Bury St Edmunds social media expert has advice on the do’s and don'ts for community involvement
There’s a lot of advice around about how to best take advantage of community involvement to build your business. This week I thought I’d cover some of the do’s and don’ts so you can be successful with community involvement for marketing purposes.
Update All Your Social Media Profiles
Your profiles are how people will get to know you online. Even if you meet people in person, they’re going to look you up and connect with you on social media after the event. Ensure your profiles accurately depict who you are, what you do, and who you do it for.
Don’t Leave Empty Profiles
If you’re not going to take the time to fully fill out a profile, then don’t join the network. The best way to build your brand is to be the same person and same company with the same values across all networks, online and offline.
Be Who You Are
Some people try to maintain separate business and personal profiles, but this typically backfires. While you do want to keep business and personal profiles separate, you’re going to be found one way or another. It’s best to maintain one profile for each social media network and use the privacy settings to your advantage.
Don’t Use a Fake Profile Picture
You don’t want to lie about who you are. Use a real picture and also real information to fill out your profile. You can’t be anonymous online today, especially if you want to promote your business.
Use Common Sense
Everything you do on the net is a public record of your life in many ways. Today, it can even be used in court. Therefore, it’s important to only like, share, and follow that which represents you well. You don’t want to cause controversy by getting involved in politically charged conversations. Well, there is one exception: if that’s your job.
Don’t Use Bad Language
While in some cases, swearing might feel appropriate when it comes to business, it just doesn’t work. With few exceptions, unless you’re branding yourself as this type of company, it will turn off a huge segment of your audience.
Avoid Too Much Automation
Being social is about building relationships and you can’t do that with automation. Everyone knows your “thanks for following” gift on Twitter is automatic and they’re not that impressed. Instead, focus on real communication and genuine connection to each person in every community.
Don’t Skip Automation
While you don't want to use automation too much, you should use it for some things. A good rule of thumb is if it’s helping you get things done, and not a substitute for personal connection, it’s okay to use.
Sharing Is Caring
Be friendly, answer questions, and share other people’s successes. If you know answers to something, don’t offer your services as the answer; instead, give away the answer freely. Know someone who can answer a question that you can’t, tag and recommend them.
Not only do you need to watch for spam and avoid spam, you also need to avoid being a spammer yourself. Don’t send the same message to every network twenty times a day. Each community has its own personality. Change each message for that community and deliver it only at the times appropriate for that network.
Create a Plan
You don’t want to go to a live event unprepared, so don’t use social media networks unprepared. All of it is community. The only differences are the tools used to communicate with the people. One is your mouth, and the other is a keyboard. The results can be the same, but you need a plan; you need to know what you’re going to say and do in advance.
Don’t Avoid Planning
You may think that planning seems too practiced and too perfect. But, if you look at businesses that are successful with forming a community and using it to improve their bottom line, they’re practiced and know what they’re going to do in advance before they move forward.
Building a community and being involved in it can be fun. But, it’s also about business and you can’t ever forget that. Anytime you’re with someone you do business with or want to do business with, you can’t act the same as you do if you’re at home. There have to be boundaries that are recognised. Knowing that is how you’ll be successful.
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