Whoops! Have you ever sent a tweet only to realize a spelling error? Mistakes on social media might seem like they're here today, gone tomorrow, but social media mistakes can spread and don't do much for your professional brand or your company's reputation. Make sure that your communication is thoughtfully crafted, and you'll make the most of this fruitful and challenging medium. Here's how to make time for social and make it count.
1. Know Your Company's Policies
On social media, your personal and professional lives can sometimes mingle. Know your company's policy about social media use. Are you allowed to talk about work on your personal account and promote work events? Should you add your FM team colleagues as Facebook friends? Or do you need to clarify that all of your personal tweets and photos are your own, and that they're not related to your company? Clarifying and abiding by these policies can help you and your company maintain necessary personal and professional boundaries. Consult with your marketing department or human resources to set the record straight to avoid problems in the future.
2. Get Your Building Blocks In Order
When you're posting on social media, you want to show a polished face to the world. This means that you should upload professional-looking photos and be sure your tweets are the right length. As you set up your accounts or post to social media, make sure that you know how to use each type of social media and that your accounts look well put together. If you're in charge of your company's page - having the same profile picture or cover image for each site will help the overall aesthetic stay similar across each platform. Also, keep in mind that Twitter only allows for 140 characters and both LinkedIn & Facebook allow only square photos for profile pictures.
Once you begin posting regularly, be sure to always check your posts before you click. It's very common for professionals to try to send out posts quickly to move on to other things. Grammatical and spelling errors or tweeting a personal post from a company account aren't always a huge deal, but they can make you or your company look careless and even lazy. No matter how careful and meticulous you are, mistakes will eventually happen. It's best to either correct them quickly if it's a simple spelling error. Or, if it's a bigger problem like posting a personal message through a company account, admit to the mistake and correct it. You will come off as much more trustworthy if you do.
3. Stay On Top of Your Social Life
If part of your job is to run your company's account, it can feel overwhelming especially trying to balance both. When communication feels too challenging, it's tempting to simply give up. Instead, set a schedule for your social media posts, comments, and replies. Try allotting yourself 5-15 minutes at the beginning of the day or the end to respond to people and to monitor you posts. Check your accounts when you come into the office and once again when you leave for the day, and set aside large chunks of the day when you don't feel obligated to check these accounts. This allows you to balance a presence on social media with your day to day facilities management. If it helps keep you focused on other things, try turning off your email notifications, or limiting them to once per day instead of in real-time.
When you feel more comfortable with social, try incorporating 20-30 minutes of your day to plan posts and respond to followers as your community grows. Gradually adding social into your daily tasks will help make it a part of your career management - and eventually you may even find it as a welcome change of pace!
4. Join Only Where Necessary
While you need to stay on top of your social media accounts, that doesn't mean you have to sign up for every account out there. Choose the platforms that work best for you and your company and focus on those. If you find that Twitter is a great venue to share information about current trends in facilities management, sign up. If taking Instagram photos related to your facilities isn't necessary or useful, don't do it. However, when you commit to a site, customize what you say and do based on the needs of each venue.
In our experience, we have found great success on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. As a facilities management software provider, we don't spend any time on Instagram or Snapchat. Our customers and potential users simply aren't there. However, don't alienate those sites just because they're not OUR top three! Go out and test various sites to see which one works best for your and your facility.
5. Curate Your Social Media Voice
Before you begin to post on social media, think about the voice and image that you'd like to portray. Would you like to be helpful? Funny? Compassionate? You also might want to consider what type of information is not suitable to share with your audience. If you're sharing a social media account with others in your company, make sure that everyone involved uses a similar tone and follows any pre-set guidelines. You want viewers to feel like they're always talking to one "person" when interacting rather than a bunch of different people.
6. Use Social Media to Network
Whether you're looking for a new job in FM or you're seeking recommendations for facilities management software, following those who are leaders in your industry can help you stay on top of your field. Connecting with as many people as you know will bring in the most opportunities possible. You never know when an opening in your desired field could arise through an existing connection.
Join groups on LinkedIn, follow hashtags on Twitter and "like" companies on Facebook. Maintain and stay connected with your industry through your social networks, and you'll be better able to reach out to others who may face similar challenges and have opportunities for you.
7. Keep Broad Horizons
While it's tempting to send much of your communication with your customers through social media, you need to be interacting in other ways as well. Connect with your customers on a personal level, whether you have a storefront or a website with an email contact form. Write to your customers through your email list. Continue to use many forms of communication with your customers, and you'll have a well-rounded approach to your customer service. Use social media as a starting point for interactions, and to let your customers know you're approachable as a business.
As you develop your online presence, remember that your social media history will not only add to your personal branding - it will also shape your company's reputation. Consider how you'd like to present yourself, and you'll find that social media is a valuable networking and promotional tool in your career as a facilities manager.