Social Media for Businesses: Asset or Liability?

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social-media-and-businessOne of the hottest trends for any business in recent years has been social media. Social media business pages have given rise to an entirely new marketing channel that can awesome positive effects, such as viral posting and invaluable customer feedback. The converse of this experiment is a nearly unfiltered medium for customers and select employees to do some serious brand damage in a very short time. While it is nearly unarguable that there is some serious value in having a social media page for your business-there are some easy and invaluable steps you can take to make sure your page has the least risk and highest chance for success.

Frequent Management

It's actually quite natural for customers to post negative feedback on Facebook. Statistically speaking, the vast majority of any online review is going to be negative. Customers simply expect things to go well, and don't feel a need to comment about it when they do. When things go wrong however, customers are all too eager to rant about their experiences - and social media is one of the first places they find to do it. Whether your feedback on facebook from customers is positive or negative, it's extremely important to address the comment right away. Complements can be thanked; questions answered, and complaints apologized for. If you do see something extremely inappropriate posted by a fan on your page, the faster you delete it, the less chance it has to hurt you. This is an essential part of managing your page as frequently as possible. If you don't feel that you have someone who can check your page at least every other day - you probably shouldn't have a page at all.

The Right Manager

Aside from customers actions, many businesses have actually gotten in big trouble for what their own employees have posted on the page. Disgruntled employees have posted rants that include harmful, and often false, company information. As a manager, it can be quite tempting to push off an "experiment" like social media to a fledgling employee, or even an intern. This is not the best idea, period. Whomever you have managing your page should be someone you trust deeply, and whom you feel has an intimate and vested relationship with your company. If you think that the messages that go up on social media are something insignificant, you couldn't be more wrong. This is how many people will first find your company, and the top communication channel for many more - especially younger customers.

Engagement, Call to Action

Having people follow your business social media page, and "like" your posts is fun - but it's not the ultimate goal of the endeavor. The engagement that follows these successful posts are what's going to fuel your future business. It's a statistical fact; the more times an inquirer interacts with your company, the more likely they are to order. This means that you need to enforce the next interaction as a "call to action". Create content that promotes your product, and link to the product landing page. If people are excited about your brand, tell them the next step! Say you own an online printing company, and you post an image of some really cool business cards you printed recently. If there is a flurry of positive activity and engagement around the image, don't you think it would be natural to tell people how they can buy business cards online? Creating and maintaining engagement is step one - having a clear and directive call to action has to be next.

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