From Cars to Cupcakes: Etiquette and Advice

This afternoon I was fortunate enough to hear Heather Saffer, the “head cupcake” from Dollop Gourmet Cupcake Creations and Eric Miltsch, director of product strategy for DrivingSales and co-creator of CarZar speak about their success in using social media in their very different businesses.

(Big thanks to both Eric and Heather for the great event and inspiration!)

What sticks out to me most from this event is that, yes, social media is a way to connect to consumers. And, yes, social media helps a business’ search engine optimization efforts.

But, more importantly, social media is a way to tell a story to a mass of people that wouldn’t otherwise hear it.

That being said, there is plenty of online etiquette to keep in mind when using Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms for your business. Here are some of the key takeaways from the event:

  • Stop automatically pushing updates from one platform to another.
Yes, I know… You don’t have time to sit on a computer all day and manage all of these different social media accounts. If you fall into this category, I would refer you to Buffer and encourage you to start using it each morning, so that the rest of your day can be spent away from your computer.
The reality is, it’s painfully obvious to people on Twitter when something has been tweeted from Facebook. Personally, I refuse to click on those links. I’ve said it many times in the past: Facebook and Twitter are different platforms and need to be treated as such.
In other words, there aren’t any shortcuts in this race.
  •  Don’t make customers feel like something is being forced upon them.
Take a moment to reflect on the time you spend on social media sites for personal use. Are you scanning your Twitter or Facebook feeds in hopes of buying something and spending money?
Hopefully, your answer was no.
Remember that “treat others as you would like to be treated” rule? It applies online, too!
Eric and Heather stressed during their talk that social media may not sell a physical product for your business, but it will gain a ton of valuable exposure for your brand.

Additionally, Eric and Heather offered some tips and words of advice to people using social media to represent brands:

  • When dealing with online fans, quality is better than quantity.
This is another topic that I’ve discussed in the past. Would you rather have 300,000 Twitter followers, so you can tell the CEO that your job is important, or would you rather have 5,000 Twitter followers that are also loyal, frequent customers, so your sales manager can tell the CEO that your job is important?
Once again, we need to remember that there are no shortcuts to using social media effectively. Don’t purchase an online following on the company credit card simply to boost numbers – Instead, focus on creating great content that your current fans will love and share.
“The better the content, the more successful you’ll be.”
– Eric Miltsch
  • Use the data available to you to optimize your social media strategy.
There are plenty of free ways to gather data from your social media accounts, like Google Analytics. If you aren’t using it, you’re simply missing out on an opportunity to improve your efforts.
Learning from your data will help you decide what types of content to post online, as well as when to post it.
Work smarter, not harder.
  • Know when to apologize.

Nobody is perfect on social media, and everyone makes mistakes from time to time. Maybe you wrote something that you shouldn’t have, or maybe you allowed another employee of your business to post something online, and that person simply didn’t have enough experience to know right from wrong.

Regardless of the situation, people online appreciate a simple admission of wrong-doing and apology much more than you might expect. A well-crafted apology could easily be the difference between bad publicity and great publicity.

“Sometimes, you need to put your tail between your legs and apologize, apologize, apologize.”

– Heather Saffer

The online world is a land of opportunity for any business, From Cars to Cupcakes. 

How are you taking advantage of it?

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About Jim Mignano

Jim Mignano is a young professional practicing and learning Public Relations in Rochester, NY. He is passionate about the possibilities that digital media provide and loves utilizing new platforms for a variety of functions. James' blog is about people and the technology they use. It's about communication and persuasion... the old and the new ways of doing things... the struggle between sticking to the tried, true recipes and experimenting with intuitive, innovative ideas. It's an extension and reflection of James himself: the convergence of ambition & ability.
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