FacePlace II: The Rules of Engagement

Last week’s FacePlace: Social Media and the Work Place feature explored the many benefits to including a productive social networking medium into your business marketing plan. With an increasing focus on transparency and virtualization, social media marketing can be a critical ingredient to the business development infrastructure.

That said, vigilance is the key to a successful campaign as the virtual footprint left by social networking can be potentially destructive. Perception often has little to do with the truth, so consider carefully when blogging about the company’s quarterly budget meeting or tweeting a photo of your boss’ new corner office.

Community leaders, job seekers, and all perceived organizational representation should cautiously nurture their best-foot-forward activities, as personal and business lines are blurred in an environment where mutual friends can mean guilty by association. Implement best practices for reputation management when blasting messages, personal or otherwise.  Below is a list of the top 5 comprehensive best practices for reputation management.

  1. Create profiles correctly, consistently, and thoroughly.  Try and use first and last name without abbreviations or pseudonyms across media platforms.  Add your profile picture and other details as requested to show activity and engagement.
  2. Keep it light; approach social media like a first date. Don’t make bold controversial statements (e.g. politics, religion, anti-industry) and always put your best foot forward. Stay positive, friendly and responsive. Certainly avoid offensive language, etc.
  3. Leverage your address book and cross reference active social media contacts – friend/follow/connect with them across mediums.
  4. Be relevant with current event and interesting topics to naturally gain readership and build a community of those with similar interests or goals.  The ability to authentically participate and make connections with other people, brands content is powerful practice in online social circles.
  5. Know your limitations and invest in social media experts to launch this campaign if this activity seems too daunting.  Companies and consultants (known as Brand Ambassadors) are popping up everywhere to handle Online Reputation Management (ORM) or Social Media Optimization (SMO).

While these rules of engaging social media continue to evolve as the understanding of the viral reach expands, these basic practices will go a long way to safeguard your brand and public image. Jim Tobin, President of Ignite Social Media, works with clients such as Disney, Microsoft, and Nike and shares his marketing strategies in his book Social Media is a Cocktail Party: Why You Already Know the Rules of Social Media Marketing.

Viral marketing has also transcended the ranks of the government. How Social Media can Transform Government PR discussed the barriers to change faced by government organizations versus privately held companies.  Bureaucracy and information assurance concerns can certainly make using or social media difficult.  However this article goes on to describe how government officials continue to brand themselves with social media making the practice more mainstream.

The Department of Defense recently launched a social media hub at offering portals for social networking across the armed forces. With an organization so focused on security, measureable outcomes, and fund alloc

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