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Dos and Don’ts to Make Social Media Work for Your Business

Author: Evans
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Social media can boost your business. Or, it can ruin it. Either way, it’s a powerful tool in today’s fast paced world. And no business can ignore its importance. You cannot miss to be out there. After all, that is where your customers are.

Before you enter the realm of social media, make sure you know the dos and don’ts of it.

Do have a plan. Social media moves at a supersonic speed. If you aren’t ready when you enter this world, you won’t stand a chance. You need to identify which platforms to use and how to use them to maximize your advantage.

Don’t ignore the technical aspect. Facebook, Twitter, MySpace – each works in its own way. Without technical knowhow, you risk the success of your entire campaign. Or, even worse, you build barriers on your profiles that prevent users from accessing them.

Do focus on management. An intern tweeted about ‘Dogfish Head’s Midas Touch beer’. They thought they were logged in to their personal account but was in reality logged in to the Red Cross official account. A serious lack of management!

Don’t spam. Online marketing isn’t about filling up your Facebook page with product descriptions. It’s already there on your website. Again, a business that fills up their customers’ profiles with spam isn’t going to be a social media success.

Do get your grammar and spellings right. It isn’t always necessary to pay attention to these on your personal profile, unless people have such expectations from you. But for a business, it is especially important to project its integrity.

Don’t take advantage of others’ misery. When a riot in Cairo made things bad, Kenneth Cole hijacked the #Cairo to promote a new line of clothes on Twitter. And things went from bad to worse for him in minutes.

Do understand its indestructible nature. Anything that gets on a social media platform remains there forever. And if it’s bad, people seldom forget it. Something Anthony Weiner never realized until his photos destroyed his career in politics.

Don’t be negative. People make friends, chat, share opinions and thoughts on social media. You need to participate in the conversations. And you need to be prepared for the good and bad things about your business. But you cannot say anything negative at all.

Do maintain a consistent image. A children’s book store cannot post any adult content on its social media profile, even if kids don’t have access to it. There aren’t any rules about this. But it isn’t consistent with the image of the business.

Don’t involve in debatable topics. Being politically incorrect on your Facebook page isn’t really a great idea. So is getting involved in a religious or a racist dispute. Steer clear of topics that tarnish the image of your business.

Do get your timing right. When the natural disaster Sandy devastated many, Gap used the associated hash tag to promote shopping on Twitter. They didn’t really come across as too sensitive.

Don’t be dumb. A misstep like Kenneth Cole’s or Anthony Weiner’s can ruin your reputation and destroy your business or career. Make sure you use your intelligence when you design your social media campaigns.

Don’t think of it as a monologue. Social media isn’t about you. It’s about your customers. You may have many things to say. But people rely more on people like themselves. Don’t make it about you, make it about them. And you would succeed.

Do keep track of current affairs. Celeb Boutique used the ‘#Aurora’ to promote its new offerings. Unfortunately, it was related to a shooting incident that resulted in deaths in Colorado. Make sure you know what you are doing before actually doing it.

Don’t exhibit bad taste. Nestle confronted criticism when it partnered with a palm oil company that was destroying Indonesian rainforests. And the Facebook page administrator retaliated. An example of how bad judgment can lead to more criticism.

Do have a sense of humor. American Red Cross issued an apology for the mention of ‘beer’ on one of its tweets. And that too in a humorous manner! What could’ve gone seriously wrong became a matter of joke because of their sense of humor.

Don’t be too casual. You can be casual with what you say. But it’s a risk if you are at a position that can be affected by whatever you say. Just as a Ketchum VP found when he tweeted something negative about Memphis, the hub of its biggest client FedEx.

Do apologize for a mistake. Even if it’s the fault of an employee, take responsibility. And take action. Just as Red Cross did. And Nestle didn’t. The apology worked wonders while the snide remarks had a seriously negative effect.

Plan out every step and think about it to make social media an advantageous tool.

The best thing to do is to handle the social media campaign on your own. However, with the numerous things you have to handle, this may not seem easy. In such a circumstance, let someone with ample knowledge manage the social media campaign.

Evans is a blogger and social media analyst. He is currently associated with, a leading supplier of Aluminium Ladders. Click here to visit the product page.

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  • Social media can boost your business or, it can ruin it.
  • Identify which platforms you will use to expand your business and maximize the usage of them to your advantage.
  • Don't spam. Share articles. Make connections. Network and communicate naturally.
  • Make sure anything you publish to your Social Media accounts is professional and related to your business.
  • Ensure that your grammar and spelling is professional.
  • Social Media is not about you. It's about your customers.