The Power & Pain of Social Media

When our clients call us, they’re in trouble and need help immediately; they call for triage, not plastic surgery.

If you’re taking the time to read this, I assume you aren’t in dire straights right now (and hopefully you never will be), and that’s exactly why this proactive message about avoiding huge headaches may also help strengthen your relationships with customers and reinforce your brand. I’m talking, of course, about social media.

Many businesses scoff at the notion of employing a “Community Manager” to set up and maintain LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and other social media, but if there’s anything we’re learned and understand, it’s that – no matter what business you’re in – your customers and employees are using these media – and you need to understand them.

Don’t believe me?

Over 35 million tweets are sent every day (a tweet is a message sent using Twitter). There are over 500 million Facebook profiles. If you don’t think social media are important or that your employees and customers aren’t using them, think again.

Have a Social Media Policy

Even if you don’t want to utilize social media for the good they can do, you definitely need to have internal policies in place to mitigate the potential havoc they can wreak when left unattended and unchecked. Make sure your employees all know the Social Media Rules of your business.

Ask yourself, are employees permitted to use social media at work? Can they mention your company on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or anywhere else? If so, are they allowed to do anything more than list your business as their place of employment?

If they say anything else, your employees may be perceived publicly as official representatives. If employees say anything negative you could have a nasty situation on your hands. After all, if someone robs a bank in a Wal-Mart uniform, that’s bad for business, and it’s on the news. If employees can mention your business, make sure they do so in a consistent and positive way.

The Consequences of Ignoring Social Media

If you opt to ignore social media, that’s your prerogative, but know that your business may have profiles and pages on either LinkedIn or Facebook just by virtue of employees listing your business as their place of employment. Others who don’t work for you might be claiming they do if these pages go unregulated.

Having someone within your company monitor these pages may prevent problems from arising in the future – if they haven’t already.

Granted, these issues may seem minor, but none of us wants the hassle. Monitoring social media and implementing policies is part of being proactive rather than reactive. As you start to see their power and value – especially when harnessed together – you may even want to use them to your advantage.

Have you had any unfortunate social media challenges? Which social media do you use and how do they affect your business?

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