If you’re a business owner, you can’t avoid social media. It’s a free way of making your business known, gaining clients and staying in the loop with business owners similar to yourself. As helpful as it can be, though, it can also hurt your business and your reputation if not used correctly. Spend some time researching and learning how to use social media so you don’t make a mistake that could cost you your business.
While social media is great at improving your online reputation if used correctly, it can also backfire. Learn about the common social media gaffes business owners make so you avoid these mistakes. After all, you learn the best from others’ mistakes.
Among some of the social media mistakes to stay away from >>>
Mistake #1: Using all forms of social media immediately
If you’re new to social media, don’t join Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and everything else under the sun in one day. Go slowly so you’re not overwhelmed and likely to do something you can’t take back (remember, everything said online is permanent). First, create a company blog or website and a company Facebook page. Once you have a handle on those two and have gained some followers, try expanding to Twitter. Social media is a form of advertising and marketing – and the results are achieved slowly.
Mistake #2: Never updating your social media accounts
Business owners sometimes think of social media as a “fad,” they join one week and forget about it the next. Don’t let this happen to you! Since business owners can see tremendous growth and results from social media platforms, it needs to be taken seriously. Update your blog weekly, share related information your followers would enjoy via Facebook and use Twitter at least a few times per day.
Mistake #3: Allowing anyone to handle your social media accounts
Again, what’s said online is permanent. Only allow experienced and mature employees access to your social media accounts. A huge portion of your business’ reputation falls in the hands of social media, so make sure only people you trust are in charge. Along those lines, make sure employees are using their own personal social media accounts with maturity. You don’t want to chance something negatively effecting your online reputation.
Mistake #4: Avoiding negative comments
As a business, you’re going to get some negative reviews. It’s inevitable. If you ignore this or try to get rid of it instead of addressing the problem, that’s only going to negatively affect your reputation. Always address negative comments and reviews as quickly as possible. Think of them as constructive criticism and ways on which you can improve your business.
Mistake #5: Not truly being involved
If you want to gain followers (and customers), you must follow others, too. You can’t expect to throw out a few tweets and Facebook updates and see your business grow. You must form relationships with businesses similar to yours and be involved! This takes time and doesn’t happen overnight.
Just as in the real world, forming trusted relationships requires effort and longevity. If you stick it out, though, and become a trusted company and individual, your small business will see results – guaranteed.
And finally, the best piece of advice for anyone – a business or individual – that uses social media is to think about what you’re saying before you hit publish.
Politics and religion should be kept away from social media, and if you’re angry or sad, go for a walk or think long and hard if you really want what you’re saying to be published on the internet – and used against you – for good.
About the author
Sarah Brooks is a freelance writer living in Glendale, AZ with her husband and daughter. She covers a variety of topics, including small business reputation management.