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Social Media for Your Business: How to Get Past the Risk
By: Christine Geraci
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The world of business is rife with risk. In fact, I doubt any successful business became that way because its stakeholders decided to play it safe. Somewhere — somehow — someone had to go out on a limb to move the needle.
Why, then, do so many businesses cower in fear at the thought of using social media?
Ann Handley, chief content officer at MarketingProfs, gives some great advice for creating social media content worth sharing: Be daring, she says. Take risks. Create the unexpected.
For so many out there, I bet that sounds pretty scary…even out of the question.
But why? Is a “daring” social content strategy really out of the question for your business, or is it that big step out of your comfort zone that’s scaring you?
I’m willing to wager that either you, or someone you employ, already knows what to say and how to say it in the social space. So what’s holding you back? The fear of the risk.
And understandably so. Social media use is not without risk. If you say something poorly executed or in bad taste, hell hath no fury like a social networking community offended.
But hey, getting out of bed every morning isn’t without risk, right? So what do you do? You minimize the risk — not by keeping quiet or playing it safe when it comes to the content you share, but with proper planning. Here are some suggestions:
Make social media content creation a collaborative process. By its very nature, social media is not the carte blanch you give to one person. Yes, it’s OK to have one person in charge of social media, someone who generates the ideas and gives good advice. But ideally, that person isn’t slapping content up on social networks willy-nilly. They’re planning, they’re drafting, they’re asking for valuable feedback and getting it from the right decision-makers.
Have a policy. Nothing takes the fear out of online social interaction like a good social media policy, one that’s clear, flexible, updated at least annually, and reviewed by more stakeholders than just the legal team. True, you want to make sure you’re complying with NLRB protocols, but you also want a policy that trusts its employees will do the right thing.
Employ a content strategist. There are entire careers made from this very important business task. But if you’re just starting out, perhaps your content strategist is someone who is also juggling other duties.
Analyze, analyze, analyze. Did you post something and hear nothing but crickets? Make a note of that. As Bob Dylan says, “there’s no success like failure.” Did something else get a ton of engagement you didn’t expect? Ask yourself why, and try to replicate it.
Have you taken a social media risk for your business that paid off? Tell us about it in the comments.

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About the Author
Christine Geraci is the Social Media/Promotions Specialist at MVP Health Care in Schenectady, NY. Connect with her on Twitter @christinegeraci.
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