Social Media - Think Before You Type
The wonderful thing about the World Wide Web is that anyone has the opportunity to set up a website, buy goods online or join a social network. We are able to get in touch with people all over the world and it is great to share opinions, photographs, tweets, blogs and all sorts of other information. However this lack of restriction has lead to some abusing this facility. Unfortunately some people think they can write anything online and there are no consequences.
The number of online defamation cases is rising and as social networking sites get more popular this looks set to continue. With everything you post on a social site you are building your online reputation through a number of usually totally public sources so it is important you think before you type, especially if you are voicing an opinion about someone or something else.
The addictive appeal but also the potential downside of social networking is that it is instant. Once your message is posted it is there for the whole world to see and if you make a mistake, just deleting your post doesn’t mean that no-one necessarily saw it. Being in print and not the spoken word also makes things like sarcasm and a joking tone more difficult to determine. Would you be happy reading what you wrote to your manager or your mother?
Facebook have tightened their security but have you set your Facebook privacy settings as high as they will go and is it only your friends and family reading what you type? If not then before you write anything are you happy for everyone, and I do mean everyone, to read what you are saying? I am sure you have all heard the cautionary tale of a family updating their Facebook status to ‘going on holiday’ and only to come back and find their house burgled. Although this is an extreme case, think who might be reading your message before you post.
Social Media For Business
Social media is not just for personal use, it can be a great tool for marketing your company, building a following, getting your brand name out there and hopefully getting valuable feedback from your customers. It is important to spread the word about your business, keep them informed of news, promotions and discounts and build up a loyal following and hopefully this will turn into a loyal customer base.
However the pitfalls of social media mentioned above are magnified and therefore even more important if you are representing a business online. It is important to consider the tone you use; you want to come across as human beings and not a faceless corporation, but not to get too personal or off topic. If you are writing for a business, then unless what you are selling is intrinsically tied in with the type of lifestyle you lead, it is best not to tell your potential customers what restaurant you ate in at the weekend.
Keep your posts professional and to the point, but still with a human side and with Twitter do not use too many hashtags or abbreviations else the message may not be readable. In particular, tweeting about your company’s clients is risky and even the most well-meaning comment can be misinterpreted. If you are going to mention your clients make sure it is positive and there is no double meaning.
The golden rule with social media is if you are in any doubt, do not post.