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|KCBCentral: How to promote your business with social media|
Tweets, tags, "likes"---the world of social media can be confusing enough on its own, not to mention if you want to use it to promote your business. Before your create a Twitter handle or choose a Facebook photo, consider these expert tips:
Designate an official voice.
Debi Teter, owner of Brand New Concept Marketing, says unofficial voices on the Internet can muddle the message a company is trying to express. Teter, formerly director of marketing for the Kansas City Royals, had to shut down a Twitter account that was promoting ticket sales for games because it was not officially affiliated with the Royals.
Define responsibilities of each employee.
Discuss specifics with your social media employee to ensure what is presented falls in line with the company’s mission.
To avoid a gap between the marketing team and executives, social media specialists need constant communication with other teams within the company.
“Make sure there’s a chain of command in the organization regarding social media,” Teter says. “People at the top aren’t doing the posts, but they need to know what’s going on.”
And from Twitter to Facebook to blogs, each social media outlet provides its own set of challenges and consumers. “You need to treat each one differently,” Teter adds. “Every social media site needs its own rules.”
Keep personal sites professional.
Promoting an employer on Facebook can be very helpful if done correctly. Provide employees with a standard name to use when referring to your company on personal pages.
“Facebook [tries] to find and match [your company name],” Teter says. “If it doesn’t find the exact match, it will try and generate a new community page, and then the business is no longer in control of its online presence.”
A structured set of social media policies is also helpful for employees so they know what company information is acceptable to promote and what should remain confidential. When in doubt, follow Teter’s golden rule: “Don’t post something you want hidden from an employer.”
Avoid recommendations on social media sites.
LinkedIn has gained huge popularity in the business world, but Teter warns about using the site’s coworker recommendations when looking to hire someone. Teter says companies that use only LinkedIn recommendations when considering someone for employment could find out later that the commentary was unbalanced, as members can choose to post only positive feedback from former employers.
“I’ve actually stopped using that aspect of LinkedIn,” Teter says. “I’d rather promote myself with Q-and-A’s and be connected to people and let them know they can ask someone for a recommendation.”
Use disclaimers on blogs and forums.
Employees need to be aware of what they’re saying when commenting on blogs or Facebook posts about the company. It should be clear they are expressing a personal opinion and not serving as the official company voice.
Employees might feel like they are helping the company by defending it, but comments might not always represent the opinion of the company, which should not be held responsible for personal chatter.
“Anytime someone does go on a blog … or post something on a forum, there’s always something that needs to be disclaimed that says, ‘These opinions are my own and they are not necessarily representative of the company itself,’” Teter says.