When advising other business owners, we at Bumblebee PA have always advocated the values that we live by: do right by the customer, be honest, deliver what you promise, and don’t over promise what you can deliver.
All of that seems very manageable until you’ve developed an audience of thousands, all interacting with you in a digital space. Business owners are careful about how they present themselves in person and at networking events, but are they always so careful in how they present themselves in digital spaces?
Here are a few pointers to make sure your digital presence is helping, not hurting, your integrity and reputation.
1.) This tip comes from Inc.com. Think of it this way: If you wouldn’t do it in person, don’t do it online. Things like offensive language, misspellings, ignoring comments from friends or followers (read: potential or current customers), or badmouth other members of your professional community are all example of social media faux pas that most business owners would never think about doing in a face-to-face networking event, and yet, we see it again and again online. Before you send out a post, think about if you would say it in person, and in public. If the answer is no, skip it.
2.) Stay involved. Many business owners find themselves too busy to maintain their social media presence. In fact, if it’s doing what it should, it can become a full time job. It is tempting to just pass it off to one employee or another, and forget about it. There is nothing wrong with delegating the task, but remember, effective business social media needs to have a plan. Be sure you are aware of the marketing plan, and monitor results, so you can make informed decisions about how your business is being represented.
3.) Be sure to understand the mechanics. We’ve all been there, when a small mistake happens, like accidentally sending a public message on Twitter when we meant to send a DM, or misapplied a hashtag. These mistakes happen. The jargon and user interfaces aren’t always intuitive. However, consistently making these kind of mistakes speaks to how well you understand the site, and can do damage to your credibility. Just like it may happen everyone and while that you’ve misbuttoned your shirt without large consequences, doing it everyday will start to raise questions about how competent you are.
At the end of the day, your business’s reputation is the most important thing to its survival. With how pervasive social media has become, it’s easy to get on auto pilot and unintentionally damage your reputation. Be sure to be deliberate and conscientious with your social media. And of course, if you do make a mistake in your tweets or post, admit the mistake, apologize for it, and move on.
And, as always, don’t be afraid to seek out advice if you are uncertain of the correct plan for you business.