How to avoid social media pitfalls in your career or business

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In this day and age almost all of us are represented on social media as individuals, brands or companies. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and the rest are no longer exciting buzzwords: they are where all serious players need to have some kind of a presence in order to compete. However, there is still a lot of misunderstanding around how to behave on social media and how to get the most out of it. So if you are on social media as a business person, whether you are self-employed or work for a company, there are some serious pitfalls you need to avoid in order to ensure that you don’t bring shame on yourself, lose customers, or worse still lose your job.

The first rule of social media is to think carefully about which platforms you need to be on and why. If you are a customer-facing company (for example a bank or rail service as opposed to an advertising agency or a publishers) then you will need to be prepared for complaints, queries and questions on social media, particularly on Facebook and Twitter. If you are not prepared to deal with this and do not have the right strategies in place to do so then you could well be doing more harm than good.

Blindly following a predetermined social media publishing plan in the face of customer unrest will lead to tears; you only have to Google ‘social media disasters’ to find this one out for yourself. To avoid this, make sure you have expert vision behind your social media plan and ensure that you have the ability to be reactive to any unforeseen circumstances occurring.

As an individual, the number one rule is not to let your private life leak into your professional social media presence in a way that could be damaging. Those drunken Instagram pictures or ill-judged tweets can be screen-grabbed in a second before you have chance to rethink and delete them, so before posting always ask yourself if you would be prepared to say and do in public what you say and do in social media.

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