In the age of Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, more and more people are logging in and sharing their views and opinions with their friends, connections and followers. There are great opportunities for businesses and marketers to share information about themselves and to gain valuable insights into the opinions of their target audience; what they like, what they don’t like, and what’s the latest buzz.
Although many individuals and brands are finding success in the Web 2.0 landscape, there are just as many stories of missteps and missed opportunities. It can be easy to forget the hazards of posting a tweet, status update, or blog post.
First and foremost, when posting anything on your company’s behalf or your own, remember that if you post it people will see it; now, in a few weeks, or even in a few years. Tweets, status updates and blog posts, once posted, are part of the public record. From a marketing perspective, the question to ask yourself is “How will this comment/picture/video reflect on me and my business? Who might see this, and what will they think as a result?”
There are many recent examples of material on social sites coming back to bite the people who posted them. Countless news outlets have reported instances of rescinded job offers after Facebook profile content is deemed unprofessional. Brands have been publicly decried for straying from the message their consumers identify with. In a recent example a Chicago woman was even sued by her apartment’s management company for defamation.
The effective uses of social media should not be overlooked, as there are many more positive examples than there are negative. But user beware, your digital brand will precede you and your business.
Be proactive with social media by recognizing its power and harnessing it for your benefit, not detriment. Understanding the possibilities and pitfalls is the first step in creating a productive social media message that will bring your brand forward.