When it comes to content marketing and your business, regular readers of our blog will already know that a lot of time and resources have to be invested in the preparation of content marketing. You simply can’t just post anything to your blog and social media account like you would if you were posting to a personal account, and it’s not difficult to see why – many topics and discussions are too controversial or simply inappropriate for a business or organization to post to social media.

Be Transparent on Social Media

Many of our blog posts have covered the preparations you should make, including the important early step of identifying your target market and how to appropriately prepare a content marketing outline. However, many businesses and organizations err too much on the side of caution when it comes to blogging and social media, posting content that is too impersonal, cold or even just boring, or posting content that is too irregular or sparse. Approaching content marketing too cautiously can guarantee that you won’t post anything offensive or inappropriate to social media, but it may also result in a shrinking audience of followers, diminishing the impact of your entire online marketing efforts. How can you open up to your audience and post more interesting, informative and even personal content without overstepping boundaries or offending your audience?

A More Casual Social Strategy Isn’t A Less Disciplined One

The first step to properly “loosing up” your blog and social media content isn’t to “loosen up” the process you use to develop and create your content marketing. Any business or organization that relaxes the process (and the checks and balances) they use for digital marketing, especially handing it off to a seemingly creative or funny employee with no marketing experience and no supervision, is courting disaster – you still need to post updates that are geared for your target audience, written properly and professionally, and are free of offensive content such as profanity, insults or controversial political opinions. In fact, loosening up on social media may require an even more disciplined process – it is relatively easy and straightforward to write and approve and post boring, inoffensive content, but writing effective professional content marketing that is funny, creative or even personal, while remaining professional, can be difficult.

Opening Up The Right Way

The first step to properly widening the breadth and scope of your digital media involves a careful consideration of what your target audience may want to read, hear, see or learn on your blog or social media. For instance, if you operate in a somewhat niche industry, and you have a somewhat specialized education or base of experience, your customers or prospective customers may have questions about your industry, your products or services or simply what you do each day. You may already be posting blog posts or social media updates about your products or industry, but consider asking your readers and followers to submit their own questions and create a question and answer or “Q&A” series. However, be wary of answering comments or user-created posts directly, as you may be pulled into an argument about an unrelated subject or be challenged openly by a competitor or disgruntled customer.

Managing Multimedia Content

When it comes to multimedia content, such as photographs and videos, consider the ways you and your employees can personally connect with your customers. Some professionals, especially businesses with only one or two employees, may want to share images of their workstations or work spaces, or post candid shots of a coworker working on an interesting product or project. Be sure you aren’t publicly posting confidential or privileged information, such as information on a computer screen or on a sticky note, and be sure that your colleague or co-worker feels comfortable appearing on social media.

Posting Party Pictures

If you are posting images of your employees at an afterhours event or away from the office, carefully consider what you’re posting if alcohol is being openly consumed and consider carefully what event you choose – an afterhours or weekend event related to a community project or event may be more appropriate for social media than a trade show party. As with many aspects of this process, your industry and line of business will greatly influence the appropriateness of certain updates – for instance, it can be perfectly reasonable for a bar or nightclub to post images of patrons consuming alcohol, while the target audience of a religious or socially-conservative industry or business may find it inappropriate.

Move The Conversation To A Different Platform

Finally, and most importantly, don’t allow a more casual approach to social media to result in a too casual approach to dealing with competitors or even your own customers. Never explicitly disparage a competitor on social media, although posts or comments about how your business or organization is superior within your market or industry are generally acceptable as long as another company or organization isn’t identified. Be prepared for some social media users to respond inappropriately or even disparagingly to your more personal posts, but never respond in kind – if a disparaging comment or reply can’t be deleted, simply ignore it, and if it involves a disgruntled customer, politely ask the customer to move the discussion to direct messaging through the social media network or email, and then try to resolve the dispute amicably.