Social media and business – doing it wrong can be harmful

Social Media and Business - The DangersThe amount of articles, tips, and tricks for mixing social media and business as a means to grow your business increases on a daily basis and have almost become overwhelming to social media and search guru’s. That being said there is also a very good reason for there being so much information available, which is that if social media marketing is done right it can definitely deliver results.

 

As with any marketing plan or campaign, to deliver results it is vital to discuss goals and objectives beforehand to determine what social media platforms should be used to accomplish specific goals. Many businesses, and more specifically smaller businesses, jump into social media because it seems like the norm and ‘the right thing to do’ and do not take into consideration risks such as damage to brand reputation, disclosure of confidential information, corporate identity theft, customer complaints and compliance violations.

 

5 Risks involved in social media and business

 

Private information

Combining social media and business can lead to private business information being leaked or employee updates being posted to the wrong page. When your business decides to embark on the social media journey certain rules and policies need to be put in place to protect the business and the brand. A business cannot afford to have a former employee possibly exposing private information to get back at a staff member or the business itself. This may sound extreme, but has happened many a time. The other form of misplaced information that needs to be carefully monitored is staff or social media administrators posting personal updates on business pages without them knowing. Rules need to be put in place to avoid these happenings as well as a recovery plan for if they do.

 

Lack of participation

Social media is inherently social and promotes interaction and conversation between businesses, brands and people. Having social media platforms does not mean you can take it off the to-do list and focus on something else. If your marketing strategy involves social media then an understanding needs to be reached with regards to social media and business to ensure that these platforms are used to serve their purpose of promoting interaction and highlighting the social nature of your business.

 

Little or no strategy

Deciding that your business is going to sign up for various social media channels is all good and well, but without a water-tight social media strategy your social media channels can become a ticking time bomb. When it comes to social media and business it is extremely important to have a strategy that is aligned with the business, marketing and sales goals of the business. Social media is a tool for business to increase brand awareness, sales, leads and credibility, but if these activities are not aligned with the overall business strategy then it may have the opposite effect.

 

Uninformative posts

Linked closely to strategy is the need to provide information that followers are interested in and that promote interaction. Posting or sharing information for sake of filling up your timeline and is not what social media and business are designed for. Make sure that you incorporate social media analytics into your strategy to track the success or failure of posting certain information. This will provide you with valuable insights into what your followers are interested and want to see more of.

 

Complaints

Mixing social media and business can create an avenue for complaints that, if not monitored carefully, can be extremely damaging to brands. To ensure that your business does not fall prey to social media channels becoming complaint hotlines, make sure that any and all complaints, questions or queries are dealt with speedily and professionally. Provide specific alternative contact information to take matters further or get someone in the company to call them directly. You do not want any form of criticism to gain any support.

 

Considering the above, social media still remains one of the best ways to spread information and build brand awareness. Not only does it help with information and awareness, it also gives your business a voice and personality and provides your followers with a platform to interact and increase trust. However, if certain steps are missed or purposefully left out then there are a lot of dangers that can be associated with social media and business. Always treat social media interactions as you would any other form of business communication and be professional and cautious with your businesses information.

 

Savvy Sprout is a Cape Town based marketing and design company with many specialist modern marketing skills. One of those skills is providing social media marketing in Cape Town to businesses of all sizes to increase brand visibility and awareness. If you would like to find out how Savvy Sprout can help with your social media activities and strategy then contact us and we will provide you with all the information you need to have a successful social media arm to your business.

 

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