While it may feel like businesses have been using social media platforms like Facebook for ages now, the reality is that most professional accounts are fewer than ten years old. Coupled with the ever-changing nature of social media, this means that many business owners probably don’t know exactly how their company should act on social media in every situation. Given that fact, it’s important for professionals to have a set of rules that can inform the decisions they make on social media so as to ensure their business remains in good standing with its consumer base. Here then are four golden rules of social media that all companies should strive to follow:

Expand with Your Customer Base

Long gone are the days when Facebook and Myspace completely dominated the social-media scene. Now, there are dozens of mainstream social media channels in addition to hundreds of smaller social media sites that cater to niche communities. It’s unwise to stand pat with just one or two social media accounts if your consumer base is active across the internet. So be willing to expand on an as-needed basis.

Respond in a Timely Fashion

Businesses should always invite customer feedback and interactions on social media. These interactions can help companies address customer queries, gain valuable insights into customer behaviors, and improve public relations. However, a business can’t do any of those things if it’s unable or unwilling to respond to customer questions or concerns in a timely fashion. Sure, it may not be possible to address every issue consumers pose to your account pages; nevertheless, ignoring many of them for a long time will have a negative impact on your reputation.

Protect Your Brand

There are a number of factors that can diminish and undermine a business’s brand online. Some are external –– like phishers and counterfeiters that steal intellectual property and prey on unsuspecting customers. Others, though, are internal such as rogue or dormant accounts. As such, it behooves all businesses to conduct a social media audit at least once a year –– if not more often. Failing to do so could leave your brand vulnerable to attack online.

Edit Twice, Post Once

Just as a good carpenter knows to measure twice before cutting once, so too should professionals working in social media understand the importance of editing their content before posting. Not only does editing thoroughly prevent silly errors in spelling and grammar, but it will also help pros identify potentially controversial posts before they go live. Social media posts can be extremely valuable, but they also present risk for a business if handled improperly. Keep this rule in mind at all times!

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Hasan Saleem is a seasoned Web professional with experience in planning, launching, and operating successful Web-based ventures. His business experience covers Web hosting, Web design, Internet marketing, and team management to bring it all together. With expertise in SEO Hasan has gained top search engine rankings for more than 20 different websites, and he currently manages a large collection of Web directories, blogs, and social media sites.

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