Some clients are nervous about using social media for business use.
There are a number of reasons for this.
- Some worry that they will be publishing more information about themselves online, not just what they had for lunch or holiday snaps but actual business dealings.
- There are the well founded privacy fears.
- There is also the fear that the information might be searchable ‘for ever’. In their imagination, a foolish comment on Facebook will come back to haunt them again and again…
Whist there are elements of truth in these fears, most fear in life comes from the unknown, or a lack of understanding.
Most of us are now aware of the fact that we can adjust the security settings on our social media accounts. Most of us realize that employers search for the social media accounts of potential employees online. Most of us know that if we want something to be kept private, we don’t post it online in the first place. Period.
With our business related social media accounts we can also allow greater or lesser exposure to ourselves as individuals. A valuable online resource is no less valuable whether an Authors name is published or not. Authors have used ‘pen names’ for hundreds of years. Actors and Singers also change their names to something that they think is more appealing.
At the other end of the scale many online ‘personalities’ publish everything about themselves.
This isn’t just an online phenomena, I am half expecting a new TV reality series called ‘I’m a celebrity and I’m on the toilet’.
Many online businesses have the owners name as the name of the website and the company. In fact some people ‘are’ the business. These people who are too attached often find that they can’t find an exit, no buyer is willing to take the chance that the tribe will follow a new business leader.
Most of us are happy to be somewhere in between.
We want to create a brand, but at the same time we want our customers to feel like they are talking to a real person. This is how they can feel connected.
So, we put the brand front and center, but make it easy for an interested customer to know who they are dealing with.
OK, I get the idea, how do I go about creating a company social media presence?
As far as what user names and emails to use for each account, there is a short answer and a longer one.
The short answer is that is doesn’t matter from a tactical point of view. The longer answer involves an explanation and some recommendations.
When someone visits a social media page they are on that platform out of preference, they are going to like/favorite/re-tweet/comment/direct message etc on that platform. It is rare that they will hunt down an email address, go to their email account and write you an email. The main purpose of the connected social media email address is to log in and receive notifications.
Because of this there is no need to create any new email addresses at all. You ought to have domain based email addresses for your business, which are separate to your private ones. I expect that you are already doing this. You have a [email protected] and a [email protected] right?
So, to stop any accidental mis-posting where you post a private post to your business, or vice-versa, you simply set up a social media management platform for business use. We use and recommend Hootsuite but there are others. You connect your company pages to Hootsuite with your company based domain email address, ([email protected]), and your company user name (Robert Widget).
But I am too busy to manage extra social media accounts!
Then, every day during work hours you set aside a 30 minute block which is social media development time. You log onto Hootsuite and access all of your company social media accounts. Then you like, tweet, comment and share as much as possible for that 30 minutes. Then you log off. As a side note, 2×30 minute sessions will get you better results, but avoid spending too much time on social media unless you see a direct financial pay off.
For the rest of the day and evening you might dip into your personal Facebook that is connected to your smartphone through an app. You might see tweets that come up on your desktop or laptop that is logged on to your private account.
More about the mechanics of the social media management platform:
As soon as each social media account has a login it will be added to the Hootsuite platform where any one of your authorized colleagues can see notifications and make posts or updates. Remember that you won’t really be reading and responding to emails from people who found you through social media very often.
Facebook and G+ have social media pages that can get connected to your main accounts. Extra managers can be added or removed. Your companies Twitter page can be created separately. Linkedin only allows one company page per person, and only one administrator. So if you want multiple staff members posting, you need that management platform.
Whilst you could use any email address to set up your new company accounts, I advise that you use the company domain based emails for all new company social media accounts. So if occasionally someone does decide to email, the company email address matches up.
You ought to use your first name ([email protected]) to keep the personal touch if someone does decide to search for your email address. You could also use [email protected], [email protected] or [email protected] because it doesn’t matter, the email addresses are just for set up, notifications, and account security (to change passwords etc).
As far as keeping your private account separate, this is really easy. The social media management platform is the best way to go about this. But it is quite easy to keep things separate anyway.
For example, with Facebook, if you are a manager of the page, Facebook will ask you whether you want to post as Bob, or Robert Widget. You can decide which profile. With G+ it is even harder to make a mistake, because when you access the company page, your user profile changes automatically. With Twitter you can only be logged into one or the other.
But again, because you will probably be using the Hootsuite platform, only your professional profiles will be connected. This will eliminate the potential situation where you accidentally post as yourself. Don’t provide your social media management platform with private profiles, and you can’t post to the management platform, simple .
(By the way, people don’t know who a pages managers are unless they post as themselves and make it clear that they are the admin. Also, there is nothing wrong with posting with your private profile, its just that this article is geared towards those who don’t want to).
What if our clients don’t want to communicate with us through social media, they might have the same fears as us?
As far as clients not wanting to mix their private life with business it is up to them. If they don’t want to like or follow your company page then they won’t. They will decide. Some people use their social media pages only for work, or only for family, only for friends. Some people even create new social media accounts to be an internet troll, or to cheat on their partners. Again its up to them.
You are just offering the opportunity to communicate with you on the platform of their preference, That’s all.
Google Plus is not as ‘busy’ as the other main social media platforms. Some clients question whether is is worth the time and effort in creating G+ pages. So, in relation to the question of whether you should create G+ accounts, we think ‘yes’ you should.
The issue of having too many social media accounts to manage doesn’t matter because you are adding all of your social media accounts to your social media management platform. You will be able to re-use profile pictures and other graphics.
Caution: It can take a while to create an active social media account.
Remember MySpace? it was huge and now no-one uses it. No-one knows the future, how would you feel if one day, you have a huge following on Twitter or Facebook, but it is inactive because ‘the herd’ has moved to G+ and you have to start from scratch? Never underestimate Google, they completely dominate search, one day they might do the same with social media.
Balance is important though, pick 4 or 5 that are relevant to your business. For most businesses Linkedin, Facebook, G+ and Twitter make sense. If your business is more visual in nature (flower arranging, art & design etc) then Instagram and Pinterest might make more sense that Linkedin.
This sounds like a lot of work, can’t I just use Facebook?
If you spend valuable time and effort creating an article for your company then you want to get the word out… Bearing in mind you have set up the social media platform with a single log-in, all you have to do is cut and paste the URL to your 4 social media accounts. You add a few sentences that might inspire thought or solicit questions… Why would you miss out on the extra exposure from some of those accounts? Once the pages have been created and added to the platform, the posting is quick and easy.
Don’t I have to keep posting to get benefit?
Because of the social media management platform there is only one login to potentially 4, or even 10 social media accounts. If there are 5 of you in your company who you ask to make a post per day, across only 4 social media properties, this is 20 new posts every day. That is a decent amount to build a following with. This can be done with one social media dashboard, and with one login.
What can we post about?
Obviously you want to post about your own company and its offers, but you can, and need to share other peoples interesting updates and products. There are software tools to help you find related articles, and even schedule the posting of them a week or a month in advance.
Bear in mind you are probably already posting industry related updates on Facebook or Linkedin. You will simply syndicate these same updates to more social media accounts each time. You will also get organized, and get help if needed.
I’m still concerned about the privacy thing!
As far as keeping private and work social media accounts separate, ensure that business email addresses are used for business, and Gmail/Hotmail/AOL type addresses are used for private. You can go a step further and increase the security settings on your private accounts. So only family and friends can see them, and so that they are not shown in the search engines.
Finally, if you are worried about complaints from unhappy customers, or internet trolls, remember that security settings can be changed so that every comment is approved, or the page can become a closed group if there were too many incidents of abuse. Admins can delete or edit every comment or post anyway. Worst case scenario you can just close the page.
It might be that Facebook flops for your businesses. Perhaps G+ will never take off for you. Who knows the future? Considering some huge businesses are literally built on each social media platform, I think it is worth a try for you. Some companies sole source of revenue comes from Facebook, or even Instagram. It depends on your industry, your companies business model. A bit of luck is involved too.
The world is changing, people are spending more and more time on social media. They are even on it while watching TV, who would of thought that this would have occurred. At the same time traditional advertising continues to be less cost effective. You ought to at least try to go where peoples attention is going, or risk being left behind.
We are hoping that this lengthy article helps to provide a tipping point to your complete understanding of the concept of social media marketing.
Because we have Hootsuite, there is separation from our private accounts, and minimal extra work to manage each extra account. There won’t be a situation where your misguided best friend posts the picture of the time you cross dressed for a birthday celebration on your work Facebook account. Likewise your work colleagues will never be able to wind you up about your hand painted porcelain egg collection that you polish every day.
As far as people following you, that is their decision, you don’t need to ram it down their throats. If they want to follow on Twitter they can do. If they prefer G+ then that is fine. If they only use Facebook because they don’t have time for any other platforms then great. If they don’t like social media and want to Skype, email, telephone or write a letter then that’s OK too. You just want to have as many lines of communication open as possible for the good of your business.