When it comes to social media in business, there is a cardinal rule you must remember: if you are not willing to respond to the posts that people submit to your organization, you’re better off not using social media. Social media is a lot of work and will require a lot resources. However, if you are willing to expend the time, and money, to make social media resource, you will see big dividends.

Lots of companies have a Twitter handle that they will use to post updates on the company. However, consumers see the company’s Twitter account as a way to levy complaints or questions at the organization (it is a lot easier than dealing with an outsourced customer service rep). Often, businesses ignore these tweets simply because they’re negative. The harm that comes from that is similar to the effect of having customer service reps that don’t speak English well, people don’t like it. If a business really wants to examine its reputation on the Internet, ignoring customer tweets and Facebook comments is not the way to keep it positive.

It isn’t required that you respond to every single comment or tweet ever sent (that would be impossible). However, if there is a legitimate complaint message that is sent, it is in your business’ best interest to address that complaint directly and publicly–people need to see that you care enough about your customer base to take care of their needs. People feel valued when they are recognized.

Furthermore when it comes to your Facebook page, you want to make sure the content on your site stays current. You want to be posting relevant content on your site at least once a day. People will not want to “like” your organization for long if they are not given access to anything interesting or engaging. So, if you set up things like Facebook “check in” at your business, link to photos and video, you will receive the unique site visitors you want and retain your old membership.

The same goes for your company’s blog (if you choose to have one). You have to make sure that someone from your company posts on the site at the same time every week, so your followers know exactly when to expect something.

Lastly, be responsible with the power of social media. There have been examples of businesses that have really screwed up over social media (like tweeting inappropriate things, or posting a racy picture, etc.). So, be VERY careful with who you put over social media, and what they send out.