Is your business contributing to the tacky manhandling of social media?

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We have been using social networking platforms for over a decade now, and even though the novelty of the concept wore off years ago, social media is still one the most powerful platforms out there. Despite reaching new heights on an almost monthly basis, there is a very real danger that Facebook accounts will start to be deactivated and Twitter profiles closed by their owners: arguably, social media is reaching an all-time low.

There are over 500-million Twitter users and one-billion Facebook users; huge numbers which not only show the global nod of approval for these social platforms but which also show their vast potential. As a social media user, you have the incredible ability to communicate and interact with millions of other users; an unbelievable source of information, enlightenment and a truly exciting prospect for business owners.

With so many users however, things are bound to get a little out of control. Both individuals and businesses are to blame, so are the advertisers, the platform providers and the ignorance and pure ignoring of social platform rules and regulations. And then there is good etiquette, which is becoming non-existent.

Leaving some individuals aside (the ones who post pictures of what they’re having for lunch on a daily basis and refuse to write out their words in full) the incorrect use and maintenance of business pages and accounts can be blamed for the increasing tackiness. Often free of charge, these pages and accounts are created in their millions.

This is where the manhandling part comes in; many businesses are quick to jump at the opportunity of creating a free page, however they do so without much thought. It’s vital that they consider their industry and whether it has a relevant place in social media, create the page with a greater strategy in mind and have somebody that can monitor the page on a daily basis to ensure that all comments and queries are responded to — with millions of users online with access to the account, things have the potential to escalate and spiral out of control.

If you have a business page, make sure that the bio and information on it is correct, that fresh and relevant content is posted regularly and that you have the manpower and time to monitor its activity. Take a look at the insights and analytics to learn from the successes and failures of your past posts. If you don’t have anything useful or insightful to say, don’t say anything at all, and essentially, never ever punt your products and services blatantly — instead, aim for brand awareness, engagement and interaction with the public, informing them about your products.

Only make use of social advertising if you’re using it for a campaign and within a strategy. Don’t simply run paid adverts in order to get more followers or fans — remember, your success as a page is not determined by the amount of ‘likes’ or followers that you have, but rather by how many visits your website gets from your Facebook page, how many bookings or queries you receive from/on it and the interaction that the public has with your brand.

It’s also vital that you read the platform’s terms and conditions, especially if you’re going to run a competition; things could go terribly wrong for your brand if you run an illegal promotion and your page is reported or an alarm is sounded publicly.

Whether you’re using Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Blogger, Pinterest, Myspace, Tumblr or Foursquare as a business, it’s important to remember and implement the above guidelines. Social media at its very core is a platform for informal and personal communication; show a different side of your business by being friendly, professional and informative to the public. Be polite, respond eloquently and be considerate; if somebody complains on your page, tackle it head on to prove to them and your critics that you can solve problems rather than erasing them. Alternatively, you could hire a professional digital marketing company to ensure that your page is run smoothly and that it is in line with your brand and current campaign.

Social media users run for the hills the moment they find no fulfilment from their news feeds, are no longer entertained by the people they follow and are manipulated by business advertising. And while personal account holders can also be blamed for their irrelevant updates and constant spamming, social media platforms will start to lose their power if businesses don’t start to think out a quality social media strategy. The tacky manhandling of social media (the use of social media without any thought, eloquence or without strategy) is something we should all be aware of as consumers and should actively try to avoid, as both individuals and business page managers.

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