Social media etiquette for business is more important than it first appears. Much like other social labels, social media etiquette for business can help you connect with people you talk to by demonstrating that you are following rules of behavior that almost anyone can agree with.
Corporate social media etiquette has been evolving for many years. Just as ordinary people should follow posting etiquette to show respect to others in the online community, corporate social media etiquette is a sign that businesses value their audience’s time and attention.
It is an essential element to present a company as its branded social media account.
“Social media manners” may not seem important to some people, but they can make or break a mark. Social media etiquette helps you avoid embarrassing mistakes that generate negative attention. This is especially crucial because errors can be captured by screenshot and used against you – forever.
The rules of social media are constantly evolving, but there are some basic rules you should never ignore. The following ideas are just the start. If your business uses social media on a regular basis, you should document social media best practices that your brand management team should follow.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the best social media etiquette tips:
1. Always know what a hashtag means before posting.
Hashtags help make content appear by making it easier to search on social media networks. Many brands were deeply humiliated when they used a hashtag related to domestic violence or other serious matters to sell their products. Even if a hashtag is trending and generates a lot of traffic, make sure you understand what it is and that it is relevant to you.
2. Opt out with a social media user if they are “SILENT”
No matter how friendly your brand behaves, not everyone wants to talk to it. The “Silence, Brand”Meme has become a visual shortcut for this sentiment.
If you contact someone and they respond with that meme or a line that has the same meaning, opt out and move on. They have made their feelings clear and it is only polite to respect that. Plus, you never know if they’ll act belligerently towards you.
3. If you @ a user, make sure it is a positive experience.
@ (“to”) is a symbol used on most social media networks to tag an individual user, who will then receive a notification. You should only use @ to create positive brand experiences. Remember that all of your followers can watch any given interaction. It is almost always acceptable for @a user to express their thanks or draw your audience’s attention to something positive they have done.
4. Do not enter a user’s private messages unless prompted to do so.
Even if a user follows your brand, that doesn’t mean they want to receive direct messages. Your promotions should never be based on people responding to direct messages – if you need to grab a specific user’s attention, tag them with @ instead. Direct messaging should only be used if the person initiates or consents, for example, when providing customer service.
5. Don’t argue in public
Conversely, don’t argue or argue in public with social media users. Always try to direct customer service matters to the DM quickly so that no personal information is accidentally posted. Sometimes a user may have a complaint that they want to get a lot of attention to. They may not be interested in a constructive discussion or in solving the problem. In such cases, escalate the issue to your company’s outreach team. They will have additional options to encourage the user to change their behavior.
6. Pay attention to busy topics
When dealing with any kind of controversy, make sure your social media is aligned with your Corporate social responsibility the brand plan and values. Outside of the clear boundaries of your branding strategy, it’s usually best to err on the side of caution and not get involved in disputes that could harm your brand. Always remember that you don’t need to reply to every message, even when your account receives an @.
7. Monitor your brand mentions so you can respond proactively
There are many ways to search for brand mentions. They can come in the form of a hashtag, an @, or an in-text mention of your brand name. Such mention should be considered as consent to your response, even if the person makes a complaint or general comment. Make sure your social media tech stack includes tools to monitor mentions for you and notify you of the news. Some examples include Nexalogy, Mentionlytics, and more.
8. Be polite and respectful at all times.
Just as Ronald McDonald wouldn’t yell at a kid in Playland and Mickey Mouse wouldn’t push someone out of line at Magic Kingdom, your brand should always remain polite and respectful no matter what. Remember that a brand is not a human being, it is a character. Followers think they have a relationship with this character, and your behavior is key to keeping them immersed.
What does social etiquette mean? In the long run, it’s much easier than it looks. By being thoughtful in your social media communications, you’ll attract followers who care about what you have to say. It helps you get real business value from social media instead of just screaming into the void.
Make sure the above social media etiquette tips are available to all of your staff who will touch your social media. Make them available in your Slack, Dropbox, or right on the office wall, whichever works best for you. Even the best etiquette rules are worthless if you don’t follow them!
The article was originally published here.