Tuesday, June 19 , 2018, 2:05 am | Fair 57º



B2B Panelists Outline Rules to Tweet By for Businesses Using Social Media

Transparency, relevance, knowing your audience and having a strategy can help ensure success in the virtual world

Ashton Kutcher screwed up in less than 140 characters.

In the wake of the firing of Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, Kutcher tweeted on Twitter: “How do you fire Jo Pa? #insult #noclass as a hawkeye fan I find it in poor taste.” Kutcher explained that he walked by the television and simply saw a headline that Paterno had been fired and assumed it was related to his age.

But the tweet he sent out to his 8 million followers wasn’t the problem. Everyone makes mistakes, said Peter Shankman, founder and CEO of The Geek Factory Inc. and Help a Reporter Out (HARO).

“Apologize, fix it and move on,” Shankman told more than 200 people at Montecito Bank & Trust’s Business-to-Business event on social media for businesses Wednesday night at Fess Parker’s DoubleTree Resort. “The first rule (about social media) is transparency. The first way to get in trouble is lying about it. Know you will screw up, own it, admit it and move on.”

Shankman said that while Kutcher owned his mistake, he didn’t move on. Instead, he gave up control of his Twitter account — his biggest mistake.

“Mistakes make us human; we relate to people who screw up,” he said. “You have to own it, that’s the difference.”

Panelist Shawn Mulchay of SocialMash Media advised to be real and engage people through compelling content, even if it’s somewhat “unprofessional.”

“You don’t see enough businesses (on social media) being human,” he said. “Some businesses take a suit and tie to Facebook. Things needs to be more casual. Post fun things. We’re here to entertain.”

Panelist Lynda Weinman of Lynda.com said people respond to authenticity.

“Don’t try to be something that you are not,” she said.

The second rule is relevance. The key to being relevant is the third rule — knowing your audience — that’s what generates revenue, according to Shankman.

“Don’t be afraid to be relevant to your audience by whatever means necessary. Having an audience is a privilege not a right,” said Shankman, who illustrated his point by showing a picture of a man holding up a sign at a triathlon that read, “You are all nuts.”

People on social media should be listening more than talking, Shankman said. But when someone does post, according to panelist Nicki Gauthier of Web Marketing Therapy, be sure to have a strategy.

“It’s important to know your strategy first, know who you are and what your goals are before you dive into social media,” Gauthier said.

Practice concise and clear writing, take advantage of Google Alerts, don’t be afraid to step out of comfort zones and engage with all types of feedback, Shankman advised.

“It comes back to good customer service — those people will do your PR for you,” he said.

Mainly, he said, social media comes back to one thing — being remembered.

“Whether you know them or you don’t, your one job should be to find someone and figure out how to make them laugh,” he said.

Noozhawk business writer Alex Kacik can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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