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How to avoid a social media disaster

Privacy policy

Do you use social media to grow your business? While social media can have a very positive impact on your business, a social media marketing mistake can be detrimental and even potentially disastrous for your professional image and reputation.

Even if you are a seasoned Twitter or Facebook user there are a few pointers to keep in mind when you’re using social media for business, rather than personal reasons. Here are three of the most important to pay attention to if you want to ensure your social media marketing remains mishap free.

Privacy is still important

While most people are aware of privacy concerns when sharing personal information on social media, it’s easy to assume that the same rules don’t apply when you’re promoting a business. You want to make sure people can contact you and your posts are exposed to the widest audience possible but while this may be the case, it’s still important to be aware of the potential risks.

When you’re posting on social media you never know who is lurking. Someone could use your business information to gain access to your private details like your home address and phone number, or to access your accounts on other platforms. Take necessary precautions to stay safe online whether you’re using social media for business or personal reasons.

Protect your brand

While social media can be very informal it’s important not to let this informality deceive you into acting in an unprofessional way, or contravening your basic brand values. Anything you post on social media is permanent and people can and will go through your previous posts and photographs when making a judgement about whether or not they want to hire or work with you in the future.

Many of the businesses I work with create an official social media policy for their brand. This is a fantastic idea, especially if you have multiple people handling your social media accounts. By making it clear what is acceptable to post and what isn’t you can avoid any misunderstandings and ensure your brand always appears on social media the way you want it to.

Keep confidential information under wraps

While it might be tempting to post about that great new prospect you might just have in pipeline, or share those fantastic sales results you got for a long term client, be very careful about publishing potentially sensitive or confidential information. Not only does it reflect badly on you, it could land you in legal trouble.

If someone sends you something that you’d like to post on social media always check that they are happy for you to do so first. A reputation for being indiscreet is going to last far longer than any temporary kudos you might get for spilling a juicy secret.

When undertaken professionally, social media marketing can be a highly effective way to grow your business and boost your reputation. Just be careful not to make a mistake that will come back to haunt you in the future.

About the author:

Jo Macdermott is the Chief Marketing Consultant at Next Marketing in Melbourne. She has 15 years of marketing experience, is a Certified Practising Marketer and is a sought after marketing media commentator. Jo specialises in working with small and medium businesses. Follow her on Twitter here