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 – 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 – 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 – it's expansive with social media.

Related Articles
  1. Professionals

    RIAs: Why Discounting Your Fees Is a Big Mistake

    For RIAs, lowering your set price is a short-term fix. Here are a few other ways to reach out and appeal to a wider array of potential clients.
  2. Investing Basics

    7 Iconic Brands That No Longer Exist

    Understand the value of branding and what makes good brands great. Learn about seven iconic brands that failed and no longer exist.
  3. Stock Analysis

    What Makes the 'Share a Coke' Campaign So Successful?

    Understand how Coca-Cola implemented the successful "Share a Coke" campaign. Learn about the top three reasons why the campaign was successful.
  4. Insurance

    Using LinkedIn to Find Life Insurance Leads

    Learn how LinkedIn can help you generate leads as a life insurance agent, and understand the steps to turn your profile into a lead-generating machine.
  5. Professionals

    How to Break the Ice with New Clients

    Conducting an effective, initial client–advisor interview is an essential part of any advisor’s job. Here are a few tips on how to get started.
  6. Professionals

    How Advisors Can Carve Out a Social Media Niche

    Social media is a great way for financial advisors to build a brand and potentially generate leads if it’s properly used. Here are some tips.
  7. Professionals

    Why Advisors Must Create a Mobile Strategy NOW

    Mobile devices will replace laptops and desktops. Financial advisors must deal with this revolution to ensure their marketing strategies are up to speed.
  8. Stock Analysis

    Social Media Networks That Are Cashing in on the 2016 Presidential Election

    Learn how social media continues to shape the way political campaigns are run. Through social networks, candidates can reach voters directly like never before.
  9. Entrepreneurship

    Why Every Small Business Needs A Website

    The reality of living in the twenty-first century is that customers find business information and product offerings predominantly on websites, and small businesses without an online presence ...
  10. Investing News

    Thursday Intel: Will Q4 Offer a Fresh Start?

    Investor hopes for a fresh start to the world economy in this quarter may be misplaced.
  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 >>

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Ex Works (EXW)

    An international trade term requiring the seller to make goods ready for pickup at his or her own place of business. All ...
  2. Letter of Intent - LOI

    A document outlining the terms of an agreement before it is finalized. LOIs are usually not legally binding in their entirety. ...
  3. Purchasing Power

    The value of a currency expressed in terms of the amount of goods or services that one unit of money can buy. Purchasing ...
  4. Real Estate Investment Trust - REIT

    A REIT is a type of security that invests in real estate through property or mortgages and often trades on major exchanges ...
  5. Section 1231 Property

    A tax term relating to depreciable business property that has been held for over a year. Section 1231 property includes buildings, ...
  6. Term Deposit

    A deposit held at a financial institution that has a fixed term, and guarantees return of principal.
Trading Center
You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!