The thing about social media is everyone’s doing it. Which means everyone thinks it’s easy. But here’s the problem: running personal social media and running business social media are completely different things – and with your business, because reputation is everything, you need to be really careful about how you go about it. At PABS we recognise that how you post on social on behalf of your company can make or break your reputation, win or lose you business, and ultimately, impact your profit margins. That said, you don’t want to run your social media department like a totalitarian regime – so we recommend that you provide your virtual assistant with space to test and experiment!
With that in mind, here are 9 do’s and don’ts on social media, if you want to get ahead of your competition and drive business success:
1. DO have a social media policy
Setting a standard for good behaviour, speaking in a way that reflects your brand positioning and ethics, is really important. Nothing on the internet ever gets deleted, and saying the wrong thing can seriously damage your reputation. Even companies who use virtual assistants in the UK will find that having a social media policy (even a one-pager) makes everything more consistent and those “when in doubt” moments a lot easier to navigate successfully. Oh…and don’t feed the trolls!
2. DON’T rely too much on automation
Many virtual assistant companies use software tools that allow you to line-up posts in advance. However, it’s the ‘personal touch’ that really builds what is called ‘advocacy’ (brand loyalty) on social media. Responding quickly to comments, being topical and posting spontaneously all show that your social media is run by a human not a robot.
3. DO pay attention to timing
It’s important to post at times when the people you’re trying to reach are actually looking. Research has demonstrated that particular times work for particular channels, but don’t fail to take into account the unique behaviour of your particular audience: look at the analytics provided by each of the social media platforms you use and identify the times when you’re getting the most engagement.
4. DON’T delete negative comments
It may sound counter-intuitive, but deleting negative comments can actually damage your reputation. Why? Because people notice, and it can look like you’re censoring, which is very un-21st Century. Responding promptly, professionally, and in an understanding way to negative comments, will bolster support from your online community, who will, in most cases, recognise a troll for a troll.
5. DO be ‘authentic’
Be wary of coming across too corporate or sales-y; authenticity is the key word when it comes to social media. We like to think of ourselves as a virtual assistant agency with a bit of a personality, injecting a bit of humour, showing some original thinking: it all goes towards demonstrating that we’re human (we are, honestly!), which endears your audience (your customers and clients) to you. And if you do want to do the “Get This Offer Now” or “Like, Comment, Share To Win” –type posts, don’t do it too frequently or you may get reported as spam!
6. DON’T just sign up for every social media network
Not every social media network is right for you. You don’t have to have a Facebook page or a Twitter account. It depends entirely where your customers are. Focus your resources on the channel that will provide most ROI. For example, a B2B SAAS offer will probably do best on LinkedIn, while a fashion-product aimed at teens may work best on Snapchat or Instagram.
7. DO be consistent
Make sure your logo is the same across all social networks, that you are using the same colours, and that your posts all use the same tone of voice (something that should be in your social media policy – see above). It feels unprofessional if there is a different experience on different channels. The virtual assistants we provide to our clients often have some expertise in this, and understand the need for brand consistency.
8. DON’T be hyperactive
You know the type: they post every five minutes and dominate your home feed. Eventually you have to ‘unfollow’ them. The same happens in business. Don’t be that person brand! Too much, too often, especially on product or service launches, and you’ll turn people off. The solution is (and this only comes with experience and experimenting) to find a rhythm that works for your particular audience.
9. DO use video
It’s a fact that video gets a lot more engagement than photos, text and shared links. So why aren’t you producing any? It doesn’t have to be long to be effective – our brains process video 60,0000 times faster than text, and statistics show that last year, 75% of all videos published were less than 2 minutes long. Remember: the first 10 seconds are what pull the viewer in.