Today's post is by Greg Tirico, director of digital media and content for Sage.
Social-media interaction and real-time marketing can be risky. We were recently reminded of the importance of communicating professionally on social media when a very unkind response to a LinkedIn request went viral. The backlash to the unorthodox response is proof that social media can have a negative effect on a business or organization when made available to the public.
With this in mind, here are some tips that people should remember when it comes to professional interaction on social media.
- Networking hasn’t changed just because we have the ability to connect via social media. First and foremost, seek to help. In turn, when you need help, your network will be primed and ready.
- Speaking of your network, the worst time to build one is when you actually need it. Social-media tools help you build a network quickly – one that is far wider and more varied than in the past – but the quality of your connections, not the quantity, is what counts. Get started now. Don’t wait.
- Any connection you make – be it on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. – deserves a little attention. I investigate any connection I make on LinkedIn. Does this person have a Twitter handle listed? Check out what this person is saying. Is there a blog listed? Go read the most recent article, and leave a comment. It doesn’t take a lot of time. I find that the personal touch usually gets lost when networking in the social space. It’s far too easy to hit the connect button and just move on. You wouldn’t shake hands with someone, accept a business card, and walk away, would you? Don’t do that in the social space, either.
- Set up an approval protocol for tweets and live communication. For instance, don’t answer an angry tweet with an angry tweet. A good rule of thumb is to refrain from writing a terse response to someone you don’t know. If you have any doubts, write your tweet or response and have someone else take a look at it before you hit the send or post button; two heads are better than one. The irony in the LinkedIn story is that the woman who responded so tersely to the Millennial looking for a LinkedIn invite was so much more inappropriate in her response than the person who sent the simple request.
- Act appropriately after the social-media blunder. If you’ve posted something inappropriate or participated in social interactions that, after the fact, you find has or may hurt your business, take steps to remedy the situation. If the post or message has gone viral, don’t ignore it, but attack the situation to get ahead of it. If an apology is in order, give it. Most importantly, put a plan into place to ensure that it does not happen again.
Get more Sage business advice at http://na.sage.com/sage-na/newsroom/in-the-news.