Social media is an important communication tool for businesses and organizations. It’s important because so many people, especially younger people, use social media as a primary means of communication. They get news and information, stay in contact with friends, share photographs, express opinions, state likes and dislikes, and conduct conversations through social media outlets such as Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, Instagram, and others. The popularity of social media makes it a valuable marketing tool that can help organizations increase their exposure and build their brands.
Recently, there have been some social media gaffes that provide a learning experience for leaders. The most current one from the sports world came just a week or two ago when the mother of a well-known college quarterback used Twitter to criticize a quarterback of another team about his use of the English language after a television interview. The business world provided a recent social media blunder as well when a public relations executive posted a disparaging racial remark prior to her trip to Africa. It’s hard to believe a PR executive would not know any better, but this emphasizes the importance of being careful with your use of social media.
Making mistakes on social media can have a damaging impact on your personal brand, your organization’s brand, or both. So it’s important to set some guidelines for your team when it comes to use of social media. Have a social media plan that includes goals and strategies and also some parameters for social media use. Mike Golic, a sports commentator for ESPN, summed up one such parameter very succinctly when he advised not to put anything on social media that you wouldn’t say to someone’s face. This is certainly an easy to comprehend guideline that can keep you out of social media hot water. The advice I would give is to “Think before you Tweet, Like, Post, Follow, Blog, Email, Send, etc.” Remember that what you send out on social media will be seen by the world. Then think how what you are about to share with the world will make others feel. If it could be offensive to anyone, anyone at all, it probably won’t help build your brand and you may want to delete before sending.
Social media can help you build brand equity if you use it correctly and effectively. But we’ve also seen numerous cases where social media has caused brand erosion. So make sure your team understands your guidelines for social media. Remind them to think before they send. And social media will help build a positive brand for you and your organization.
Thanks for reading,
Ways to follow Dr. Jim Earle:
Twitter – @jvearle
Blog – http://www.jvearle.wordpress.com
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Book – 100 Yards of Success: Leadership Lessons from College Football, http://www.tatepublishing.com/bookstore/book.php?w=978-1-62510-731-2