Mobile devices offer an unprecedented amount of freedom in the workplace. Some companies advocate a BYOD (bring your own device) policy, and others distribute employee devices to make communication with colleagues, prospects, and clients easier. Once upon a time, mobile devices were primarily used for email and calls in the business world. Occasionally, someone might login to a VPN for work away from the office, but that time is gone.
Today, business professionals use mobile devices to check social media, makes posts, and do any number of other activities. Participating in the social online world, however, comes with its own set of security, human error, and other issues. Whether you’re a business owner or a sales representative, keep these Dos and Don’ts in mind when using social media on mobile devices for your business:
- Do keep your public and private life separate. If you have two phones, use one entirely for work and the other entirely for private activities. Those who only have one phone can make separation easier with clear organization and mapping out which business activities you’ll do on the phone and which you’ll save for the desktop.
- Do create a social media policy or advocate for one. For social media to work seamlessly, employees and managers need boundaries. Regardless of who accesses the company account on a regular basis, what employees post can affect the overall business. Ensure that employees remember the public nature of social media, and only entrust updating accounts to a few select individuals.
- Do respond in real time. Social media provides the ideal forum for reaching a targeted audience in a timely fashion. Companies don’t have to worry about lengthy approval processes or other barriers to expedient communication. When a large sporting event takes place or news rocks the country, prepare to reach out with a professional statement.
- Do use discretion. Some topics, statements, and vocabulary are appropriate for social media, but some are not. Learn from other company mistakes on social media, and stick with safe, meaningful interactions.
- Do lock your device. Though it won’t protect your device from thieves, it may keep them from accessing sensitive information. Even a friend’s unguided use could lead to trouble. Locking the device prevents anyone from making a mistake that could haunt you or your business.
- Do use social media from mobile devices to stay engaged. Regular updates to social media sites help companies build brand awareness. Mobile devices allow businesses to share information from the privacy of homes or from halfway around the world. Take advantage of the marketing possibilities mobile solutions provide.
- Don’t post without thinking. You may not think twice about posting a joke made during a business cocktail hour, but it could suffer a poor reception. Many faux pas occur because professionals and individuals forget to think about the content and its ramifications before sharing.
- Don’t stay logged into an app or browser social media site. A mobile device’s greatest asset can also serve as a problem. Hackers and pickpockets may easily break into a device and ruin your online reputation. Log out every time instead of letting the device save your password and log in automatically.
- Don’t use public Wi-Fi. For any online business activities, including checking and posting to social media, public Wi-Fi access can mean trouble. Use the cellphone data instead or limit social media activity to secure internet connections.
- Don’t download an app and forget to update it. Many updates contain security information to keep a device safe from the latest threats. Update social media and other apps regularly to gain the full benefit of security and service updates.
- Don’t click on in-app links you aren’t sure of. A mobile device may not offer the same amount of security as a desktop system on a network at the office. You could open a channel hackers can use to gain access to your work network, compromising sensitive data even if you don’t keep it stored on your mobile device.
- Don’t download social media apps without verifying them. Typically, legitimate applications pop up in an app store first, and some companies may only allow certain apps for download on business devices. However, if they do not, make sure the application you download is safe.
- Don’t offer mobile devices for social media to employees without proper training. Security and company policy training doesn’t take long and could save the company from potential legal battles and damage control in the future.
Using social media on mobile devices offers businesses an easy way to stay engaged with the market. As with many of today’s technologies for connectivity, they can destroy a company as well as build it up. Common sense and training go a long way. Social media offers many opportunities for businesses to make a personal connection with prospects and customers. When approached cautiously, it can improve awareness and SEO, generate leads, and convert leads for better sales.