4 Often-Overlooked Social Media Guidelines

Todays media landscape stresses the importance of companies, small companies especially, being where their customers are. With billions of Internet users spending more and more time online each day, the Internet is the place to be.

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Using social media tools allows companies to participate in a two-way conversation with current and potential clients. This you already knew. Social media also provides businesses with a channel to interact with industry leaders and contribute to industry-related dialogue, dialogue that is taking place whether or not said businesses are involved.

Interacting personally on public sites and engaging in this dialogue is a great way to put a face to your company and increase awareness simultaneously. As biased as I am, blogs are especially effective, as they allow for link-posting and attract a very specific and oftentimes niche audience.

As with all things fun and interesting, there are rules to be followed.

Interaction Tips and Guidelines:

Whether you already participate online, or are planning to start, you will represent your company. Insipidly enough, you must comply with rules of engagement. The following guidelines will explain the expectations of readers and will assist you in interacting effectively.

  • Be yourself and be transparent. Social media users are not patient when it comes to content, and are highly aware of honesty and dishonesty. While you represent your company, your communications should avoid direct promotion. Point out who you work for and explain your role, but be (or at least appear to be) personally interested in your online relationships.
  • Be judicious and practical. Once content is online, it is there forever. Even LinkedIn is only somewhat private. Avoid mentioning coworkers without permission and avoid discussing proprietary or privileged information. While all companies keep their secrets in-house, being perceived as a classified or secretive is never good.
  • Only speak the truth if it can be proven. Do not make unsubstantiated claims. Rather, direct all inquiries about product performance or pricing to relevant and qualified coworkers. Your goal should be to saturate social networks with information that is proven. In general, it is best to avoid using language that implies faultlessness.
  • Be polite and timely. While they are referred to as relationships, online communication does not follow the same rules as those relationships you brag about on your Facebook profiles. Oftentimes, a single rude or derogatory comment will create a negative perception of you that is difficult if not impossible to then alter. Not every issue will be comprehensively agreed upon. Stay respectful, and point out mistakes with logical and clear evidence. Furthermore, timeliness is important. Social media allows for real time communication and, again, people are not patient. If you are asked a question, or you offer a response, reply as soon as possible.

Professional world meets social media world

For the most part, social media follows the same interpersonal standards and norms as the workplace. Courtesy, transparency, and timeliness are all key factors in being perceived as a professional and quality source of information. Without credibility, your goals won't be met.

Remember, if you are unsure if your post adds value to the conversation or if your post violates one of these guidelines, ask someone. While the main goal is to collaborate with potential leads, the first step to an effective social media campaign is to have everyone involved on the same page.

In conclusion?

Having had a front-row seat to a few different social media campaigns in my day, I can tell you one thing for certain: It isn't easy. Creating content for social media networks is largely a conceptual practice, and teaching concepts can be quite difficult.

The best thing you can do is make sure your team is on board and on top of things. Make the rules and enforce the rules.

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Posted in Business Service Post Date 01/04/2016


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