people on the Internet are smarter than you think. They can see right through any desperate or blind attempt to create accounts. Plus, it can be hard to manage all the different platforms.

To remedy this potential snafu, look to your industry. Mirror which platforms they use. If the results are inconclusive, stick to the three rule. Pick three relevant platforms and devote time to them.

3. Don’t Misuse Social Media

You know that handy tool that allows users to link their Facebook to their Instagram or Twitter? Do not use it. It may be nice for your personal accounts, but stay away from it for your business accounts. Again, your customers are savvier than you think. If they see the same post on multiple platforms, they may get bored or even think that your business is a little lazy.

Even if there is great content that you want to put on multiple platforms, make it different for each platform. It gets your great content out to everyone on your various social media accounts, without anyone accusing your business of being lazy.

variations4. Vary Content

Whether it is scientifically proven or not, people tend to have short attention spans these days. Add a flood of information at their fingertips and they are quickly onto the next trend. Like it or not, people will get bored if you continually produce the same content. It’s no different than a physical retailer changing up their shelves for every season or holiday.

Your audience does not want the same posts all the time. Sometimes, a link with a caption will do it. Other times, they want a great picture or a title that is click-worthy. Variety goes a long way. To boost their clicks and popularity, some social media managers will use click-bait titles that have little or nothing to do with the content. Be careful. There is a fine line between catchy titles and click bait. Click bait may get you attention, but viewers tend to mistrust those kinds of titles which brings us to the next point.

5. Links Must Be Treated Carefully

cautionBe careful with linking. Don’t just slap a link haphazardly in a caption. To your followers, it could look like spam or that your account was hacked. People know not to click on those single links. If there was good content on the other side of the link, your followers would never know. Consistently posting single links will eventually turn your followers off to the point that they disregard your account altogether.

It never hurts to add your own two cents into the mix. It will add to your company’s voice. Plus, your social media accounts get added legitimacy. Your followers are following you for a reason. They want to know what you think. It connects your company to your loyal followers and customers.

6. Social Media Accounts Rank

Keep in mind that social media accounts matter for the SERPs. Try Googling your favorite small business or corporation. Chances are that their social media accounts will pop up first on the SERPs. Google may not take social media presence into account when adjusting the SERPs, but they understand people.
social-signalsGoogle and other search engines know that people often go looking at social media accounts first when sizing up a company. Building up your online presence can help build up your fan base. It feels more personal and relatable for people who regularly use social media.

7. People Use Platforms to Search

Don’t forget how people use social media. Searches are not just for Bing or Google. People run searches through their social media accounts every day whether through their mobile apps or laptops.

This happens quite fluidly. Your followers are on their Facebook or Twitter apps on their phone. They are in the mood for off-beat, handmade jewelry. They run a search on Facebook and come across your page. They see that you have an active presence. They like your page and suddenly become a customer.

In total, social media can be a great way to enhance a company’s online presence. It can also be a misleading trap if you are not careful in your execution of your platforms. Take into account these suggestions we have made and see the results for yourself.

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