Rules of Engagement for Social Media

I’d like to thank and give credit to Susan Lahey from the Silicon Hills News for writing this article and to Clive Hornsby @CliveHornsby for tweeting this link.

Social media is a conversational tool that is meant to engage and inform.  But do you know how to use social media in  your business?  If you answered that you do not know how to use social media in your business correctly, that’s ok, because most people do not know how to properly use social media.


Ok, now that you pointed out my flaw in not understanding how to use social media correctly, please tell me how.

1. Have a clear objective.  What do you want to get out of social media?  A feel good following to pick you up?  Don’t laugh…it’s saved me in therapy, and it works.  Do you want to be able to inform people?  Sell your product or service?  Engage with your customers?  Define your objective before you begin your social media strategy.

2.  Use social media, and use it well.  According to Olivier Blanchard, author of Social Media Roi, social media should be part of sales and public relations, community involvement, business intelligence, and a HUGE, did I emphasize this enough?  HUGE part of customer service.

3.  Know how to levege social media in terms of brand reputation.  Do not ignore a bad review.  You know you’re great, the loyal customers know you’re great, but the guy who just posted a bad review is telling everyone of your potential clientele that you’re not so great.  So engage a team of employees who have knowledge about brand reputation to address your negative publicity.

4.  Integrate social media throughout your organization.  Engage your employees with your social media presence.  Do not make the mistake of allowing your employees to go uncontrolled when posting and responding or tweeting.  Set rules, boundaries, limits.  Set up a “mission control center” where you have someone or many people watching your twitter streams for mentions.  Hire someone to engage your clients and customers and the public in real time (versus tweeting or posting well after a comment, question, concern, or suggestion is made).  Time is of the essence.  Put someone in charge of watching for relevant news stories and topics to inform your following.

5.  Incorporate a content process with dynamic content.  Have staff write copy and edit posts.  Thank you, Michael Brito of Edelman Digital for hammering home what we content writers know to be true:  you need quality content based on stories of customers, vendors, trends, and news.

6.  Know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em.  Timing is imperative.  According to Dr. Scott Henderson, Principal Scientist of Gnip, you need to promote branding deeply and slowly while public relations needs to be handled quickly!  A company who responds within five minutes to a question or need produces seven times more sales than companies who wait to address a need, comment, question, or concern.


7.  Marketing is NOT the primary target for your social media efforts.  You need to gain trust and become an authority in your field to develop a following before your customers will buy from you.  No one wants a hard sell; that is why we do not answer the door for door-to-door salesman.  That is why our neighbors have “no soliciting” signs.  If you use your platform to make a pitch for your product or service at every opportunity, you will lose your following.  Shared experiences are the future of branding.

If you are looking for specific examples of how to use social media to your benefit, read my next blog for some real tricks I’ve used to grow my following.

If you want to read the entire article by Susan Lahay, visit my website at for the link.







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