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Posted on Jun 27, 2011

How Does Your Business Handle Social Media?

Social Media - Franchise HelpThese days, every business, whether individually owned or a franchise, should have a strong social media presence.  But it is important to understand the difference between a website for business opportunities and a business page on a social media site like Facebook or Twitter. And once you are using social media, it’s equally important to remember to stay on message and keep it all business.

So how should your social media presence differ from your business’s website?

A company website is normally static and shows what a given company does and sells, while giving some information about the company.

Ideally there are squeeze pages, crawlers and other lead capture generators on the site, as well as pages where customers can actually purchase products. You may even offer a blog on your company site to keep your content fresh and interesting.  But, on a company website, for the most part, interaction with the customer should be limited to purchases and basic questions.

That is a far cry from social media sites.

Having company pages on Facebook, Twitter or even location sites like FourSquare and GoWalla is a great way to interact with customers and leads to generate buzz about your business, offer value and build rapport and relationships.

Simply put, it’s a new and more effective way of marketing.

The old way of marketing, casting a wide net in search of customers, just doesn’t make sense these days. Through social media, businesses can create a message that can be found by potential customers within their target audience without spending a load of resources.

But even though you may not spend a lot to build your presence, you still have to be careful because saying the wrong thing can hurt your business.  Social media is a great way to connect with old friends, make new ones and show the world what you did last Saturday night, but that is personal social media.  Your personal profile on Facebook or Twitter can have that kind of information, but your business page should not and small businesses or local franchises can be especially vulnerable because the owner is often somebody who everybody recognizes.

If you’re a franchisor or own a small business and you are constantly posting information on your company’s Facebook page, you have to always consider what is appropriate and inappropriate.  One rule of thumb business owners can follow when it comes to what is and isn’t appropriate for their company’s social media is “The Mom Rule.” If you wouldn’t want your Mom to see it or hear you talking about it, don’t post it. And always wait before posting something when you’re emotional.  If you had a particularly difficult day and one customer was the reason, don’t post about it. If the contractor that was remodeling your office has been slacking, don’t post about it.

Don’t air your dirty laundry, ever, on your company’s social media sites.

No matter how angry you may get, remember, it is a conscious decision to post something. It is incredibly easy to NOT post something and if you post the wrong thing it can have serious ramifications that you may not have considered.

Brad Sugars is the Founder, Chairman and President of ActionCOACH, the world’s number one business coaching and executive coaching firm, with more than 1,000 offices in 32 countries. ActionCOACH specializes in coaching small to medium size business as well as executive teams and group coaching. You can follow Brad on Facebook and Twitter.

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