This is an interesting era. As participation in social networking becomes more and more compulsary for both individual and businesses, we find ourselves in another one of those weird beginning-of-the-learning-curve periods that makes many of us roll our eyes constantly, while others bang their heads in frustration. Those of us who have been doing this for a while become homocidal when our flow is interrupted by someone who might be a little wet behind the ears, while others try to figure out why they keep getting yelled at. It reminds me of the days when the early adopters had to crusade against the caps-lock-yelling clueless in every post, on every forum.
The new offense that I'm yammering about is the complete misuse of a Twitter account or Facebook page by a business. So many of the companies that I follow post complete bullshit on the regular that has nothing to do with their company or product, often leading me to unfollow and forget they ever existed.
The wiser companies, big and small, have recognized the need for a community manager, or a service to handle their tweeting and updating for them. This, to me, is akin to hiring an advertising agency and it's a good move. You make toilets. You don't know how to make ads. You hire someone to make ads for you. Maybe you give them a free toilet. That's up to you. The same should go for your social networks. If you don't know what you're doing (hint: you probably don't), then get someone who does know to do it for you before you irritate your customers and hurt your business.
Let me guess. You're the guy at the frame shop who knows the most about computers and the internet. All those old duffers you work with have been slingin' frames for 30 years, and they've never had a need to get in to all that social networking business. It has finally, however, invaded even their consciousness to the point where they recognize that it's a necessary evil. You can only have so many hipster kids tell you that they can't wait to like your Facebook page before you have to figure out what that is. Anyway, while you're pretty good at looking stuff up on the Google and even rotating pictures of your sister's kid to the appropriate orientation for posting, you still probably don't get the subtle differences between the social network as it pertains to individuals vs. how it pertains to a business.
My advice, if you're going to ignore my previous advice about getting someone to do this for you, is to think of your feeds as ads for your business and post accordingly. That means saving the cutesy or funny things you find on the internet for your personal accounts, and restricting the business accounts for... here comes a shocker... business. You know that hilarious video of the sleepy puppy or laughing baby someone sent you? It's hilarious, right? HILARIOUS. Still, don't put it on the frame shop's Facebook page. Chances are if someone sent it to you, someone sent it to me too. That's how these things work. I know you want to add some insightful commentary to it ("Look at this silly puppy falling asleep!"), but guess what? Your insightful commentary is meaningless to me, because I don't know you, and I probably don't care what you think about anything (except frames). I'm sorry to be so harsh, but it's true. I have people for that. Actually, I have HUNDREDS of people for that. They're people that I actually know in some way or another, and even they irritate the shit out of me with those damn sleepy puppy/laughing baby videos sometimes. The last thing I want, or should expect, is the damn frame shop, which hasn't posted an update on their special deals since the first week when they said "watch this space for new deals every week", to be posting the same stuff. I'm really, really sorry, but I didn't follow you because I want to see the funny things you find on the internet, or hear about how the Head Framesman is stylin' in his new car, or about how if everyone posts this to their wall, Obama will be forced to give everyone a hug and apologize for whatever his religious beliefs are. It doesn't belong there, and it severely dilutes your already limited access to your customers' eyeballs.
Now, I know what the next argument is. We're a small/family business, and we want our attitude/philosphy/down-home-folksiness to be part of our online identity. Seriously, don't do that. It's stupid. People can buy frames from literally anywhere in the world, son. When you portray an opinion or take a stand on ANYTHING, you alienate half your customers. Who am I going to buy my frames from? The guy online who might be a right-wing whack-job these-colors-don't-run baby seal clubber who keeps quiet about whatever dumb shit he's in to, or the guy down the street who confirms via his Twitter account that if I spend money with him, part of it is going to go toward lynching gays? Hell, I hate to be the one to break this to you, but some percentage of your potential customer base also hates maniacally giggling babies (or in my case, is just downright creeped out by the hypnotic trance they seem to incite over the general baby-loving public) and by posting something you think is just all in good fun, you've left a bad taste in their mouth associated with your company.
This isn't to say that you can't keep things light and fun. Did your shop get a sweet new display case? It's totally fine to post a picture of it and invite people to come check out the sweet merchandise you're filling it with. Is your shop "fun" with a "wacky" atmosphere? Go ahead and put the new guy in the case and mention how much you love clowning around. One picture, though. ONE. Not all the ones you took. Just the one.
Keep your stream light, both in terms of the amount of content and the mood of it, and most importantly keep it on point. Like advertising, use it sparingly so as to not innundate your customers to the point of irritation, and use it very wisely, because you have such a precious little sliver of their attention.
You'll be fine, kid. Now finish updating the shop's hours on Facebook and then get your ass in the back. That damn truck isn't going to unload itself!