The informal nature of Social Media can confound even a savvy business marketer,because “Just be yourself” and “Be professional” don’t always coincide as seamlessly as we would like to believe. A few small readjustments the overall understanding of how Social Media fits into your business can help provide some relief to this confusion.
- Stay true to your branding – If you have a brand image offline, that brand image needs to be the same online. People tend to think that Social Media gives them a reason to play with logo variations, change company colors, or just completely divert from their brand message and try something new. More often than not, these things just confuse your patrons and weaken your brand. It’s ok to be a little less formal and add some personality, but don’t let it stray from your business’ brand message.
- Transparency does not mean “TMI” – Transparency has been a buzz term for the past few years with many online marketing gurus touting the need for your business to be “Transparent” online. This has risen in popularity as many social consciousness movements have begun to malign businesses and greedy, soulless entities bent on getting rich while their employees slave for low wages. So business owners have tried to be more human, real, and transparent. This can be a slippery slope however. The goal is to let people know that your business values its employees and tries to contribute to the good of the community. It is not an excuse to complain about profits being down or how hard government regulations are making it for you to cash flow. Be human, but don’t be whiny.
- Tread lightly with humor – Humor is a great medium to use on Social Media, the only problem is that humor is subjective. What you find funny may be construed as corny, silly, or even worse, offensive by your followers. It is never a good idea to be political or religious with your humor. It’s fine to poke good natured fun at yourself and to let people know a bit of your personality, i.e. you’re part of nerd culture, you love golf, you are a booster for your favorite college team, etc… but don’t trash talk or make fun of anyone or anything in the process. A good rule is, if you wouldn’t share it at a business networking event, don’t share it online.
There is no doubt that Social Media Marketing is necessary in business these days, so take the time to do it well. Plan your posts for the week or even month. Strategize with your messaging just as you would in any other form of marketing to ensure that you are maximizing the time and resources that you are putting into this valuable online resource.
Social Media Adviser for the Business Innovation Center