There are a lot of advantages to using social media for small business but it does have its pitfalls too. One of which is being over familiar with what information you choose to share on the social networks.
I don’t know about you, but I still get rather uncomfortable at the thought of sharing far too much online. In fact, over the 20 years I have had the internet, it is only now that I have started my business that people even know my real name. Yes, even the people I have spoken to for YEARS online (still) call me by my online name.
But, the advent of social media does mean that your small business needs to have transparency to be credible. People talk to people; people do business with people they know and trust. This is why social media works! Online, people get to know you when you share information about your life not just pitch your latest offers.
Because it is good for your business to be human online, it does not mean you should share every little thing that happens, even if it is in 140 characters or less!
To protect your business reputation and of course your privacy, here is a brief list of definite no-no’s when it comes to sharing information on popular social media channels…
1. Don’t use a personal profile for your business page.
Not only is this a breach of terms for some social media networks, such as Facebook, but you do want to keep your some of your personal and business life separate – oh and remember to post updates on the correct page! If you do use your personal profile for business contacts too, control just how much of your personal life they can see by tweaking your settings.
2. You’ve had a great night out?
I’m sure you enjoyed it, but keep the embarrassing photos and videos taken on peoples phones to yourself. Pictures of you throwing up in some poor persons flower pot or videos of you stripping may be funny to you and your friends. Your clients and prospective clients really do not need to see you being THAT human!
Of course, your friends can still “tag” you on Facebook. Update your privacy settings so these tags are not shared with everyone. On Facebook go to Account > Privacy Settings > Customise settings
3. Your kids…
It is one thing to talk proudly about your family and kids, and an occasional update on what you have been up to at the park or wherever, does make you more human. For the sake of privacy, don’t share photos or family videos on your public business pages – you really don’t know who is watching.
In the same vein, there is no need to let the whole world know your holiday dates either.
5. Your relationships or sex life
Did you know that Facebook is increasingly being cited in divorce hearings? Over in the USA its the number 1 source of evidence in divorce settlements according to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. Not all publicity is good publicity!
6. Non-PC Jokes
In this world of political correctness gone mad, there is someone, somewhere that will be offended by practically anything. Yes, us Brits are pretty much well-known for our tendency to find humour in virtually any situation and we are great when it comes to laughing at ourselves.
But, this is one area where your personal preferences should not overlap into your business profile, unless you’re prepared to deal with the backlash that can follow…
It isn’t just football players or conservative party candidates that are at risk here, although they are more likely to hit the headlines.
7. Finally automatic updates…
I’m sure it is not just me who simply doesn’t care how many people you have killed in Mafia Wars, or fields you need ploughing…
On the same sort of note, just automatically sharing your blog posts or tweets on Facebook or Linkedin is downright boring (and lazy!) Spamming status updates with such inanities is the fastest way to be unliked, unfriended and blocked.
When it comes to using social media for small business, a bit of common sense is all that is needed. Think before you click that status update. Remember that potentially the world is watching, these days your future clients almost certainly are.
Follow My Local Business Online on Twitter or Facebook – I promise not to share too many intimate details with you! I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments about social media and your business. Have you ever made any of the above mistakes?Social Media for Small Business: 7 Status Updates to Avoid. by Jan Kearney