Businesses who effectively use their social media accounts are able to build unique relationships with their customers. However, social media is eerily similar to your real social life: good manners often go unnoticed, but make one wrong move and become forever infamous among your fan base. Big names like Ashton Kutcher, Kenneth Cole, and Nestlé have made it onto Mashable’s Social Media’s Biggest Screw-Ups list . So, how can you and your business stay off future lists like that one? Thankfully, social media specialists and journalism experts are constantly working to better define the loose rules of social media etiquette. In fact, the Online News Association’s 2012 conference in San Francisco put together a panel of the top social media editors, “Social Media Debate: Best Practices vs. Bad Habits.” Watch their video to learn about some of the biggest changes social media is experiencing today.
Check out this list of our own favorite do’s and don’ts of online manners:
- DON’T ignore negative comments (and don’t be argumentative).
Not everyone is going to agree with everything you have to say. You might discuss a piece of recent news that brings up a heated debate or receive a comment from a dissatisfied customer. You would not hang up on these people or shut the door in their faces, so don’t ignore them online. Maintain your cool business etiquette and attempt to redirect your followers towards a positive conversation. Realizing that you care might be enough to gain these customers’ loyalty and support.
- DO be social.
It is no longer acceptable to have a social media profile that you don’t use. The point of these online platforms is for conversation. That’s why they’re called social media. If your fans reach out to you, don’t be rude. Answer them. Post multiple times a day and always be engaged (but be careful not to flood your followers feed!).
- DON’T talk about you too much.
Obviously, your main goal in putting your business on a social media platform is to raise brand awareness and promote your product. But just like you would get bored listening to someone talk about themselves 24/7, you’re customers want to learn about a wider variety of information than just your business. Offer information of value that your target audience will enjoy following.
- DO be real.
People don’t want to befriend robots, nor do they want to engage in conversation with your autoposts. Social media management applications like HooteSuite and TweetDeck are great options for businesses that need to manage multiple pages, but should not be used to send out automated messages to followers. Companies that autopost tend to lack authenticity, ignore responses, and lose followers.