TWEET OR TWIBEL
The Small-Business Owner's Guide to Advertising Injury

Chapter 3: Social Media Mistakes That Cost Small Businesses Big
Part 2: 7 Steps to Take Today to Get the Most from Social Media Marketing

Instead of looking at social media as a way to perfect the art of mindreading, think of it the same way you would a business networking event. Mingle, get your information out there, but don't linger too long if others seem uninterested in what you have to say.

Here are some other pointers to keep in mind as you interact with prospects online:

  1. Create a social media policy. Draft a document that outlines what you and your employees (whether you currently have any or not) can post on social media. Detail goals for social media accounts and strategies you'll use to achieve those goals. This will require an upfront time investment, but will save you time down the road making individual decisions about whether or not to post items. For more information, jump to the "Create a Social Media Policy for Your Small Business" section in this guide.
  2. Make a schedule for updating each of your social media accounts. Consider doing this with help from one of the social media software platforms we mentioned. Once you have a schedule, you can avoid the time and energy drain that deciding when to update pages can cause.
  3. Don't just listen. It's not enough just to post content to social media. You must engage with your followers and fans. Each interaction should deliver mutual value. For example, you can use social media for customer service opportunities
  4. Update account passwords. Make passwords strong and only share them with people in your business who will be in charge of updating accounts. Add password update reminders to your social media calendar at 60- to 90-day intervals.
  5. Identify an image source that won't lead to copyright violations. Getty recently announced an option for using its images free of charge. Other stock photo sites have reasonably priced packages that many small businesses can fit into their budgets. Most people have camera-equipped smartphones. Whatever your image strategy, make sure it keeps you out of danger of copyright violation.
  6. Review your usage of customer data and change it if it's too creepy. Include in your social media policy document what is and is not an acceptable application of the information you gather from social listening / monitoring.
  7. Apply for General Liability Insurance. If you don't already have a GL policy, apply for one to ensure that your business is protected in the event that your posts trigger claims of libel or slander.

For a more in-depth look into managing social media risks, jump to "Chapter 7: Social Media Marketing Tips for Small Business: Cut Your Advertising Injury Exposure."

Next: Chapter 4: Copyright Laws & Social Media: A Small Business Guide

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