This is a guest post by David Murton, a professional writer and webmaster.
Image by: Lee
Social media sites can be a great asset to any company, helping them to connect with customers and build relationships with new clients. They are also great for introducing new products and posting advertisements such as slide shows and commercials. However, social media can also be damaging to a business that doesn’t handle their accounts properly or accidentally posts personal information to a public account. Safety is also a concern because social media accounts are vulnerable to hacking. Here are six ways that a social media blunder could ruin your business.
Hackers don’t usually wear Halloween costumes (although some of them do), but they can be scarier to a business than any ghoulish trick-or-treater. Hackers can use programs to gain access to a company’s social media account and post information that is damaging to the company’s reputation, or use personal or financial data to commit further crimes. It’s a good practice to never login to a business Facebook or Twitter account using a public WiFi connection, because this unsecured connection makes it much easier for hackers to compromise your company’s information. It’s also important to use quality passwords and to log out of any session when using a public computer.
2. Mixing Business and Personal
Most people who handle the Facebook or Twitter accounts for their companies also have personal accounts. It is essential to make sure that business and personal accounts are kept separate, and that only business appropriate comments are made on the business’ account. It’s a good idea to only log in to the business account while at work and only your personal account at home. This will help you to keep the accounts separate and avoid accidentally posting embarrassing personal posts to a very public account. The messages spread quickly, even if they are promptly deleted. Another reason to avoid mixing personal and business social media accounts is time management. Many people who are in charge of their company’s social media accounts allow themselves ten minutes per work hour to make sure that their page hasn’t been hacked and their customers receive a timely response to any questions or comments they post.
3. Ignoring Comments
Twitter has been in use by the public for five years, and at least 106 million Twitter accounts have been created by users from all around the world. Many people follow businesses on social media websites because they want to be able to interact with owners or employees of that business. It is very discouraging to customers when they post comments or ask questions and receive no response, which in turn could lead them away from your page. Businesspeople who are in charge of social media should check each site at least once per day to make sure that there are no questions or comments that are going unanswered. Providing contact information to the customer is a great way to handle questions that you’d rather not respond to publicly.
There is so much information on the Internet that it’s very possible for a business owner to unknowingly post copied content. Some narrow topics should be avoided because the lack of available information makes plagiarism more likely. Several online plagiarism detectors such as Copyscape are available to business owners who want to make sure that they don’t post content that has been plagiarized. Online plagiarism is a crime and it also makes the company look unethical, even if they are unaware that the content is copied.
5. Posting Too Often
Several companies have been ridiculed on Twitter because they repeatedly tweeted sales information using their company’s slogan. While it’s important not to ignore customer comments, it is equally important not to post sales advertisements several times a day. Most users get tired of seeing ads everyday and will stop reading information posted by companies who don’t post interesting or useful information. eMarketer, an advertising research company, estimates that about 88.2 million Americans will redeem at least one coupon code or coupon they found online. Targeting these online shoppers is important, but posting multiple ads per day may deter them from buying products or services from your company.
6. Think Twice, Or Three Times, Before Posting
Thousands of people read online posts at all hours of the day or night. Even if an erroneous posting is deleted quickly, it is likely that some people will have read it and may even have copied what was posted. Posts should be carefully proofread to ensure that they are error free. It’s a good idea to read the post aloud or ask someone else to read it before it is sent into cyberspace. Spell check is a good tool, but it doesn’t catch words that are used incorrectly or punctuation errors. Companies look foolish and unprofessional if their posts are incorrect or misleading, and they may lose potential customers because of a posting error. Customers love to point out any mistakes that companies have made, and, if the mistake is particularly embarrassing, they might re-post it on their own Facebook wall.
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