Social media platforms can be a powerful tool in growing your small business. However, inappropriate use or management of your personal accounts can tarnish your brand and negatively impact your company. With the ever-growing popularity of using social media to share opinions, reveal information, and support companies and causes, there are a number of pitfalls to steer clear of. Consider the following truths about social media and tips you can follow to avoid damaging your company.
Personal Thoughts and Opinions
It’s important to remember that, while you have every right to voice your personal feelings about a political candidate or share your opinions on the latest Hollywood scandal, not everyone will be onboard. Posting strongly-worded and/or aggressive rants or speeches, regardless of the subject, is dangerous territory for you as a small business owner. It is inevitable that potential clients will discover and read things you’ve posted on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media channels.
There is little you can do to stop this from happening, besides adjusting the privacy settings on all of your personal accounts. However, this itself could send a message that you’ve got something to hide and cause potential clients some concern. The same result may be elicited if a potential client reads a highly-opinionated post that doesn’t match their own beliefs. The best course of action is not to avoid having strong opinions or beliefs, but merely to avoid sharing them publicly on your social media account.
Pictures convey a multitude of messages and are specifically dangerous because they are wildly open to interpretation by the observer. Your personal social media accounts, of course, are your own, but they are nonetheless open to scrutiny by current and potential customers. Be cautious and conscientious when posting any picture to your personal account. Be certain that the picture isn’t vulgar and doesn’t depict you, your friends, or any of your employees, in a way that could send the wrong message. Also, don’t post pictures of others, especially people that work for you, without their permission, and make sure they approve of the photo going public before you tag them. Posting pictures of pets, family get-togethers, and even company events, is a great way to introduce customers to you and to your brand. A good rule to follow is choosing pictures to share that are in line with your values and the values of your company.
Professionalism is Key
If you own a small business, you are a professional. Accordingly, your personal social media accounts will be held to a higher standard. Along with choosing what and what not to share, it’s important to consider how you share it. Word choice, grammar, and tone are all things potential clients may take into consideration when checking out your personal accounts. As a business owner, all your activity on social media should be regular enough to keep people interested, but not so frequent that it becomes overbearing. Also, foul, offensive, or incendiary language should be avoided at all costs.