Every business would love free publicity by roasting people on Twitter like Wendy’s. Sometimes you want to dish a clap back or take a strong stance with certain topics. Unfortunately, doing so is a quick way to tarnish your brand if you’re not known for the tone.
People have brand perceptions so breaking social media etiquette can cause negative reactions. Not all publicity is good publicity despite what they say.
What you say online is there forever. You can guarantee someone will screenshot and archive your social shares. It may not be today but comments return during critical moments in your business’ history.
How should you treat your social media presence? Read and find out.
Social Media Etiquette: The Do’s and Don’ts
Social media attracts all demographics meaning your followers aren’t always who you expect. Followers range from casual fans to die-hard evangelists. You’ll have many that will lurk while others engage with every share.
The Vocal Minority
The vocal minority are individuals with strong social clout (influence). The influencers champion your goods and draw attention to your faults. One ill-advised tweet or social share can land you in hot water.
You want an edge to define and differentiate your brand image. But, you must respect followers and the community, too. This is a hard line to define and the reason why many find themselves facing blowback.
The Social Media Do’s
There’s no right or wrong of social media but there are unspoken community guidelines. As expected, these align with how people interact in public — online is no different.
What you should do when using social media:
Be aware many followers don’t hold similar beliefs and convictions. Speak your mind from the viewpoint of the brand, not a rant as its founder or representative.
Separate business accounts from personal. Use the business account to share what’s happening at the business. Keep it professional as if you’re talking to owners and clients, always.
Found something great and want to share it? Ask for permission from the original artist or tag the creator. Never post something passing it as your own!
Give (More Than Take)
Aim to give valuable information or helpful insights more than promotional efforts. Keep the promotions to 1 out of 10 social media shares else you may alienate users by being pushy.
Spend time learning the platform to better understand its nuances and usage. Wait until you’re comfortable with the lingo and features, then share your thoughts.
The Social Media Dont’s
Disrespecting community guidelines and platform policies can run havoc on your brand. This damage is mild like a few angry words to full-on boycott!
Practice the following rather than test the community’s acceptance:
Passion is an attractive business quality but not when it’s directed negatively. Don’t fan the flames of heated discussions or trolling. Don’t engage if you’ve lost your cool else you may regret what you say.
Have a plan for why you’re using social media. This prevents long gaps of nothing which loses follower interest. Plus, having goals let you track efforts, seeing if your SMM is effective.
A touching story can include a life lesson but being negative for the sake of it is off-putting. Don’t turn your social feed into a therapy session as followers want fun interactions. This company does a good job of keeping their blog and social feeds to the point, even with tough subject matter. Likewise, don’t turn your feed into an offensive rant.
Commit to a social channel including responding to inquiries as soon as you can. Social media is like customer support — if unavailable then people go elsewhere. Worse, your followers feel neglected and may paint a bad image of your brand.
Be Out of Touch
Understand your community to avoid mishaps with completely missing the point. Don’t berate and tell people they’re wrong if you know they’re in the right. This makes your brand seem pompous and out of touch with passionate followers.
How to Create an SMM Policy: Social Media Etiquette for Employees
A social media policy can define the tone while creating a system for social shares. This may sound dull but it adds a layer of accountability if your social interactions go awry.
Create a policy and social media etiquette for employees by answering these questions:
Q1: Do You Need Social Media?
The obvious way to avoid social media hoopla is by removing your business from the equation. Social media is a powerful lead gen tool but many markets have little representation. Efforts may be better focused through traditional channels until social media gets adopted.
Q2: Who’s in Charge?
Pick who’s in charge to avoid miscommunication — will it be:
- Social media manager(s)
This person is accountable for the social profile and interactions. They should have a strong understanding of the brand guidelines. Plus, they’ll file reports letting executive employees handle tough interactions.
Q3: What’s the Tone?
Choose your tone:
The social manager questions if the interaction matches the tone before pressing send. The tone acts as checks and balances. This qualifier prevents overt reactions, keeping interactions grounded and safe.
Q4: What’s the Goal?
Define the goal beyond using social because you’re told to:
- Lead generation
- Customer support
- Fun & entertainment
- Brand building
A goal gives every social interaction a purpose. It’s difficult derailing conversations when you plan every share and interaction.
Q5: How Will You Handle Blowout?
What’s the fallback if interactions go sour:
- Who will respond
- How it’s addressed
Your disaster plan squelches blowout before it’s out of control. Or, at least controls the dialog versus becoming overwhelmed by an irate community.
Draft a Blueprint
Define and condense answers and feedback into guidelines. These guidelines become the blueprint to your social media use. The result is a level-headed interaction free from brand damaging outbursts and mishaps.
Freedom of Speech Is NOT Freedom from Repercussions: Be Mindful of Your Words
Social media etiquette may seem to negate the purpose of these platforms — expression. But, these aren’t public spaces. Social platforms have rules and policies where freedom of speech doesn’t always apply.
Practice mindfulness with your words, known when to bite your tongue.
Social media does a lot of good for business. It can engage audiences but also destroy your brand’s image and authority in an instant. So, follow the “treat others how you wish to be treated”.
Think you’re doing social media wrong? Fix it, read our list of SMM mistakes and combine the tips with etiquette do’s of this post.