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Make sure social media is a blessing not a poisoned chalice

Gemma Bowker

Gemma has been involved in managing and writing campaigns, strategy and journalism for more than 20 years, working with companies and organizations worldwide. With wider experience in the film, media and digital sphere, and a PhD from the University of Manchester, she brings strong creative flair to Golden Brain.

Social media offers some great opportunities to develop your brand online, but comes with pitfalls that could prove disastrous to your image.

Businesses of all kinds are increasingly using social media as their shop window and, used responsibly and cleverly, it can be an important tool for raising your brand awareness. In fact, more than three-quarters of all businesses (77%) now use social media to reach their customers.

For organizations with a small marketing department and limited budgets, social media provides a means by which employees, customers and journalists can all help to spread the word about what they are doing and what they offer.

At Golden Brain, we work with companies on the full range of social media platforms. However, B2B businesses just starting out should create a presence on LinkedIn first, as the go-to platform to form business connections, communicate directly with customers and establish a voice in your industry. Facebook is now growing more slowly than in the past, as more organizations switch to Instagram, which is moving heavily in the direction of video content. This requires time and investment to produce videos that are compelling and professional. While X (formerly Twitter) can be a useful marketing tool, growth is often slow and it requires creative content.

Think before you post…

Even at the highest levels, tweeting or posting without thinking can be disastrous. For instance Twitter’s former CFO Anthony Noto mistakenly tweeted out a direct message about a possible acquisition in 2014. It was promptly deleted but not before being widely reported in the media.

It is always worth making sure any employees who are active on social media have been fully briefed on how to manage their business and personal online presence, including privacy settings. Don’t make the mistake a Chrysler contractor did and mix up business and personal accounts.

And, while it tends to be more serious and less susceptible to questionable opinions and controversy than Facebook or X, there are still risks with LinkedIn. In fact, there is a subreddit dedicated to insufferable LinkedIn content.

Some suggestions to enhance and safeguard your brand on social media

In order to provide a quick refresher on what to do and not do on social media, here are my top tips:

  1. DO make sure posts are short, sharp and to the point. Often, the shorter the content the more time you should spend on it, as each word needs to work harder. Proofread and fact check every post – remember Donald Trump’s covfefe tweet? 
  2. DON’T give away sensitive, confidential or protected company information online. 
  3. DO include links and calls to action (eg sign up here, find out more, get in touch). 
  4. DON’T get caught up in debates or arguments online (it never looks good and your time is valuable). Delete or respond to any negative comments and step away. 
  5. DO interact with your audience, and ensure your interactions online are respectful and empathetic. Be aware of how your messaging may jar with current national or international news stories. 
  6. DON’T post too often, spam with irrelevant content or take on more social media activities than you can handle. You don’t need to comment on everything that happens

Finally, social media is an add-on not a substitute for your other marketing practices, instead it should form part of an overall communications strategy. If you need help developing your social media strategy and content, or creating a holistic marketing communications campaign, please get in touch with us at Golden Brain, where we can help you develop a unique online voice for your brand.