We are told repeatedly to use social media in business, but just how are we supposed to do to make the best use of it?
In most instances, it is in your best interest to separate your personal life from business use. That is almost a given, but it is something that is often ignored. Keep in mind that people do check your background when they are looking to employ you and this can include your online presence – anything that involves you online – so you should still keep it clean so to speak even if you do keep your business and personal accounts separate.
HOW Magazine offers up some helpful insights on to and not to use social media in their article: “8 Social Media Do’s & Don’ts for Creative Professionals.”
- Use LinkedIn
- Explore other social media platforms
- Curate your own content
- Make your page attractive to visitors
- Be invisible
- Over share
- “Set and forget” your settings
- Abuse hashtags
Let me reiterate the importance of these suggestions with a resounding “yes” to each one.
Many people only use Facebook as a means to get themselves out there. Facebook is not a professional network. LinkedIn is the social media network intended for professionals. If you want to mingle with others in business, consider a LinkedIn profile and keeping it up to date. You can also set up a business profile page on LinkedIn. You can always keep your resume up to date for that “just in case” situation.
Using social media is all about experimentation and finding out what works and what does not. Many people have tried Twitter and found that it does not work for them. If it does not work for you, please try something else. Do not continue to use something that is not working. However, you need to give a social media platform a fair try before you consider it a failure for you. One log-in does not count. You need to log-in repeatedly and consistently over an extended period of time before you say it is not working for you. If after say a month, it is still not working feel free to delete your account and try something else. Also please keep in mind that timing is very important. Right now might not be the right time for a particular social media platform.
It is important that you are responsible for your own content. If you are not a web guru, then certainly hire someone to design and maintain your website. Social media is designed to be different, it is easier to manage without being a web expert. You do not need to be 100% computer savvy to use social media. You simply need to learn some simple guidelines and try. You can share a variety of different content on social media, just make it relevant to your business.
Just like it is important to make sure that your website is attractive and easy to use for your visitors, it is just as important to make sure that your social media pages are inviting to your users. Your business should have an universal look and feel across all online platforms. This uniformity will make all your customers (users) feel comfortable no matter which platform they are on. Use your logo on all your social media platforms. If you do not have a logo, get one. If your logo does not work well on all platforms, consider having an alternative logo made that plays nice with social media. It is acceptable to have a logo that has been slightly modified to fit multiple media formats. The key is familiarity. It should be the same but fit the space.
It is important to remember that once you make your social media debut, you need to remain visible. Social media is about visibility. Once you open an account it is better to stay active than inactive. If you do go inactive and feel that you will not use the account for anything in the future, it is probably in your best interest to close the account entirely. Your visibility may vary from another person/business, but decide what you are comfortable with. If you are only going to post 1x a year, it is probably best to close your accounts or try to improve visibility over time.
It is very common for people to overshare on social media. Do not air your dirty laundry. Do not share things that would be best kept to yourself. This includes the last beer you had and the last keg party you attended. These do not impress your boss or potential employers. It may also be a turn off for potential clients if you are a freelancer. Think before posting.
Most social networks make changes to their platforms on a fairly regular basis. You need to pay attention to these changes and ultimately the settings that are associated with them. This is especially true with your privacy settings. Facebook is especially bad about making changes to their platform where it changes your settings. Be aware that there are no settings online that you can simply “set and forget.”
Hashtags are fun to use, but they are over used. Just do not do it without researching how to use them properly.