Business Social Media for Newbies: How to Make the Most of Your Company Assets

Feeling overwhelmed by social media’s commercial possibilities? Bewildered by all the crazy rules of the road for businesses and their representatives?

Join the club. Even if you’ve had a personal Facebook for years, social media for business is a very different animal. Before you can make the most of it, you need to make sense of it.

Here’s what you need to know to get your business and its authorized representatives started on social media.

Your Contact Details and Basic Information Must Be Correct

Don’t put the cart before the horse. Your social media audiences have every reason to expect the information you present to be accurate and up-to-date. When opening or finishing accounts that allow extensive disclosure of contact details and corporate information, don’t hold back — and return as often as necessary to keep things up to date.

Your Handle Needs to Be Memorable (And Custom)

Use custom handles and URLs on all platforms that permit them, even if you have to pay extra for it. This is usually fairly easy to do; see this entrepreneurship expert’s handy guide to custom LinkedIn URLs, for instance. The goal here is to create an immediate association between your company name (or a key employee’s name) and your social handle.

Where your company has multiple associated handles — for instance, dedicated customer support accounts on Twitter and Facebook — you’ll need to make sure the association is clear, as well.

You Don’t Have to Tweet

“Never tweet” is a common Twitter riposte to ill-advised comments; “delete your account” is another.

Fortunately, you needn’t do either of those things, short of the sort of truly catastrophic blunder that we needn’t countenance here.

You should think before you post, though. This is particularly true on rapid-fire media like Twitter, where conversations can rapidly go off the rails and interlocutors tend to be, shall we say, enthusiastic.

Take this low-key Twitter handle, for example. Its owner clearly thinks before he tweets, reckoning that on-brand silence is better than ill-advised jocularity.

Brevity Is the Soul of Wit (Under Most Circumstances)

Under normal circumstances, you never want to take ten words to say what can be said in five. Some platforms enforce brevity — Twitter, in particular, but also visual-first platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat. Lean into these restrictions; let your wit do the talking. Save long-winded discourses for “social publishing” platforms like LinkedIn and Medium.

Your LinkedIn Profile Could Usurp Your Personal or Professional Blog

Speaking of social publishing: there’s no reason not to use LinkedIn as your primary text publishing platform, superior even to your corporate blog. In all likelihood, LinkedIn is a far more authoritative web property than your company website, and it’s built to accommodate real, substantive engagement.

Always Room for Improvement

If you’re serious about making the most out of your company’s social media properties, you need to commit to lifelong learning. Don’t worry — we’re not talking about returning to college or sweating it out at night school. Our goal is far more modest: to roll with the changes that periodically roil the social media landscape and keep on top of the ever-evolving best practices that define the space.

Effective social media marketing is within your company’s grasp. Are you committed to devoting the resources necessary to make it work?

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