If you are in business then you are without doubt already active in social media, and wondering how to get it working for you. So what are the rules of this game?

Here are some basics to keep you out of trouble in the world of social media:

1. Plan. Plan. Plan. Plan. Research the different networks and understand their nuances. No plan means eminent failure. Get a social media plan created by a professional if you like, that you can implement, or if you are time poor, have them do it. Social media marketing strategies can be cost effective and let you get on with running your business.

2. Don’t vent. Offensive and negative posts or comments just turn people off, especially in the business arena. Your social media activity represents you as a business so make sure that you or whoever else is posting on your behalf is fully aware of how your business is presented. If conflict or negative comments do appear, then always take the high road.

3. Respond. It is undoubtedly rude to not respond to emails or phone calls in the real world, and this behaviour doesn’t stop in the social media space. Not responding to people’s comments purports a sense of arrogance, which is a real turn-off, no matter who you are. Behave online on all the social media platforms as you would offline.

4. Be consistent. Social media is a way to present your own unique business personality through technology. As in the real, face-to-face world, if your behaviour is erratic, or unpredictable (in a negative way) people will start to withdraw. Be interesting, generous and sharing, but have your own style and stick to it.

5. Remember this is business. If you were publishing a press ad, would you include a pik of you looking slightly under the weather at your best friends cocktail party? No, The same rules apply to social media. Don’t confuse the issue; stay professional by controlling the image you project across all the platforms.

6. Use piks that mean something. Using images on your posts achieves a far greater reach than just words. But there has to be a connection between the two, so avoid being too abstract. Include images that create interest and entice viewers to find out more and then share with their own social media networks.

7. Start conversations rather than sell products. Overt selling, promotional or ’buy now’ calls can be boring and unoriginal, and quickly turn social media people away. Start dialogue with your community by being inventive and clever, remember that this is ‘social’ media. Tell stories that show your business or product in a positive light, without giving any hard-sell.

8. Be transparent. Never lie. Savvy social media types (most of us these days) will see straight through you, and they do not forgive easily. Treat your community with respect and honesty.

9. Be prepared to work hard. Follow your social media plan, adjust, tweak, measure, research. No such thing as a free lunch.

10. And finally, remember to be human. Social media networks are comprised of actual people. Treat people online the same as you would offline, and remember that every interaction, regardless of how simple or casual it is, will become part of your brand. This technology offers a tremendous way of showing your humanity. Respect it.

The key to all these recommendations?
Anything online, on social media platforms, on blogs, or on your own comments makes up what people will think of you and your business.
Don’t waste an opportunity to make it the best it can be.

And if you don’t have the time to manage it yourself? Get a professional on board. Contact us.