By Bryan Orr

So much has been made of social media as a marketing tool for small business. Having a Facebook page and an Instagram account for your business has risen to the point of being almost required.

And I agree… if you don’t have a Facebook page for your business, seriously?

But there is a form of social marketing that many are doing that they rarely think about and the results can be significant.

Before I tell you more I need to give you a back story. I have a business coach and I also work as a consultant and business coach from time to time. My coach has been coaching for something like 30 years. I say something like 30 years because I don’t know exactly, but he has done it a really long time. Long enough that he has worked with enough business owners that he really isn’t worried about hurting my feelings or ruffling my feathers for the sake of my progress.

A few months back I was driving to a community breakfast and I received a text message from my coach. As I pulled into the parking lot, getting ready to glad hand some local dignitaries and our congressman I read his text. It said, “I know I’m risking upsetting you with this, but what you have been posting on Twitter is not something a good coach would post.”

I read it again… as my eyes began to bug out of my head. HOW DARE HE!

If you know anything about Twitter, it’s a place where jokes and anti-jokes of every sort are commonplace. I had been on a run of posts that I thought were HILARIOUS! To use Twitter language I was #ROTFL over my own wit. I mean sure… Some of them could have been construed to have a political bend.

And this guy… in his late 60’s, is going to read my Twitter feed and tell me that I’m not a good coach because I made a few jokes? He probably doesn’t even know what LOL means!

But here’s the thing, he was and is, right.

A business is nothing more than the people who make it up, and as the owner of a business I represent my business more than anyone else. When I write something because I think it’s funny without any regard to how I’m leaving everyone who reads it, then I’m actually being anti-social.

So since that day I canceled all my social media accounts and never said anything that could be construed to offend anyone…. NOT.

This is the sort of thing that is always a work in progress and the line will never be totally clear. The realization is that everything I put into the public, both on my business page and in my personal accounts is marketing. Like all marketing, it can be thoughtful or thoughtless, social or anti-social, contrived or authentic.

The resolution is not becoming some fake, happy, Twitter drone, pumping out rainbow unicorn memes. My epiphany is that I can be both authentic and intentional with how I’m communicating with the world and not risk ostracizing whole swaths of the population by posting carelessly.

Many of us have lost a relationship because of something said on social media, how many business opportunities may have been unknowingly lost for the same reason?

So use social media, just stay away from anti-social media.

In other news… Don’t look me up on Twitter.