6 ways to stay out of trouble with social media

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Preserve your company's reputation online
Preserve your company's reputation online

6 strategies for preserving your company's reputation online.

One danger with using social media is that it can be far too easy to shoot off a message without thinking—or even fully understanding an issue. Biotech managers should do all they can to avoid making a critical gaffe on social media. Here are 6 strategies for constructing informed, credible messages.

  1. Do your homework. As a representative of your company, resist the urge to shoot from the hip on social media, unless you are very well-versed on an issue. Taking time to grasp the complexities of the situation beats the time it will take to apologize for an errant statement later.
  1. Include a link. If you are mentioning news pertaining to your company, include a link to where the public can find additional information on your site. If you're commenting on relevant external news that you've seen in your jaunts on the internet, be sure to include a URL for corroboration.
  1. Give attribution. Disclose the source of any links you provide, so people will feel comfortable about the accuracy of the information and exactly whose web page they're about to visit.
  1. Consider the source. Be sure your news URLs and attributions are for reputable news sites and industry experts, rather than spam bots interspersing the day's headlines with whatever randomness they are trying to sell. If you've never heard of the source, check the appropriateness of its timeline and links. Or, better yet, scour Google for someone you trust who is saying the same thing.
  1. Double- or triple-check anything that sounds unexpected or hard to believe. News can travel quickly on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn—rumors as well as true stories. I'm reminded of the old journalism adage: “If your mother says she loves you, check it out.” Check a few different sources covering the same information just to be sure before you put your company's Klout behind an issue.
  1. Use good timeshare practices. If you decide to have one feed for your company that is written by multiple (trustworthy) people, you will need either to make sure it's clear that multiple voices are talking (by having individuals sign off on each communiqué in the feed), or ensure that the voice of the account sounds seamless.

These are the kinds of things you'd keep in mind if you were giving a face-to-face presentation, but there is a lot of temptation to throw convention out the window when it comes to social media, in the name of being the first or most entertaining expert. To best protect your company's reputation, go with your head instead of your eagerness to transmit information with this lightning-fast medium.

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