Why SMEs need to be careful with social media

Social media is a great tool for boosting brand awareness, providing advertising opportunities and for connecting with customers.


However, among the many positives that come with using the different websites that are available are a number of potential banana skins just waiting to trip somebody up.


It’s all too easy to forget that a work account is reflective of the business as a whole and is entirely different to a personal account.


Things that are posted on these sites can lose customers as easily as gaining them, while brands could be easily damaged with a poorly worded tweet or Facebook post.


Keeping work and social accounts separate is essential and if possible accounts should only be operated during business hours – at least that way customers are aware of when to expect a quick response.


It’s also important that social media accounts do not take over the day for workers, as checking and responding to posts can quickly eat into a schedule.


Tools that allow for automatic posts to be made can ensure a feed is kept updated and populated with relevant and shareable content.


Most businesses will use social media sites in order to develop some sort of financial gain, such as an attempt to boost sales or marketing appeal for example.


There is nothing wrong with this approach but bosses should also be aware that using social media could negatively impact on the bottom line of a business too.


A small business should not look to directly compete with larger businesses but should instead focus on the elements that make them flexible and unique.


Personalised customer service for example is a fantastic way that SMEs can develop strong links with their customers.


However, it is also provides more risk as the business could be more susceptible to financial issues should a social media campaign backfire.


Should the reputation of the business be damaged as a result of a poorly thought-out campaign, then sales and finances could be impacted as a result.


For small firms that lack extra finance, these losses could cause significant issues for the businesses concerned, especially if they prove costly to put right.


Business rescue procedures could be implemented in extreme circumstances, but it vitally important that business owners and workers using social media are aware of what their actions online could potentially cause.


The majority of businesses are able to use social media to drive success but it can only take one mistake to threaten a company.


By Phil Smith


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