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Social media is my life’s blood for numerous reasons. I love tweeting, ranting my heart out, and even blurting out what I am feeling at any given moment in time. But when I launched my first business, I learned soon enough the importance of social media business etiquettes and the fine-line between making your customers fall head over heels with your business and stepping over some digital nerves.
Unfortunately, the full impact of social media etiquettes hasn’t yet dawned on our society yet. Businesses have created personal Facebook IDs to connect with people, and as soon as you accept their request, they start bombarding you with spam messages and unsolicited pokes, literally begging you to like, share and even comment on their posts.
If you ask a digital marketer for their two cents on the right way to market your brand, they will be sure to tell you to share messages in every group you can get your hands on. You can even automate your social media updates on every platform that has existed since the dawn of ages. But the only problem with this is that it clashes head-on with all the social media business decorum.
What social media business proprieties do you need to heed? With my immense amount of `experience in the digital realm, I can now give-out some tips which can help you connect better with your customers and prevent a tirade of irksome backlashes.
Social media business etiquettes you need to double check before you hit the publish button.
1) Read the tone of the room
Before you start posting on social media, you need to check on a few things. What is the best time to post on social media? What are the things that can make your customers angry? And even, which digital media trends are hot in the market?
Sometimes, even big brands can mess-up. Entenmann – the cake-maker, jumped on the hashtag bandwagon without checking out which hashtag was trending. In the year 2011, there was a trial going on and the court ruled “not guilty”. Instead of going into details, cake-maker used a hashtag which created a social outrage. In the aftermath of the event, the brand also apologized.
In another tweet by GAP in the wake of the Hurricane Sandy, when people might have liked to stay indoors, Gap thought it was a good idea to be a part of the conversation and up-surge their sales. What ensued was an outrageous set of hatred tweets by their fans.
2) Avoid automated tweets
This is not just limited to tweets. You need to avoid automated updates which can tarnish the reputation of your brand.
In the year 2015, when American Airlines merged with US Airways, it marked the inception of the largest airline in the world. But, in the throes of all the excitement and joy, they posted a tweet which was better left unposted. The system failed to realize the difference between a friendly and an unfriendly tweet and thanked a user who was doing nothing much but having some fun.
As soon as American Airlines thanked the user, consumers went crazy and started abusing the airline for replying to an unnecessary tweet. Later on, the company apologized and things settled down.
Some brands use automated tweets to interact with their customers on a tête-à-tête basis. While in some cases it might save some time and make each customer feel important as if they are being personally accosted by the brand, if those automated tweets are left to their own devices, they can vilify the reputation of the brand.
Instead of replying to customers separately, this brand used automated tweets to reply to each customer, which obviously created a bad impact on the internet.
3) Respond to comments fast
A survey conducted by Econsultancy revealed that around 53% of customers who ask a question on Twitter expect to get an answer within an hour. And if they don’t get their answer, they will start abusing the brand. And if the comment is a complaint, the percentage raises up to 72%.
Social media is the fastest way to interact with your customers and gain real-time insights pertaining to the service and the product you’re offering. The best approach is to categorize your messages and assign them to your team members. This will help employees give quick answers and avoid any negative reviews.
A timely response can save your brand and calm down customers. A study conducted by ConvinceAndConvert has concluded that 43% of consumers don’t even revert back to a brand, they just switch if they don’t get a timely response.
4) Never slur your competitors
You don’t need to give offense to your competitors to build a reputation. In fact, you need to show a professional attitude towards your opponents. You have to be transparent in the eyes of your competitors.
Tom Peters – the management guru, shares his expert advice on this:
But it doesn’t mean that your competitors are at a liberty to say anything about you. Just as in the early days, Samsung was fined for belittling their competitors. You need to steer clear of ruffling the feathers on social media by saying anything bad about your competitors. The only time you really need to break a sweat is when customers say something bad about your brand. And even then, you need to riposte with humor.
5) Always give credit
It doesn’t matter if it is big or small, you need to give credit whenever it is due. A vast throng of the audience will access your content, and if you’ve used any of the content that is user-generated, you need to give them credit.
This will help build credibility for your brand. Instead of feeling greedy over the content of your brand, you need to ask for permission before sharing anyone’s content on your social media posts. Furthermore, sharing someone’s content means that you’re giving them some points and they will reward you for your generosity and share your voice with their friends.
To wrap it all up
Whether you’re starting a business or are running an already well-established one, you need to read and follow these social media business etiquettes and make sure that you don’t damage the reputation of your brand in the process.