I visited the Business Show at the Excel Centre in London this year. During my time there, I had an interesting chat with two charming ladies who’ve recently started a new business selling cup cakes. Their business model is well thought out. I was very interested to find out how they can ‘quality control’ their brand (and the quality of their cakes) at such an early stage of their business and brand journey, particularly when using a network of bakers around the country who all work remotely and they have never met before! They explained to me how it works and how they select their affiliates carefully. They explained to me how they do it and one very interesting point jumped out for me immediately. They interrogate their proposed affiliates through Social Media channels! By this I don’t mean they read just a few posts here and there, I mean they REALLY interrogate it! They carefully read through all old posts, check all feedback or comments left about their work from happy or disgruntled customers, check photo’s of their finished cakes, focusing on the attention to detail. Interestingly they read posts that are well over a year old on all their social media activity, to ensure that they make the grade consistently, to feel confident to put their own brand name and reputation in the hands of these bakers. Do YOU cut the mustard? If you re-read through your own business Social Media posts for two years (by this I mean that you read EVERY post), would YOU be impressed with what you saw? Would you wince at some of the stuff you’ve written and put out there? Does your output on Social Media stand the test of your own (perceived) professionalism, portray your exacting standards, show how you interact with your clients or customers via their comments and feedback? Well I hope so, because if not, it could be losing you potential business opportunities. My Top 5 Tips: 1) Keep your posts business-like (but also be authentic too). 2) Ensure you’re not blurring the lines between personal posts and business posts. 3) If you are not sure how your post will be perceived, don’t post it! 4) Keep in mind that whatever is posted by you and indexed by Google, can never be erased! 5) When you post on Social Media, you are building social equity in your brand, so make sure its valuable and worth it. The virtual world is the same as the real world (yes really), we’re all being silently assessed from afar. Make sure that any assessment of you is a good one! Remember: When times get tough, eat cake! Written by Jan Ibbott – Business Buddy – Business Advisor to owners of Small Businesses

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