There is no escaping the fact that social media is here to stay, and that it is playing an ever more important role in how business is done. While social media can connect you to millions of people around the world, there is some etiquette that all businesses should follow while running around online. Observing just a few rules can make the difference on how your brand is perceived in virtual world.
The first part of social media is to understand the purpose of the outlet you are looking at. Let me explain with an example of how LinkedIn differs with something like Facebook. Both options are a way to connect will thousands of people, yet both are distinctly different in their purpose. LinkedIn is more for business use and connecting to associates you may want to know in the business world, where on the flip side of the coin, Facebook is more about being casual and having fun. You may post some entertaining work party photos on Facebook, but avoid this on LinkedIn. On LinkedIn you may join some professional groups and advertise your business expertise, but shy away from this on Facebook. This is merely a high overview, but determining the purpose of your chosen outlet will aid you in how you market yourself, and business, online.
Another major part of social media is how you add value to your followers, and this is true regardless of platform. The people and companies that succeed the most are those that enhance the experience of the people that follow them. This can be something as simple as connecting two people that may benefit from each other on LinkedIn. It may also be as complex has giving away products and services on a weekly basis through Twitter competitions. Think about what it is that you can provide your followers and capitalize on it without being pushy.
This brings me to the last point of not being pushy. The quickest way to lose followers and discredit yourself, and your company, is to be excessively self centered. Do not use social media to bombard your followers with your products and services on a constant basis. Don’t jump on Internet forums (yes, even Internet forums are social media) and harp on other users for inaccurate answers. The Internet today is a harsh place, and it can take mere moments for your reputation to go from great to bad.
Social media is a great tool for marketing your skills, your company offerings, and growing your business. However, like all good things, it comes with a good amount of responsibility. Keep it clean, safe, and enjoyable for all and embrace this ever growing form of marketing.