Setting Rules for Social Networking

There was a very good article on setting rules for social networking in the Denver Business Journal earlier this month. David Schachter, the author notes how seemingly easy it is to reach “billions of people instanteously” from your mobile device.

Approaching the topic from a legal perspective – he is a lawyer after all – he addresses key areas like Privacy, Authorized Corporate Communications and how not to get in trouble by dissing people on the Internet. That is all good stuff.

The point that most intrigued me though is the importance for companies to maintain an official site and direct / require employees who engage in social media marketing (smm) to reference the official site. One of the most critical issues for business in smm is AUTHENTICITY. What better way to be authentic than to identify yourself and your company and especially the company’s web site?

Often I speak with those new to social media that somehow want to “jimmy” the system. One way people want to do that is by having staff or relatives create rave reviews under false names. Who would catch you anyway? Seems to be the thought process. If you’re thinking like that, stop. You will get caught. And it will hurt.

Businesses large and small have been caught doing this and suffered the consequences – everything from the embarrassment of having to apologize to the world at large to, gasp, loss of revenue. But by being authentic, by telling people who you are and where the company web site can be found, you show that you are engaged and people will listen, even if you are the corporate mouthpiece.

So don’t be afraid to be you and to let people know who you are. Show them the company site and engage.

I do have to disagree on one point David made though. On the topic of blogging he makes the comment “blogging may be unavoidable” which, as I told David, would be like McDonald’s saying “running TV ads may be unavoidable”. Blogging isn’t something you should want to avoid if you want to grow and prosper. Blogging continues to drive a lot of traffic to our site and the way we have integrated our blog into the rest of our social media, it drives even more.

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