Now you're probably thinking that's an odd statement to make, but I urge you to keep reading as I explain why it's completely true and how this approach will help you succeed in using social media for your business.
So, why the comparison?
Well whether you've tried online dating for yourself or not we've all heard of the horror stories of the person in the profile being very, very different to who actually shows up on the first date. The 28-year-old Brad Pitt lookalike who enjoys the gym and walks on the beach turns out to be a 45-year-old couch potato who still lives with his parents.
The same applies to a lot of companies using social media, advertising themselves as a global business with a team of highly trained staff when really they're one-man-band operating out of their parent's spare room.
Therefore it's crucial to see social media as an extension of you business, rather than a chance to be something you're not. If you're a one-person business then use that to your advantage, let your personality show through in your tweets and posts. That does not mean posting a drunken photo of you at 3am, outside a nightclub, tied to a lamppost. It means raising social media as you would a face-to-face meeting or a phone call; If you're a fun and lively character then make sure this comes across.
Just remember, boring social media = a boring company.
Also, trust is more important than ever in building a successful business, and social media plays a huge role in this. In the years before Twitter, Facebook and Google+ excluded if a company provided a poor level of service you told your family, friends and maybe a neighbor. But now, through social media, you can tell millions of people, people you've never even met of how poorly you've been treated.
The key to any negative feedback is how you react. If someone complains about your company via social media then make sure you send a prompt, polite reply through the same channels. Even if it only says you will call them in the next 15 minutes to discuss the problem, it shows anyone following the conversation that you are aware of the complaint and are dealing with it. Just make sure you do call them back! An already unhappy customer will not hesitate to tell the world they have been waiting a week for your phone call.
And finally, be honest with your audience. Chances are some of your current customers will be following you, and they probably will not be happy if you cancel today's sales meeting because of "a really bad case of flu", smiling to the first tee at Wentworth. Like being done playing football with your friends when you were "too ill to make our date", the relationship is pretty much doomed.