Is it time to go off road with your social messaging?

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Admit it. It’s so easy for your social media feed to descend into random tweets and personal gripes. It's one of the reasons my team and I advocate in favour of establishing an editorial calendar.

That lets you plan the bulk of your activity ahead of time so you're never left wondering what to blog or post about… which leaves you less tempted to use your business profiles as a platform for bitching or pitching.

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However, social media isn’t completely all about business, and there are certainly times when you can definitely go off-script. Doing so makes you more human and allows fans and followers to connect with you on more personal level.

The trick is knowing when and how to break from your editorial calendar so you enjoy those benefits without creating unwanted distractions.

In order to help you out, today we want to offer a few pieces of advice about when you should go “off road” with your social messaging and stray from your role as a marketer. Here are a few times when it makes sense…


1. When Current Events Suggest You Should Chime in

There are a lot of things that might be happening in the real world that don’t fit into your editorial calendar. Major storms, breaking industry news, or even local sports triumphs are all good examples of things you might want to comment on.

Posting and commenting about them shows that you pay attention and are involved in your community.


2. When You Have a Personal Achievement to Share

When life hands you a big victory, don’t be afraid to share it with those who support you. Even people who only know you professionally, as a voice on the telephone or a name on an email, can be happy for your achievement.

When you finish a marathon, adopt a new pet, or earn an award, go ahead and accept their congratulations. You may find that others share your story.


3. When You Want to Highlight a Cause You Care Deeply About

Assuming you have a non-controversial cause you want to support, it’s okay to throw occasional references or referrals on to your business social feed. It signals to buyers that you have concerns that are bigger than the bottom line, and shows off your sense of civic duty and pride.

For example, my team and I recently volunteered with Habitat for Humanity Southern Alberta to rebuild and launch both their main site and the ReStore site (what an awesome experience).

So go ahead and post something about that bake sale, charity dinner, or school activity you were involved in. It's all good.


4. When You Have a (Clean) Joke Your Followers Might Love

Humour is the engine that runs social media and attracts attention. The obvious warning here, though, is that your jokes need to be clean and non-offensive.

No matter how funny you think a punchline or meme might be, if just a few of your customers are offended it could end up costing you money, or worse, your reputation.


5. When Your Social Feed Has Been Nothing But Marketing

While you do want to share business news and marketing messages through Facebook and Twitter, at least on your business accounts, they shouldn’t feel like infomercials. If you’ve had nothing but straightforward offers coming through for a while, look for an excuse to post something more fun or personal.


Generally speaking, most small business owners use Facebook and Twitter for personal posts when they should be sticking to the topics their fans and customers need to hear about. But, if you can be smart about it, you can make your social feeds a lot more engaging by deviating from the company line once in a while (even if you’re the one who sets the company line the first place).

Watch for opportunities to connect with the people in your network who share interests outside of your work. And when you see how powerful they can be, come back to our blog for more great online marketing advice!

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Topics: blogging, social engagement