Social media gives people the ability to connect with other people and businesses throughout the world with technology that allows us to interact and share ideas.

Social media’s operating word is the word “social.”  We live in a world where businesses are being forced to be more transparent and interact with their customers. This phenomenon is quickly changing the game of business. If your business is interested in using social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn (the three most popular formats), you must follow these three rules of the game: 

  1. Social Media is a Dialog, Not a Monologue. If you are afraid to interact with others and open yourself up to rich dialog including possible criticism, then social media isn’t a space you want to play in. Transparency is key and companies like Dell, Kodak and Ford are in the game. These companies are providing great information on their products, customer service and general company news via Twitter. Dell created a Social Media for Small Business page on Facebook which allows small businesses to interact. Dell has several Twitter handles for new product information, customer service and how to find cheap Dell computers around the world. This would have been unheard of even 3 or 4 years ago. 
  2. Be Valuable. Offer information to your clients that will help them perform their job better or learn something they can share with others. Think about the last 10 questions a potential client asked you about your business or your industry and share the answers. If one person asked then its a great possibility others are struggling with the same question. We have the ability to engage people in ways we didn’t have before and reach thousands. If you share good valuable information, people will follow you and become “fans” of your company/brand.
  3. Have fun. When you’re having fun with this medium, people notice. You don’t have to post business information all day. Be real. Sharing funny anecdotes throughout the day is interesting and puts a human element into your online presence. Just keep it to a minimum and use common sense. Don’t post what you ate for breakfast (unless it was somethin really unusual). Don’t post information that is too personal like your address or problems with your significant other. If you can make people laugh, they will remember it, but keep snark out of the conversation. Wisecrackers don’t get very far, especially when it gets ugly.

Businesses today have some of the greatest tools to communicate with customers, potential clients and vendors than we ever had in the past. Knowing the rules of the game in social media will help your company go farther faster than ever before. If you continue to share good, solid, trustworthy information and have fun while doing it, you will find social media gratifying not only for business, but personally as well.

3 Responses to Three Rules of Social Media for Business

  1. Desire Durang
    Apr 23, 2009

    This is right on. Twitter gets a lot of flak too but it’s all in how you use it. When used smartly it really has the potential to get you noticed. Good article.

  2. Raymond Crandall
    Apr 23, 2009

    My original comment was taken down for looking like spam to the Editor, Eric, which is a respectable reason to do so.

    No one likes spam. I understand why you did that now.

    So I decided it would be acceptable if I stated my case in a respectable manner. Sounds fair, no?

    I wrote about this topic about a month ago. The wording was slightly different. However I feel it is very important that the internet becomes more about helping others and acting like intelligent people, rather than porn, fart jokes, and corporate institutionalized systems that could care less about you beyond a profit margin being met that quarter.

    Like I said,

    Eric was kind enough to explain to me that my writing style is unprofessional, which is what I aim for. I am trying to make a point. I am trying to help the cause. I feel like everyone is starting to move in sync with that cause.

    Eric, please leave this up.

    The reason I prefer to write like a drunken hooligan is because I know people take first impressions and presentation far too seriously. Would you find it interesting know I had an intelligent conversation about stem cell research and the philosophy behind it with a man who could barely speak? Most people would most definitely assume he was incapable of doing so. Do you understand why I behave in such a grotesque manner now?

  3. John DiPietro
    Apr 24, 2009

    Great article. Brief, concise and to the point!

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