When using social media platforms for business applications, there are many things that are often not understood about the the various uses, plus points and drawbacks for the different platforms. Not understanding these fully can get an entrepreneur into trouble regarding the effectiveness of what he or she is trying to accomplish via social media channels. First and foremost, one must keep in mind that Social Media is a platform where the lines of the personal and the professional are blurred. This fundamental aspect of the platform itself makes professionalism a MUST on a business owner’s personal personal profile as well — you need to mind your manners if you want to properly market your business. And on the flip side: Most employers will look online as part of the standard vetting process before they decide to bring you in for a job interview; keep that in mind when posting. Questionable statements and imagery should be kept off the online space if you intend to get hired.
The following are some of our “professional pet peeves” regarding things that business people should not be on doing on social media. If you hit on one that you’re doing, don’t despair but figure out what you can do to repair the situation and start really getting “social”; often times the following practices have an antisocial or negative aspect to them which will turn away reach, contact and engagement on social channels for your business.
1. Posting about politics:
You are not CNN; most people can’t seem to understand that fact. On social media, your statements will not turn a donkey into an elephant and vice versa; you will most likely not swing the next election (or were not able to swing this one, as the case my be.) Social media for your business should be about connecting to others and creating a good impression of yourself/your business via relevant conversation and valuable content. It should be about gaining new insight by listening to your audience’s responses and engaging them in meaningful dialogue. On Facebook, there is a button marked “Unfollow,” it means you’re still connected to the individual but all of your future status updates will be not show up for them. If you annoy to the degree that they click this, just like spam, you’ve been filtered out of their life “social” life, and that’s one less person—and perhaps a network of people— that you can no longer engage and influence.
2. Link dropping:
Groups are a great way to meet people of similar interests, especially on LinkedIn and Facebook. But in posting to groups, it’s never a good idea to just go in cold and paste the link to latest thing that you’ve written, i.e. link dropping. It’s a good first action to introduce yourself to the group admin and ask them what things are most valuable to the group and what things they do not like. You’d be surprised how much more liberty they will give you to post in the group just by taking this first step and finding out how you can actually contribute to the group. Because in fact, real contribution is what will make you valuable to the group, and this is the status you want, to be able to become an influencer.
3. Obsessive tagging:
You log into Facebook and see “John Smith has tagged you and 96 other people.” If you’re John Smith, you just found a really great way to upset 97 people all at the same time. In fact, constantly tagging many people in a social media post, either without their permission or without relevance to them, may not just annoy people but may also get your account blocked. The moral of the story is if you tag, make sure it’s relevant and don’t tag large volumes of people in the same post — you’ll do more harm than good.
4. Repeatedly selling your products:
If you have a business, especially a new one, it behooves you not to try to drum up sales posting on your personal profile. It’s just not what social media is intended for and it tends to alienate people from viewing your content. Social media is about creating social movements, not direct sales. If you can get creative and think of a way to turn your product or business into a movement then using social channels will be valuable and ultimately the the sales will flow in.
Have a bad day? If so, then no one wants to hear about it. People deal with enough negativity in their everyday life, be it from family issues, their job, or from the news we are inundated with everyday. On social media, unlike in their everyday life, they can actually get rid of you, be it from deleting your friendship or “unfollowing” your updates. Keeping your comments and posts positive will get much more return on the time you spend working social media channels for your business as well as for personal relations.
Just like when growing up what you did reflected on your parents, what you do and say online reflects on your business. Keep that in mind when operating in the online space and really start marketing your business for success. Social media can be a great tool for business growth when understood and used correctly, but when abused, it can also be the deathblow. Mind your manners online, and help your business become the next big social movement!
Can you think of more of these which didn’t make our cut?
Post a comment and let us know!