How to make social media work for you… and pitfalls you should avoid

By 2015-11-02 Blog No Comments

Social media is not as new a phenomenon as many businesses might think but there is still a great deal of confusion about what it can offer in terms of reputation building, branding and supporting sales and marketing strategies.

Hopefully, by now most companies are aware of the main social media platforms – they should certainly know about LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google+. However, they may not be familiar with Pinterest, Tumblr, Reddit, Instagram and a plethora of other less well-known platforms.

These days, PR practitioners are likely to have among their staff someone whose role is mainly – if not solely – to carry out social media posting on behalf of the agency’s clients. Those organisations with in-house PR departments will almost certainly have someone allocated to that task for much of their working day.

socialmThe world of social media can be as complicated and intimidating as people want to make it but here are a few essential pointers on how to make the most of this extremely effective communications outlet.

  • Monitor what is out there in terms of discussions and conversations that relate to your market. You need to be on the ball with what is ‘trending’ so that you can make a valuable contribution
  • Make sure you are not just posting for the sake of posting – your social media strategy must be directly relevant to what you are trying to achieve for your business. Decide what you want to say and how you want to say it and stick to a co-ordinated plan
  • Find out which are the most effective social media channels for your sector. Take a peek at what your competitors are doing and note the responses they are getting
  • Be both pro-active and reactive to your market sector – respond to what is happening out there but also lead the way on conversations when you can. Having a regular dialogue with your customers and prospects is essential
  • Consistency is also key – which is why it is a good reason to have the same person in your organisation posting across the various channels. Keep the ‘tone of voice’ and style the same, and make sure it reflects your company’s strategic approach
  • Make sure you correct mistakes as quickly as you can and avoid lengthy argumentative to-ing and fro-ing on your forum, timeline or other outlet. People want to see your organisation is professional, they do not want to see any online disagreements spiralling out control
  • Always follow general ‘netiquette’, which means don’t be rude or sarcastic, show respect to others, and never post any images or text that you know or suspect are copyright protected

Here are a few other key issues that you should bear in mind so that your experience with social media platforms is a happy and productive one:

  • Always remember that what you put on social media can stay there forever. If people know your own name or your company, they can search for you and read what has been written on your behalf, so make sure there is nothing detrimental to you or your organisation
  • Never bring your company or any other company into disrepute and make sure that whoever is responsible for posting your material online understands very clearly what the boundaries are
  • Make sure you never reveal sensitive information – this could be personal details about someone or confidential data relating to your own business or your clients
  • Make sure that whoever posts your information remains honest and truthful – never allow your PR agency or member of staff to make statements that are not true or give false impressions about your business. This is called ‘astroturfing’ and it is illegal
  • If somebody posts a negative comment about your organisation, you have to keep what has been said online and not delete it – unless the content is racist or comes under the general heading of ‘hate comment’. Hopefully, you won’t get too many bad responses if you manage your social media properly but the internet can be a strange place sometimes and you cannot fully engineer how people see your company and react to it. Always have a measured response to any negative feedback, people will respect you for it.

If you want to look further into how social media can help your business, call us on 01785 247588 or email