Social Media in the WorkplaceEdit
Social media has come remarkably far since it first made appearances in the lives of everyday people. Modern social medias play a whole new game than they used to, quickly becoming a popular medium for businesses and companies to communicate, engage, advertise, and cater to their consumer population. This means the average business, company (large or small), and employee should acquire some general skills and knowledge about properly using social media in a beneficial manner for that business or corporation. It is beneficial to remember that social media is not just a medium for posting advertisements and promotions for a product or service. Social media is an effective way to engage with the customer and interact with them in a way that will cater to their wants and needs. It allows the customer a feeling of connection with the business and their service or product, which can only help to promote that business and its products.
Using Social Media ProfessionallyEdit
A social media branch of a business or company can serve many purposes: to increase the popularity of a company, product, or service, and to more successfully engage a target market. As with many ventures in the business world, the use of social media is a procedural activity. There are ways to use these new tools efficiently and ways that result in negative connotations. In approaching these medias professionally, one must know how to create proper posts, how to avoid common mistakes, and how to remedy inevitable mistakes.
- Improving Customer Loyalty - Simply using social media at all can increase customer interest and loyalty. Customers who engage with companies over social media spend 20 percent to 40 percent more money with those companies than other customers.  This means integrating social media into a business appeals to the customer on a psychological level which leaves them inclined to spend more.
- Reward Systems - While it may be obvious that social media can be a beneficial force for businesses, the “how to” can be daunting. However, there are plenty of interesting ways to reach your potential audience. Dell, for example, invites 10 of its loudest critics on an all-expenses-paid trip to Austin, Tex., for a meeting the company calls Customer Advisory Panel Days.  Reward systems don’t always have to be extravagant. Sometimes offering customers a free cup of coffee could be enough to initiate interaction.
- Setting Goals -Presenting social media to the public can be daunting, as this is a marketing style which has the potential to reach hundreds, thousands, or even millions of opinions. Because of this, it is helpful to set goals. Here are some ideas from the Social Times:
- Create a content plan and posting calendar, so you know when and what you’re saying.
- Find out what type of posts your target demographic specifically wants to see.
- Make it your goal to inform, not sell, as this more effectively builds consumer trust. 
- Applying Tactics - The successful use of social media relies heavily on tact. When posting, a business does not want to appear as pushy, as this can become boring, or aggressive, as this may seem rude. Instead, try a ratio-based approach when overtly promoting a business. For example, American Express Open Forum recommends a 1 in 7 approach, only overtly promoting a business in 1 out of 7 posts. 
- Using Multiple Medias - Although posting across multiple social medias isn’t required, if a company should choose this direction to bolster their reach, they should remember to diversify posts to maintain a personal touch. The primary goal of posting through social media is to develop a business personality; the way a business posts will determine that personality. A consumer is more willing to engage with the business that presents the best personality.
What to AvoidEdit
A business can benefit and expand itself and its promotional boundaries through the use of social medias such as Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. However, sometimes people fail to realize that a business can also hurt itself when posting on a social media page, putting out posts that can backfire immensely, or not including important information that could really make a difference. Below are some things to avoid and things to look out for when stepping foot in the social media game.
- Disregarding Concerns - Take customer/follower questions, complaints, or suggestions seriously. Disregarding customer concerns is not only ignorant, it is disrespectful and doesn’t contribute in any way to the personality of a professional business.
- Inappropriate Posts - Attempting to profit off of catastrophe should be an obvious pitfall. Unfortunately, this is a real blunder which has occurred in the past. Kenneth Cole famously used the Cairo uprisings as a shameless way to promote his new spring collection last year when he posted “Millions are in uproar in Cairo (See Kenneth Cole Incident, Right). 
- Lack of Foresight - McDonald's launched a campaign (#MCDstories) for customers to share their experiences with the company. This particular attempt at social media failed, when instead of posting positive experiences, some customers posted negative, and even appalling ones.  While positive public feedback is prized in the marketing world, negative feedback always reverberates louder than positive feedback because a single bad experience can be enough to dissuade other customers’ furthered interactions with a company. Weighing the potential ratio of positive-negative feedback is crucial to creating a social media presentation.
As aforementioned, it is a very real possibility, and even commonplace for businesses to make social media blunders. Because the use of social media in the business place is a somewhat new and dynamic practice, approaches are often necessarily experimental, and may go awry. On the other hand, sometimes unseen social mistakes concerning social media are made simply because of a seemingly innocent word or phrase. These mistakes and others can gather unwanted heat from the news media and the corporation’s followers. However it may occur, mistakes are a necessary part of business and they should be approached with appropriate protocol in order to cut down on potential losses.
- Using Logic - Consider the #McDstories incident mentioned previously. When a mistake isn’t blatantly offensive such as in this case, the there is the possibility of a logical, public response. The response should promote some side of the situation that lends itself to the merit of the company’s actual standards. McDonald’s handled their faulty social media attempt by stating that out of the 72,000 mentions it got that day only 2% of them were negative.  While this approach may help to “calm the storm,” it is better not to fight a losing battle and shut down projects that proves ineffectual or harmful.
- Apologizing - Public apologies are not always necessary. When they are, a mutual offense is usually projected by the followers of the business that warranted it. If a post or usage of social media presents information that coincidentally or even intentionally reaches the public as extremely innapropriate, an apology should become a priority. However, if the situation is not critical enough for a company to be certain about making an apology, it may be more professional for the company not to debase itself further or unnecessarily. To decide whether or not an apology is necessary, a business may consider the following guidelines created by Axia Public Relations for issuing a public apology:
- Research the source of the complaint and their reach of influence. Before rushing to apologize, understand the reach and influence of the unhappy party. Online conversations are frequently dominated by a very small, unrepresentative few who communicate often and aggressively. If it is not integral to your business, let things play out without any response or time investment, since those who have little influence will have little impact.
- Don’t focus on the unfavorable minority. Rather than investing time and energy in a few, put more effort into encouraging a supportive vocal majority. Focusing on your positive constituencies will often lead to more positive results, news, posts and engagement.
- Elevate and appreciate your supporters. It is much easier to thwart negative reviewers and avoid unnecessary apologies when you have droves of positive supporters to counteract the disapproving handful.
- Use social media to reinforce positive perception. Companies can use social media to negate misperceptions, while leveraging it as a tool to highlight desired opinions. There's no avoiding the fact that social media is vastly considered the primary vehicle for communication. Therefore it is essential for organizations to establish comfortable, working knowledge of best practices when engaging any audience through social media. [[ http://www.axiapr.com/blog/when-should-a-company-apologize-on-social-media%7C]]
Popular Social media and their ApplicationsEdit
|Build Communities, Allows for In-depth support, Connect to friends and followers on a personnal level||Takes time to build a group, Takes dedication and commitment to post everyday and respond,A lot of competition uses Facebook for Marketing|
|Quick, Quirky Comments and Responses, Allows for quick tech support||Keep posts within 140 character limit, Pacing of posts must be spread out|
|Allows for visuals of products, Uses eye catching pictures/videos to attract followers,advantages to retail and restaurants||Service business/company disadvantage, Long descriptions and hashtags overlooked, Does not excel at helping customers through messaging and commenting .|
Facebook is a highly integral social media that has been around since 2004. Facebook is one of the top social media used in the world today which attracts many companies and businesses to promote their services and products on it. Facebook uses a combination of posts, comments, pictures, videos and various other means to communicate between the user and their friends. One beneficial factor of Facebook is the use of groups which help build a community around their business or company. It allows people in the group to comment communally on different posts pertaining to whatever service or product the company is promoting. Help or support groups can also be created for fans or followers so that the company can progress with the assistance of continual feedback. Facebook posting can be casual and interactive, often allowing a company to communicate to their community on a more personal level other than just promotion. A disadvantage of marketing through Facebook is that there may be a lot competition considering Facebook is one of the most popularly utilized social medias. Another disadvantage of Facebook is that it takes a great deal of time and commitment to maintain a community around your company/business and to regularly update posts, comments, etc.
Twitter is one of the most interactive social media which allows for quick, quirky posts to allow for easy comments and responses. Twitter lets businesses/companies keep their followers up to date, create trends, and provide their followers for simple tech support. It also allows the business/company to show their personality of their goods and services for the people they are trying to attract. Disadvantages of Twitter is that it is constantly being updated and most posts are missed or skimmed over. There is a 140 character limit so you must be able to get well thought out sentences condensed in the character limit. Another disadvantage is that Twitter is about quick information so videos and a series of photos are often overlooked if they are too long. Also pacing of tweets is also a disadvantage, being that if you spam posts to often followers will start to become annoyed and frustrated.
Instagram is a social media which uses solely pictures or videos as posts. Therefore, a business would focus on posting images/videos that would grab consumers/followers interest yet inform them or promote the service or product. The image needs to have a purpose, sending viewers a message or a point to buy a certain product or use the service. Even images containing text which promotes a special offer or sale is a great way to use Instagram to expand business. Pictures and images are perfect for today’s modern society which runs on a rapid pace. Users and consumers today desire speed and convenience; they are not always willing to take the time to read information, so images can be a very efficient way to communicate to customers. Disadvantages of Instagram is that followers are usually looking for pictures that capture their eyes.Anything dealing with long descriptions and too many hashtags tend to be overlooked other than the picture. Also Instagram gives edge to retail business and restaurants because of their use of visuals for their products to look more appealing. Service businesses tend to struggle because other than logo`s and work situations it hard for them to capture eye catching pictures everyday. Also Instagram has commenting, but when comes to responding and messaging to customers Instagram does not excel at direct messaging
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