The interactive world of social networking is dynamic, immediate and has the potential to make you a super star. A great product, quality content, and judicious monitoring can net you an effective online persona and a low cost platform from which to make your products or services shine. The way to online fame and fortune is littered with people and businesses that got the formula wrong, though. Before you jump into the deep end of the pool, learn from the mistakes of others.
Social Media Traps and Gotchas
Protect your brand – Because the internet medium is so immediate, it’s easy to press “send” without taking the time to think hard about what you’re doing. There are some big headlines in the news right now about that very thing. Whether you’re taking photos or making extemporaneous remarks (not the best idea) in a chat room, on a blog, or in an email, be a diligent self-editor. Nothing ever dies in cyberspace, and even if you aren’t planning to run for office, don’t risk having what you’ve said come back to haunt you later. We aren’t just talking about social gaffes here, either. Embarrassing misspellings, outmoded or esoteric references, and unprofessional slang (or profanity) may not sink your brand, but it could contribute to your losing the readership you’re trying to cultivate.
Build with a budget – If you’ve spent much time surfing the web, you know how addictive — and time consuming — it can be. When you embark on a campaign to monitor your online reputation or blog on your website, your activities will eat up time. If you hire others to do the honors, costs can add up fast. Always start a new project with a firm budget and a way to measure your success. Open ended approaches can be a recipe for disaster.
Quality counts – If that instructional video you’re developing skips a complicated step in favor of a glib remark, don’t expect your sloppy tactics to go unnoticed. The same goes for posting low quality blog content. There’s a range of talent out there, and a lot of competition for a surfer’s three seconds of attention. Make sure you use those seconds well by posting the best content you can.
Keep it fresh – When you maintain a business blog, visitors expect the content to be current. If the newest post on your blog is two months old, it’s probably more practical to remove the blog completely. Neglected blogs are a sure sign of company disinterest. If you don’t maintain fresh, current content, return visits will be less frequent, and the visitors you do get will start to wonder what’s wrong. Keyword optimized content is read by real people. If it is low quality, outdated, or obviously designed to enhance a site’s metrics without adding value to the reading experience, your guests will feel hoodwinked — and no one likes to feel used.
When you think you’re ready to dip you’re foot in the social media pool, do explore new products and services that will help you master the changing landscape of social media. Have a firm budget in place, (along with a reliable way to measure the success of your efforts), and embrace discretion, consistency, and quality.