5 Do’s And Don’ts Of Managing Business Social Media Platforms
Let’s face it, social media is almost instilled in us at birth. Ok, I am not that young, but I did grow up in the land of the Internet, Myspace, Instant Messenger, and … of course ... Facebook. Whether you are a social media professional or novice, you may think that running a business social media page is a piece of cake. Well, it can be … but I have a few key recommendations for you to keep in mind.
(Note: I tend to reference Facebook most often, as it tends to be an obvious go-to platform but these suggestions apply to the whole kit and caboodle of Social Wonderland.)
Managing a social media platform for a business or organization is a whole different ballgame compared to when you are just representing yourself as an individual. There are specific rules and strategies to follow. Remember, we are talking about the magical land of social media. Just like when trying on clothes ... just because it fits doesn’t necessarily mean you should wear it.
Well on social media, just because you can post it, doesn’t mean that you should post it. This especially applies when you are representing yourself on a professional level. That said, social media is a GREAT tool for marketing your business and keeping in touch with your audience. Are you using it to its full potential?
Here are my 5 Do’s And Don’ts Of Managing Business Social Media Platforms:
1. Keep it classy.
I bring this up first because we’ve seen many local business get themselves in hot water here. Social media can breed drama, right? Everyone is entitled to an opinion. However, Facebook has provided a platform for people to voice their opinion to the masses all from the comfort and safety of their home or office. Needless to say, some folks get quite bold behind a keyboard and monitor. With a business page, this can lead to trouble.
No matter what your business is, you are guaranteed to encounter a Debbie Downer or a complainer. While some of the negative feedback may be justified and accurate, some of it will not be. In these cases, DO NOT ENGAGE. I repeat: Do. Not. Engage. Your business is your child and I get it … the protective Mama or Papa Bear desperately wants to come to the rescue when someone is bashing you online. My best advice is to take a deep breath, maintain composure, and then politely ask the complainer to call or email you so the issue can be resolved offline.
Never, ever, ever get into a keyboard war with anyone. It simply adds fuel to the fire and makes you look unprofessional. To tie this advice into everyday reality, here’s a situation I once ran into on Facebook ...
I manage a municipal animal shelter’s Facebook page. The platform is utilized to announce adoption stories, post adoptable pets, and educate the public on an array of topics such as the health benefits of spaying and neutering, the dangers of declawing cats, tips to protect pets in dangerous weather. That sort of thing. Recently, I posted an educational piece on the never-ending struggle of the overpopulation of feral cats and discussed why “TNR” (Trap, Neuter, Return) is important.
The post received a ton of attention. News stations even came down to do a story! The thread of glowing comments off the Facebook post was 100+ deep yet tucked in between them glared the two-cents of Donny Downer. He was completely against TNR, describing it as an inhumane practice and suggested that these cats be euthanized instead.
Ok, so think about this for a moment. This was a heated topic to begin with. You have 10,000+ animal lovers following this page. For someone to even suggest harming an animal, you know things are about to get ugly.
The response I wanted to give started with a big WTF. But that’s not professional! Instead, I took my own advice of taking a deep breath. I then kindly asked that we agree to disagree on the topic. The bottom line here … I did not engage. I took the high road.
Needless to say, always take the high road. It’s not easy. I know that. I know that your business is your whole heart and soul. You miss Happy Hour, softball games, bridal showers, or bed time with your babies to run it. You are emotionally attached and naturally defensive of your hard work. Maybe the complaints made are legitimate. Take those as constructive criticism and make positive changes to move forward. Do not stoop to the level of the keyboard warriors though. They will simply win every time.
Be sure to check out this related blog post: Staying Afloat In A Sea Full Of Critics: How To Respond To Negative Reviews
2. Don’t be late to the party.
Respond to inquiries within 24-48 hours. Whether they’re private messages or public posts/comments, the speedier the response, the happier your followers will be. Now don’t stress about answering followers in the middle of the night. I’m just saying, be aware and do your best not to leave them hanging.
This especially applies when you are selling a product or service. If you have a wedding party looking to book a rehearsal dinner or a dog owner looking for a pet sitter, you need to respond very quickly. If you don’t, your competition will! The internet has taken things to a whole new level and customers expect instant gratification when it comes to inquiries or quote requests.
3. Post updates regularly.
Don’t make your followers send out the search party. If you are a bar owner, feature a weekly special. If you own an art studio, share some of your recent work. Oh, and guess what? Customers and clients love to see their smiling faces on your social media! It makes them feel special so share some photos of them, too!
If you are a local lunch spot, snap some photos of your regulars. If you are an electrician or landscaper, post pictures of your projects … and sprinkle in some educational pieces here and there. For example, a landscaper might post an article about the right time of year to lay grass seed. Anything to keep your platforms fresh and lively. You don’t want to appear dormant. There is always an abundance of cool content you can be leveraging. Sometimes you just need to get a little creative!
4. Use gorgeous graphics.
Ok, I am about to blow your mind. This is crazy complicated. I am just kidding, don’t panic ... but seriously ... your profile photo and cover photos need to be bold and clear. If at all possible, use professional photos.
Have a smartphone? Learn how to take incredible photos with it by reading this blog post: How To Take High Quality Photos On Your iPhone
If you have a logo, use it! Have your graphic designer create a smaller badge-like design for your profile photo and a larger design for a cover photo or Facebook graphic. It’s always good to have different variations of your logo for different purposes. There are tons of different social media platforms, so have a logo that will suit each one.
If you are going to use photos of products, menu items, projects, etc., just be sure they are high quality. Say it with me ... No Blurry Photos. People will click right by your Facebook page if it looks amateur.
5. If needed, hire someone to help.
If you just don’t have the time or aren’t comfortable managing social media accounts, hire someone to do it for you if your budget allows. I promise this will be money well spent if you find a true professional. Remember, you get what you pay for. Discount prices may very well equate to discount service. Do your research. Be sure your social media manager understands your mission, feels your vibe, and will deliver the level of service you deserve. Just because someone offers a service, doesn’t mean they are good at it or are right for you.
Alright social media warriors, you got this!