If your company is online, don't forget that social media is an extension of your branding, and image is everything. Once it's on the web, it's there forever, so whether it's Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Quora or another site, avoid these common missteps when speaking online for your company.

Don't Just Repeatedly Link to Your Products
Blasting out repetitive links to products or services you offer will only get you so far. Do it too often and at best you'll lose the interest of your followers, and at worst you're just spamming your customers. Social media is not the equivalent of an answering machine โ€“ sending out a one-sided, self-promoting message all the time will not endear you to your followers (or clients).

Do Offer Service or Product Enhancements
Think beyond pushing your products and consider how you can reward your followers and encourage them to be repeat buyers. For example, if your company sold makeup you could post video tutorials for creative ways to wear your products. Sourcing others' materials or partnering with a third party can accomplish this for little to no money, or you could take the extra step and create original branded content that can then be shared on other platforms and by other users to reach your brand even farther.

Don't Robo-Speak
It's awkward to read tweets and posts by someone who writes like they're made of metal. Avoid repeating posts and tweets whenever possible and try to write naturally โ€“ social media is all about making connections, not about one-sided conversations.

Do Act Human
Have some personality! Engage with your audience and be passionate about your product. Retweet or pass on info about the area your business is located in, and keep up with trends surrounding your products. Restaurants, for example, should tweet about specials but if your joint attracts foodies, why not slip in some information about the chef, the ingredients (are they locally sourced, for example), or hints about upcoming specialty dishes?

Don't Forget Who You're Speaking for
Internet anonymity may make us more brazen than we should be. Besides the obvious advice of not swearing or making inappropriate comments, remember that not everyone may read the entire conversation, so be aware of posts or tweets that could be taken out of context.

Do Stay Consistent and on Message
Speak as if you were face to face with a client or your company CEO. Don't express personal opinions as if they were the company's. Beyond politeness, stay true to your brand at all times in terms of tone and presentation.

Don't Misuse the Technology
"Fake it 'til you make it" is not your friend here. Using tools like hashtags, trends and the shorthand for retweeting and mass tweeting without understanding how they work will mean you missed an opportunity to connect more effectively and will make you stick out for the wrong reasons.

Do Take the Time to Learn
If you're not entirely sure of the best way to use a service like Twitter, create a personal or dummy account to try things out first (and read through the great information that's out there to get you started). Try picking a topic that is a hobby of yours, or better yet, try and see things from your customer's prospective and check out what your competition is doing well (and what you can improve on).

The Bottom Line
Social media doesn't have to remain a mystery. In the end, it's a valuable tool for connecting you with your clients, so take the time to learn its potential, even if you hire someone to take care of it for you. Be aware of your brand and your potential market โ€“ it's expansive with social media.

Related Articles
  1. Stock Analysis

    Google's 5 Key Financial Ratios (GOOG)

    Learn how calculating financial ratios such as the debt-to-equity ratio and price-to-earnings ratio helps investors evaluate Google's core business.
  2. Economics

    The Oscars and Golden Globes: Worth Their Weight In Gold!

    The Oscars and Golden Globes set off a wave of spending that creates new flows of funds in the economy and has major financial impact.
  3. Entrepreneurship

    Multilevel Marketing Isn't Always A Scam, But It Often Is

    Nerium and Amway are popular direct sales companies that recruit new buyers and sellers to make a profit. Sadly, many direct sales firms are scams.
  4. Term

    How Market Segments Work

    A market segment is a group of people who share similar qualities.
  5. Stock Analysis

    3 Obscure Twitter Accounts Making Money Off of You (TWTR)

    Learn how Twitter accounts that share quotes or information, such as @HistoryInPics and @Notebook, make money from their audiences.
  6. Investing

    5 Up and Coming Social Media Startups

    Although the days of Facebook's dominance aren't close to being over, here are some new creative platforms gaining traction on the worldwide web.
  7. Investing

    Barbie's Body Wasn't the Problem (opinion)

    Barbie's body type wasn't what killed sales, argues Angela Travillian. Other factors were at play.
  8. Stock Analysis

    Is Spirit Airlines a Real Threat to Southwest? (LUV,SAVE)

    Discover why the evolution of Southwest Airlines has decreased its impact on certain markets, and learn more about key financial data for the company.
  9. Term

    How Penetration Pricing Works

    Penetration pricing unveils a new product or service at an initially low price to attract customers away from competitors.
  10. Entrepreneurship

    A Career Guide For Marketing Majors

    Online content creation, print advertising, public relations, logo design, copywriting and website design are just a few marketing fields.
  1. Is a financial advisor allowed to pay a referral fee?

    A financial advisor is allowed to pay a referral fee to a third party for soliciting clients. However, the Securities and ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. How does a long tail become profitable?

    A long tail becomes profitable because the costs to produce, market and distribute a product or service in a niche are low, ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. How do companies with a large product portfolio use BCG Analysis?

    BCG analysis is used to evaluate an organization's product portfolio in sales planning and marketing. It is specifically ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. What are the similarities between product differentiation and product positioning?

    Product differentiation and product positioning are important elements in a marketing plan, and most marketing strategies ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. Why is product differentiation important in today's financial climate?

    Product differentiation is essential in today's financial climate. It allows the seller to contrast its own product with ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. What are the major categories of financial risk for a company?

    There are many ways to categorize a company's financial risks. One possible perspective is provided by separating financial ... Read Full Answer >>
Hot Definitions
  1. Harry Potter Stock Index

    A collection of stocks from companies related to the "Harry Potter" series franchise. Created by StockPickr, this index seeks ...
  2. Liquidation Margin

    Liquidation margin refers to the value of all of the equity positions in a margin account. If an investor or trader holds ...
  3. Black Swan

    An event or occurrence that deviates beyond what is normally expected of a situation and that would be extremely difficult ...
  4. Inverted Yield Curve

    An interest rate environment in which long-term debt instruments have a lower yield than short-term debt instruments of the ...
  5. Socially Responsible Investment - SRI

    An investment that is considered socially responsible because of the nature of the business the company conducts. Common ...
Trading Center