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It’s no longer just about what you say but sometimes what you DON’T say that impacts how you’re perceived as a business.

If you or your business is finally joining in the social media revolution, welcome to the party! It’s quite a learning curve and it changes from platform to platform.

Facebook has been around long enough to have had fans and quitters already. Twitter is growing, substantially and has its own language & rules of engagement that you either love or don’t understand. Instagram, Pinterest, Linked In and all the others have their own pace and personality.

The new issue cropping up with so much interest in new media is unused and dead accounts. They’re everywhere. Apathetic businesses or persons decide they should probably sign up and get going but have little to no success. I mean, it’s easy and free to create an account on any social media site but without proper training or a disappointing and lacklustre response in the first few weeks or even days, accounts go ‘ghost town’.

I don’t know how many times someone says to me “I have an account but I have no idea what it is…” let alone the password to log in.

That’s fine, no big deal if you’ve started and stopped, what harm can it do…

Well, truth is, having a dead or stagnant account on any social media platform can be compared to an open, inviting store without an employee to be found, no one to help you find your size, no one at check out, no employees at all.

If you’re open for business, you had better be ready for business.

If you’re on social media – whichever platforms you choose to use – you had better actually be there. The moment you sign up, the moment you put a picture up or a profile write up about how good you are at whatever you do, you had better be there to welcome the customers or friends or followers each day, each hour they show up to ‘shop’ with you.That’s the way it works.

Hey, I didn’t make up the rules or say that you have to like it, but that’s the way it works.

Sure, there are different etiquettes and acceptable reprieves on each medium but overall, you’re open for business on social media when you create an account so you had better make sure the friends & followers find your account engaging, creative, and open for business too.

It used to be easily excused as “I’m just learning” or “I have no idea what I’m doing” but those days are fleeting, too. I mean, you signed up for an account so you must have known what you were doing, right? That’s what we will think.

Imagine if you opened that same store, from the analogy above, but didn’t have supplies, stock or any idea what you were doing, yet. Would you open the doors before you were ready? Probably not.

If you’re on Linked In, Facebook, twitter or any social media and ‘don’t know what you’re doing’ yet, so you have disappeared, you’re actually better off not being there, frankly. You’ll just cause yourself more grief, lost customers and possibly even lost respect in the brand you have built.

Remember, like a physical fitness program, social media isn’t easy. You need to stay active and you only see results if you’re committed. You wouldn’t sign up for a work-out class to be a spectator.

Whatever you do, don’t give up. It’s not a lost cause because it didn’t work or because you have no idea what you’re doing. Remember, social media is always ‘working’, even when it’s not working for you. That can be good or very bad for business.

– Joe