No web presence would be complete without consideration for social media. "Consideration" is the key word, however. Judicious usage of social media can aid a business' presence. Blanket use can obscure all advantages, and perhaps create dubious results.

Nowadays, signing up for social media can often require cell phone callbacks and PIN numbers delivered by snail mail to a business address to verify ownership, but multiple email addresses, phone numbers, names and addresses, birth dates, etc., are required of just about every sign-up. Usernames and Passwords will be determined at the time of registration, so that is a task an organization should do side-by-side with their social consultant if they wish to avoid problems later.

Below are selected social media websites with a few of the gotchas involved in using the site for either business or personal.

  • Managing LinkedIn Social Media LinkedIn

    LinkedIn is a well-known online resume repository for individuals. Besides pages for potential job seekers, LinkedIn also offers the Company Page, which can be used to showcase a business, brand, products and services, as well as current job opportunities. The new company status updates, can be used like company press releases.

    Although LinkedIn may seem innocuous enough, care must be taken when posting status updates to the website. After all, with print media, there is generally a high degree of management review required before the release of information regarding a company's internal status to the public. Unfortunately, the same care is often not taken with social media.

    Some companies relegate social media updates to a college intern as an acknowledgement of the generation's natural facility with social media. Yet, these updates require the same review efforts to avoid problems down the road.

    After all, it should never be assumed that information can be permanently removed from the web once it is posted, even if the actual post is deleted. Even if LinkedIn deletes the entry, the information might still be cached by websites like Google.

    Some of the tools on LinkedIn can present challenges for businesses, whether they use the website or not. For example, common knowledge within the company can suddenly need to become proprietary, and yet the business' status updates combined with the detailed information often shown under employees' (or ex-employees') duties can provide minable information for competitors.

    Knowing the expertise of key people on a technical staff can help a competitor to target a grant proposal more effectively. Moreover, if a company maintains a staff with skills that are highly in demand, especially for a specific product, and those people are linked to the company page as employees, LinkedIn can lose employees to headhunters.

    Moreover, LinkedIn currently pigeon-holes each registrant's data, making it easier to mine and package detailed information about both employees and company for future unspecified purposes.

    The bottom line is to proceed with care when utilizing social media, and to put status updates in well-trusted hands.

  • Managing Yelp Ratings Yelp

    Yelp, Inc. is a local business directory and review site integrated with social networking. Businesses are rated by visitors to the website. A business' online reputation and its ability to attract walk-in traffic can be directly related to Yelp reviews, whether legitimate or not.

    Foursquare and CitySearch are websites with some similar features.

  • Managing Facebook Social Media Facebook

    How does a website gain over 1 billion (unverified) users? Facebook is becoming the gatekeeper to more and more online news blogs, and the "Like Us on Facebook" is a focused strategy to increase the sheer numbers of users even more.

    Some time ago, organizations were invited to join Facebook to promote their products and services. Many eventually created business pages, realizing it was an economical path to potential customers.

    Larger organizations with existing publicity departments could expertly manage social media content. often through an . However, smaller companies without publicity departments sometimes turned to college student contractors who knew little or nothing about the organization they were representing.

    Accordingly, it is well-advised to pair a seasoned insider with the social media consultant to make sure the underlying message is correct, the expression powerful, and the information reasonably destined for public consumption.

    Another issue is passwords, cell phone numbers, and PIN numbers. Many of these websites require codes or personal information that cannot remain solely in the hands of a contractor. An organization's reputation can be mirror what is posted in social media.

    Read about Facebook for Business

  • Managing Twitter Social Media Twitter

    Twitter is a microblogging service whose users can send and read text-based messages of up to 140 characters(tweets). Links to other content, including photos, can be included in tweets. Broadcasts can be public or private.

    So many uses of Twitter come to mind besides the narcissistic tweets of some celebrities.

    • Calendar or meeting reminders to cell phones (both smart phones and texting phones)
    • A way of jotting an idea or task down through one's cell phone: for instance, service hours
    • A way of notifying parents their child's homework assignments
    • A fund-raising barometer that can be shared with an organization
    • ...and much, much more....

    Like all social media, it is important for an organization to control the message, since anyone can see a public tweet. Remember, too, that the first tweet from some well-known business magnates and politicians have become viral gaffes, demonstrating the unintended consequences of not thinking out one's message before a tweet.

  • Managing Reddit Social Media Reddit

    Reddit is a social bookmarking website that fetches its links from registered users. A rather stark and confusing website of links, Reddit is not a tool for advertising, per se, but a vehicle for demonstrating expertise. Within categories and subcategories (SubReddits), the relevancy of links are voted upon by other users, which moves a particular entry up or down the list.

    This social media website is best managed by resident experts in the organization. It is a very competitive application, so content must be very compelling to readers. Reddit should not be used for outright advertising, which will likely invoke the wrath of Redditors.

  • Managing Instagram Social Media Instagram

    Facebook now owns Instagram. Once a website where people could freely share modified images with little backlash, take into consideration the fact that those same pictures might now be used in targeted advertisements since Facebook owns them.

    It would be an incredible irony if a photo of a bakery's prize cake suddenly showed up as a competitor's ad. Social media is shaking up the world as we know it.

  • Managing Wordpress to Reach and Teach Wordpress

    Wordpress is a blogging website. provides free space to create a personal or business blog. provides templates (themes) that can be installed on a hosting service. These themes can be free, or low cost through Wordpress.

    A whole cottage industry has arisen in creating Wordpress themes. Because both the theme and the content are stored in the database, it is fairly easy to update content without being a web designer.

    As a blogging program which can also be used to create full websites through its themes, Wordpress can be particularly useful for organizations, even if they are already maintaining an official website. Keeping the main website simple for visitors while maintaining multiple peripheral Wordpress websites to get work done is sometimes ideal.

    The web service is a particularly convenient way to interact socially with web visitors without the content being parsed and squirreled away for later sales usage by a social media website. Wordpress may not be immune to privacy concerns, but content is too dispersed to be too useful for targeting ads, for instance. Blogspot is another similar blogging website.

    Here is the free Wordpress blogging site

    And here is the Wordpress template website

  • Managing Google+ Social Media Google+

    Google+ has not caught on as a social network the way Facebook has. However, consider this: Businesses with Google+ and Google Places accounts pop up with addresses and maps when the Google search engine is utilized. For that reason, a Google+ account is highly recommended for Places, Analytics, and more.

    The map location (and phone numbers, websites, etc.) is a critical part of promoting a business. Google will send a PIN number in the mail to assure the person wishing to edit the website is associated with the owner/manager of the targeted business. Of course, this information should be monitored from time-to-time. Competitors have been known to hijack location and contact fields.

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