Sarah Evans, PR maven and director of communications at Elgin Community College in Elgin, Illinois, posted an excellent article on The Dos and Don’ts of Sharing for businesses on Social Media. A few highlights that deserve echoing:
- Be transparent and authentic. Be human.
“Social media for business is about return on engagement. Connect with people, build opportunities through dialogue which would not have otherwise occurred, then connect them with your business.
Think in terms of ‘bad driver just cut me off’ instead of ‘just got served papers for a lawsuit.’ The first example connects people and encourages dialogue. Who hasn’t been cut off by a bad driver? The second example has the potential to make people uncomfortable or turn them ‘off’ to your brand.”
- Leaving a Legacy
“Your social media personality becomes part of your brand’s legacy. Don’t brand your personality for the day, the month or the year. This is serious stuff. What you post stays around for a pretty long time and the information (good and bad) isn’t too hard to find. Your social media posts offer vast archives of information about you.
This means, what you share, post or tweet today should reinforce your brand tomorrow. Think about each message you share via social media as an email which has gone public to your entire organization and all of your stakeholders. Now, imagine if they are reading this email and RESPONDING to it. That’s part of the power of your social media brand.”
- Don’t be a social schizo.
“Multiple personality disorders do not work well in social media. If you confuse, you lose. If you are a business expert one day, a media maven the next and live news feed after that, people will ultimately stop connecting.
A very simple approach is to make a short list of what you WILL talk about via social media. Stick with it. The pay off? When someone thinks about an expert in interior design, they will think of you because you will have BRANDED yourself as one. (DISCLAIMER: This is not an opportunity to ‘play a doctor on T.V.’ You should actually be an expert in the areas you claim to be.)”
- Social climbing is not the best approach.
“Social climbers beware. As you build your social media personality, don’t only connect with people who have a lot of “followers,” “friends,” “connections,” etc. It makes sense to engage the “big dogs” of social media, but it’s even better to connect with other quality audiences. Spending too much time looking for the big fish may take away from an entire school passing you by. Go grassroots and begin to build your personality one social media platform at a time.”
- It’s not a one-stop shop.
“There is no one-size fits all personality for your brand. In fact, think you know your brand? Explore social media and see how people really experience what it is you’re selling. You may need to adjust or reflect on your brand.
What is your brand offline? Social media isn’t an opportunity to reinvent a new brand, but to widen your brand’s reach. It’s all about the experience, right? People should get the same (or similar) experience with you online that they get offline.”
- Return on Engagement (ROE).
“It’s all about ROE – return on engagement. Is your social media personality working? You’ll know when opportunities arise that never would have been possible otherwise. A few ways to ‘quantify’ engagement:
• Track incoming traffic from links
• Number of people subscribed to RSS feeds
• Number of people in social media groups, fan pages, etc
• Trackbacks or linkbacks to posts
• Conversation tracking tools like Twitter Search
• Comments on blog posts
• Increased sales and general inquiries”