Over the 4 years I’ve been a regular user of social networking platforms for business I’ve heard, and been asked for, plenty of pearls of wisdom to help newcomers, or those looking to get more involved.
Clearly there are far too many to include in one blog post, but here are 10 of my favourites for a start.
Remember, no saying, slogan or cliché (nor speaker or blogger for that matter) can tell you everything you need to know…only by jumping in, experimenting and trying different things can you ever really experience the joys of social media and find out what works for you…
Your brand is what others say about you, not what you say about yourself
You’d think that everyone would know this by now but sadly not. There’s no point broadcasting air brushed messages about how wonderful you are. Over 80% of your potential, lapsed and current customers and employees will trust the experience of a peer over anything you say about yourself so embrace your satisfied customers and employees, make them your advocates, and let them tell your story.
Brands don’t tweet, people do
I won’t try and take credit for paraphrasing Euan Semple’s must-read book but changing ‘organisations’ to ‘brands’ reminds those using social platforms for business that behind every corporate update, every piece of content, is a person…talking to a person. It may also be worth remembering the words of Adobe’s Head of Social Jeremy Waite ‘It’s no longer about B2B or B2C, it’s now P2P’
If you make people use social media they’ll use it badly
Once a business embraces social platforms there’s often a sudden desire to get everyone in the business using them. As someone who has had to encourage employee participation in a business I say Don’t! Identify your internal advocates and influencers who are comfortable using the tools and start with them. Then encourage, empower and enable all who want to use them. As Content Marketing author Jay Baer says “if you don’t love social media you will suck at social media” so go find the passion in your business.
Social Media – It’s Evolution not Revolution
From carrier pigeon and letter, through post, telephone, telegram, telex, fax, computers, email and mobile to social platforms… business always adapts to the way their customers, partners and collaborators communicate. Social platforms are another stage along the business communication evolutionary cycle.
I don’t think you should have a social media policy – what you are saying is ‘we don’t trust you’
This is one of Neil Morrison’s sayings, and is usually likely to cause apoplexy amongst the lawyers. It’s harsh but it’s true. If you can’t trust someone to use a communication platform properly then what are you doing employing them.
Remember who you are, what you are, and who you represent
This is one of my favourite one sentence social media guidelines. When you take to the platforms it’s often easy to try and entertain and challenge, but if you’re doing it as part of your business role then remember your duty to that role, to peers and colleagues, your profession…and your friends and family.
Get as good as you can be at the platforms you’re already using before you go looking for new ones to try
At every conference, exhibition or event I attend there are always people wanting to know what’s next. Which up and coming platforms are the ones to try out, and what new ways of creating and presenting content can be embraced. My advice is always to get really good on the wagon you’re driving before jumping to a new one. The principles of engagement and reach, content and community, will be the same on whichever platform you try – if you’re not yet good at one then you quite possibly won’t be good at another.
You don’t need to be big to make a big noise
Social media is a great leveller. The big companies may have big budgets but in the land of connect, engage, share and learn it’s the quality of conversation that usually counts. If you’re going to run a twitter campaign for recruitment you’ve got to have good content to put out there, irrespective of size. Check out my coverage of Bromford Group’s #gottalovecake campaign to find out more.
You don’t need 1,000,000 likes. You need 1,000 new customers
This is one of Jeremy Waite’s 80 Rules of Social Media, and one that should never be forgotten. At the heart of your business you need an outcome from social interactions, and producing content that gets liked is only one small part. You need to make sure that what you do on social channels also supports the business objectives. And you should check out Jeremy’s other 79 rules too!
The conversation that never sleeps
Unashamedly this is one of my own sayings and also the title of one of my earliest blogs! Social media, especially twitter, literally is a 24/7 365 days a year conversation and if you’re a global brand, or have an interest in global business or global HR issues, then every minute of every day there will probably be someone saying something that’s deserving of your attention.