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July 11, 2017

Do Business People Know The Best Way To Post On Facebook And Twitter?

By Mike Hampson, owner, Helicopter Links.

(San Diego, California, USA): Anyone can sit down and post things on Facebook and Twitter. This means there's a full range of social media posts from people not posting anything at all, to the threatening people's lives ands the bizarre. However, what about for business? Should a business use the same method that private individuals use to post items? In my book, the answer is no. Social media posts for businesses should not be taken lightly, albeit for businesses, social media can be used to post lighthearted to serious items.

Is there is a better way to communicate on social media for business? I say yes. Why? Because if the business offers a high quality products, then shouldn't their social media posts have a professional look and feel to their posts as well?

How is this done? For starters...

  • I think that understanding we are living in a global world connected by the internet, is the first step to making better social media posts.
  • Therefore, businesses need to develop their own their own social media posting standards to ensure that each post has clear and concise communication.
  • Businesses also need to plan their posts on an annual basis.
  • Do you want your company's social media posts to appear to be an after thought or trivial? Or maybe more on point, ARE your social media posts an after thought and does the person responsible for posting social media posts feel their task is trivial task and is taking time out of the day from their other business responsibilities?
  • If your company provides a well-made quality product but your social media posts are lacking in professionalism and if your posts are not made on a regular basis, this reflects poorly on your business.
  • Maybe your products are not as high quality as the business claims they are. Or it might seem this way to your social media followers.

Why is does this article seem so serious about "social media?" What's the big deal? There are several reasons.

  • Social media is self-publishing and your company can control the entire message of your posts without the interference from media editors and writers.
  • Social media is about communicating directly to your customers and potential customers.
  • You have complete control whether your company is going to provide clear communication to your social media followers or not.
  • Your social media posts are being seen your customers, former customers, potential customers, your competition, the media, a person whose never heard of your company, stock owners (maybe?), your CEO, your own employees, suppliers, the rest of your industry and fans of your business? Is is it important how others see your business?
  • Social media is another face of your company.

It's also like that saying, "Anyone can play baseball but only a few can play it well." Does your business provide goods and services off the cuff? No? Are your products and services planned with excruciating detail and care? Yes? Then why would any business or organization think that Facebook and Twitter posts can be written off the cuff, with little to no thought going into their posts?

I want to immediately start to ask several questions to see if I can challenge you to see if the way you post on Facebook and/or Twitter needs to be adjusted. This list below is just for starters.

  • How many countries are in the world? The answer is at the 3rd bullet point down. Do you think it's possible that many of your social media followers are not from your own country?
  • If you are a multi-million or multi-billion dollar company, do you think that everyone of your social media followers knows the city, state/provence and country of your head office? Hint: The answer is a big no.
  • According to some websites, there are 196 countries in the world. (Reminder: If you didn't look up the number of countries in the world in Google before you got to this third bullet point, you could have looked it up!)
  • Also, people live in territories, islands and ships. Not everyone in the world lives in on a major continent.
  • Now that you know there are about 196 countries in the world (and that people live on ships, islands and territories) do you think it might be helpful to start your social media posts with the country of the origin of the post?
  • How many languages are spoken around the world? The answer is in the next bullet point. Do you think some of your social media followers might not speak your own language as their first language? Why is this important? If you use slang or regional phrases, your social media followers might not understand what you are posting. (Hint: This might translate into less Facebook "Shares" and/or Twitter "retweets.")
  • One website states there are 6,909 distinct languages in the world today. Another website states there are about 100 languages which have 7 or more million people speaking these 100 languages. (Example, as of 2010: Mandarin Chinese has about 955 million speakers, Spanish is spoken by 405 million, English is spoken by 360 million, Hindi is spoken by 310 million, and etcetera.)
  • When a person posts something on social media and 1) uses an acronym in your industry without defining it, 2) uses an abbreviated word, 3) uses slang, or 4) uses a regional a phrase known only to people in a certain country - do you think that miscommunication could possibly occur?
  • Why is understanding that not everyone speaks your language with your own local phrases and slang important to be aware of? Because when a user sees a Facebook or Twitter post in another language, they typically have the option on Facebook and Twitter to translate the post. If we are aware that people, every day, are translating our social media posts, maybe we'll make an effort to use easy to understand language which will translate well.
  • I feel that some people don't even recognize that we are using COMPUTERS. Is it better to type "HFI" because you are so proud that you were able to make an acronym for your organization and damn-it-all, you will now use that acronym in every instance as possible, to prove how clever you are? Or do you think that when a social media user sees "HFI," they will immediately become bored because they have no idea what "HFI" which in reality means that you'll have few if any "likes", "shares," or " retweets." Which is more important? Your ego or clear and concise communication? We can simply type out Helicopter Foundation International. It's that easy! Just a few extra key strokes. We are NOT typing on typewriters and trying to save paper, we are using computers and posting things on social media, websites and sending emails. There are few spacing limitations when using the internet, social media and computers.

I hope I have you thinking.

Before social media do you know how information was distributed to the public and to customers? It was only through a limited number of ways which include media outlets such as newspapers, TV, radio, magazines, company newsletters, company events, trade shows, catalogs, mailing lists, business flyers, websites, email blasts, sales people, customer service and books.

YouTube was started in 2005, and Facebook and Twitter became available to the public in 2006. That's how new social media is.

Of course, before the mid-1990s, the internet, for the general public did not exist and hence email and websites did not exist. It was extremely difficult to find information about a company or industry, unless you were an active buyer or employee in that company or industry.

Before social media, if a helicopter manufacturer was to announce a new helicopter or the first test flight of a helicopter, that company would first tell it's employees and then send a press release to helicopter magazines. The media could ask questions and write an article. The general public would need to wait until the helicopter magazine was delivered or find out the information at a helicopter trade show.

However, now with social media, companies can post something on social media before they even alert the media! It doesn't seem quite fair to the media, does it? But communication has changed, social media has opened a pandora's box.

Today, I think many of us might need to be reminded that those of us who have access to computers and to the internet are extremely fortunate. I think it's very easy to forget there are still billions of people (at this time, our world has over 7 billion people), who don't have access to computers and the internet.

In my opinion, a company's marketing department needs to be well coordinated with a good dash of finesse, good timing and excellent communication skills to make social media work well for all parties involved, from customers, to the media, the industry and its employees.

In addition, before social media, if a customer wanted to complain to a company, the only option was to call the business, write a letter or send an email. Now with social media and Yelp, you can publicly make comments which anyone can see, whether it's a legitimate comment, completely inappropriate comment, a joke, a false statement, a compliment and just about anything else one can think of.

If one thinks about the long history of print since the Gutenberg printing press (a little over 500 years now) and how print and publishing know-how has affected our society, this knowledge, I believe, can help a company's or organization's social media posts. Now add to the fact that the general public has had the internet and websites for over 20 years and have had social media age for about 12 years. By using all this information, I think one can see the importance of the person posting on social media. A task not taken lightly.

How about some more questions to consider before posting on social media?

  • Who is reading your posts? Customers, former customers (you might be trying to gain their business back), new customers, potential customers, new people in the industry, your own employees and future employees. Who else? Your competitors, reporters, investigative journalists, fans and more.
  • Remember: Most people want to feel like they are part of the club. So, if you explain things to people (keeping in mind that your social media followers don't have the same intimate knowledge about your own business or organization, it's products, services, in-house terminology, names of employees, and etc.,) your posts will be easier to understand by the greatest number of people because you are focusing on clear communication.
  • That's why I stated earlier, that if you start all social media posts with the country of the origin of your company (or the country of origin concerning the topic of the post) people will then know a little more about your post. People will feel like they are more "in the club" because they have more information.
  • When you are posting an event, post the dates, month, year, city, state/provence, country (don't forget to post the country!), venue and website.
  • If you don't post the website of your event, how can people easily find out more information about the event and how to sign up for the event? By providing the event website, it will make it easier for people to make the decision to attend or not attend your event.
  • Note: I am making this point of always posting an event website on social media posts because I continually see major organizations posting about a special speaker for their conference or trade show and they are not posting their event website. (One might make the argument that if you see an organization posting about their conference, you can simply click on their Twitter name and find their website. Or you can just search the internet for their website. While this is true, why make it difficult for your customers to spend money with your organization? What about retweets? If the link is not in the tweet, then when retweeting occurs, the conference can easily be ignored because there is no link. If you are not posting links to your conference, then I'd say the person posting is lazy, incompetent or or doesn't care about their job.
  • There are new people entering the field of business you are in, every year. Are you posts easy for them to understand?.
  • A child from China, Africa or from India might be looking at your social media post. Have you thought about this?
  • Are you concerned about customer service? Do you want every opportunity to make a sale? Then add your website and office phone number to all your posts. If you are featuring a certain product or service on a social media post, then post the link which goes directly to that product or service.
  • In your graphics, there is always enough room to add your website and company phone number.

When I'm talking in person with friends or coworkers, and we are talking about items in the news, a restaurant, a business practice or some other subject, it's extremely easy for miscommunication to occur. The same is true on social media. If your posts are vague, there will certainly be confusion from your social media followers.

Using Exaggeration In Posts

  • Using words that are exaggerating the point is unprofessional. I'd even go so far as saying that using exaggeration is lying. For instance, when people are describing photographs, I'd say that about 99% of the time, I would avoid the use of these words: Amazing picture, Spectacular shot (really?), Best view ever, Epic shot (or pic, picture, photo), Wow, No words (wrong, we have plenty of words), Simply amazing shot, Awesome pic, Super shot, Super awesome photo, OMG what a great shot and Perfect shot (really? there is a perfect shot?). To me, these are ridiculous words to use describing most photos.
  • I've seen one Twitter administrator who almost constantly claims most of the pictures they post are incredible "shots" and ironically, when the same Twitter administrator posts a high quality professionally taken photo, they don't even comment on the skill of the photographer!
  • I would recommend to avoid slang that you think is "cool," such as: Sweet, Sweet shot, Super sweet shot (Why not just say: Super duper extra fantasticalidocious oh such a sweet old wow shot), Booyah, Whoa, Super cool, cool,
  • Instead of saying shot or pic (for a photograph), simply use the word: picture, photo or photograph. Is typing four (4) additional characters "ture" (picture) to difficult to do? Will typing the word "picture" going to reduce your incredibly super duper awesome productivity and ability to multitask? (Reality Check: There is such thing as multi-tasking. No matter how clever you think you are. We can only do one task or thing, at a time.)

Using Slang Or Corporate Speak In Posts

  • I would never use the phrases such as "Mush-watch", "Must-see", "Must-read", "Reach out", "A win-win situation", "Buy-in", "Go-To" and "Think outside the box." These are all needless corporate speak phrases which many people don't understand. Why confuse the message when you don't have to?
  • As stated an article from the "The Guardian" about the danger of corporate speak, "Bureaucratese is a maddeningly viral kind of unspeak engineered to deflect blame, complicate simple ideas, obscure problems, and perpetuate power relations." The article is titled: "10 of the worst examples of management-speak" and found here online: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/apr/25/top-10-worst-management-speak
  • Corporate speak, corporate jargon or management speak is any word or phrase that people usually can't understand, is sometimes dictatorial in nature or is inappropriate because it has a sexual tone (for example, "Reaching out") to the phrase. Using corporate speak, or using any words or phrases which do not explain your message in an easy to understand way, is a failure of that person, management or corporation in the ability to communicate with others. It's also a failure of not being able to write.
  • For example, instead of saying, "We are reaching out to all of you today to take this survey," simply say, "We have a survey for everyone and it's due date is XXX." The phrase "Reaching out" in my opinion is a sexually charged phrased which many people are using. In today's world where we are trying to stop sexual harassment in the work place, if a person actually reaches out and touches someone in the office, in almost all cases, that is sexual harassment. So why are people using the words, "I'm reaching out to you today," when it's easier to say, "I'm calling you today" or "I here to drop off this sales sample for your boss."
  • Instead of saying "Shout out", simply say what you mean. "Congratulations to...," "We support XYZ non-profit organization," or "We appreciate XYZ company because of...."
  • On a slightly different note, using the "caption this photo" post, to me, is old and not interesting anymore. In fact, I've seen several occasions where a certain Twitter administrator (with thousands of followers) regularly asks to "caption this photo" and there are usually no comments.

I think when most social media administrators create a post, they are writing with the mind set that their loyal followers sought out their company or organization and their followers have intimate knowledge of their company. Not true. In fact, the trend I'm seeing is that less and less "loyal followers" are "sharing" or "retweeting" social media posts. Why is this? I don't know for sure but I have several guesses. 1) People are following too many businesses and organizations (because social media companies highly recommend this) and 2) The social media posts might be confusing. Therefore, ignore. and 3) The posts are not worthy of "sharing" or "retweeting."

Some Final Ideas And Resources:

Your Social Media Followers Most Likely Don't Your Company As Well As You Think They Do: I think when most social media administrators create a post, they are writing with the mind set that their loyal followers sought out their company or organization and their followers have intimate knowledge of their company. Not true. In fact, the trend I'm seeing is that less and less "loyal followers" are "sharing" or "retweeting" social media posts. Why is this? I don't know for sure but I have several guesses. 1) People are following too many businesses and organizations, 2) The social media posts might be confusing. Therefore, ignored. and 3) The posts are not worthy of "sharing" or "retweeting."

Using Acronyms. Avoid them as much as possible. Why create confusion? There is a time and place for everything but in general, you'll reduce confusion by typing out words instead of their acronyms. Have you ever used the website Acronym Finder? https://www.acronymfinder.com If you search for the acronym of your own company or organization and see the many other businesses and organizations using your same acronym, I hope by seeing this, it will put a bad taste in use your company's acronym. It's extremely easy to have clear communication because all one needs to do is to type out the full words of your company's name or any other words or phrases which have acronyms. This will stop confusion for all your social media followers.

Suggested Reading: If you are writing and publishing anything, anywhere, I recommend purchasing the book, "The MAC is not a Typewriter" by Robin Williams. (No relation to the comedian/actor.)

For graphic designers, I also recommend the books, "The Non-Designer's Design Book" and "The Non-Designer's Type Book" which are both written by the same author above, Robin Williams.

Training: I think it's key that employers pay to have their employees trained in social media, graphic design and things of this nature. There is an excellent website www.lynda.com which is a for-pay website which have thousands of on-demand videos on how to use Twitter, Facebook, Word, Excel, Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and many other software programs.

I would also recommend that social media administrators research articles on some of the most effective ways to post on social media. I know that some people will disagree with what I've written about social media posts. However, when you read other articles online, I think you'll find that you don't like all the social media advice there as well.

Social Media Settings: There are also many Facebook and Twitter settings which allow social media administrators to customize how you interact with people. I'd always recommend that a for-profit company allow direct messages to their social media accounts to allow easy communication. I would recommend researching articles on understanding the various social media settings and how to best use them for your company.

In Summary: I think one of the biggest keys for any social media administrator is this: Know that there are 196 countries in the world, (that people living in territories, islands and ships), people speak a variety of languages living in variety of cultures, your follows might know common slang or phrases you use and that many of your followers don't know your company as well as you think they do.

I hope this article helps and I hope you sending out relevant, clear and concise communication through social media!

-End article.

If you have any questions about advertising on Helicopter Links website, please feel free to give us a call +1 (858) 413-7074 or email us at staff@helicopterlinks.com and let's discuss how Helicopter Links can help you advertise to buyers in the buying process.

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