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. Entrepreneurship

    Top 5 Startups That Emerged in Raleigh

    Learn about the startup scene in the Research Triangle hub of Raleigh, North Carolina. Discover which startups are the hottest to emerge from this tech city.
  2. Markets

    How TheSkimm Works and Makes Money

    Obtain information on the popular news digest newsletter, theSkimm, and understand how email newsletter publishers generate revenues.
  3. Professionals

    10 Must-Follow Broker-Dealers on Social Media

    Stay in the financial markets 'know' by following these influential independent broker-dealers on social media.
  4. Investing

    Dick Costolo Biography

    Dick Costolo is a very polarizing man – half the world credits him with saving Twitter Inc. (TWTR) from its own popularity and making initial investors rich while the other half blames him for ...
  5. Professionals

    5 Ways to Merge Marketing and Your Hobbies

    Marketing your services is an ongoing part of your business. There's no better way to do it than by engaging in activities that you enjoy.
  6. Investing Basics

    10 Companies That Hipsters Love

    Learn about the different companies to which hipsters tend to gravitate, including Apple, Uber, Urban Outfitters and American Apparel.
  7. Professionals

    Financial Advisors: Social Media Is a Gold Mine

    Learn how social media is a gold mine for financial advisers. Maintaining a social media presence enables you to reach customers, and it provides social proof.
  8. Professionals

    Top Referral Tips for Financial Advisors

    A referral from a friend, colleague or industry expert can go a long way in getting more prospective clients to give you a call. Be proactive about it.
  9. Active Trading Fundamentals

    Is the Twitter Business Model Broken?

    Understand what Twitter is and how it seeks to increase its user base as well as its quarterly revenue. Learn whether its business model is broken.
  10. Professionals

    Advisors: Use Tech to Attract, Retain Clients

    Investors want an investment approach that blends technology and the human touch. Therefore, financial advisors should embrace technology.
  1. Brand Identity

    The components of the brand are created by the business itself, ...
  2. Venture Capitalist

    An investor who either provides capital to startup ventures or ...
  3. Negative Option Deals

    A dubious business practice that involves supplying a typically ...
  4. Quick Response (QR) Code

    A type of bar code which can be read by a digital device, and ...
  5. Mobile Advertising

    Mobile advertising is a method of advertising that appears on ...
  6. Mobile Marketing

    Mobile marketing is marketing that takes place via mobile devices ...
  1. 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 >>
  2. 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 >>
  3. 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 >>
  4. 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 >>
  5. 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 >>
  6. How has the Internet contributed to the long tail theory of marketing?

    The long-tail theory refers to a marketing strategy that relies on a large variety of slow-moving products to make huge sales ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

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!