From Facebook and LinkedIn to Twitter and Instagram, there’s a wide variety of social media platforms available to meet the increasing demands of growing users. With its versatility and powerful marketing potentials, social media is a great way for small businesses to promote their products and services.
However, using social media has its own share of disadvantages. Every day, business owners are facing online bashing, disrespectful posts, fake news, personal assaults, and destructive comments that – if not addressed properly – will do more harm than good. This is the main reason why social media etiquette must be followed at all times. From sharing interesting photos to promoting content, taking into account the proper do’s and don’ts will help ensure a valuable and well-respected business in the world of social networks.
Understand your audience
Social media is a form of communication, and in any dialogue, there’s always a sender and a receiver. It is very important to note that your business should act as a good conversation partner and open up a two-way communication between you and your audience. Not knowing your audience properly is like going to a blind date and discussing pressing political issues until your date becomes uncomfortable throughout the conversation.
To help understand your audience more effectively, keep in mind the importance of social listening. It is a crucial media etiquette component that aids in uncovering potential gaps before they become worse while increasing the chances of developing a more personalized customer engagement conversation. So before answering someone else’s comments or questions, make sure to listen and understand where they are coming from.
- Do your job and check the profile or background of the customer before answering them.
- Figure out the best time to answer queries, post something, and comment on questions.
- Don’t use phrases or words that might compromise the integrity of your business.
The next important rule for social media etiquette is to be responsive to all forms of feedback – whether it’s a positive comment or a negative reaction. Almost half of the customers who message a business page expect to get a reply within an hour. And for those who submit complaints, three-quarters of them want a fast and speedy response.
Social media is a great avenue to communicate with your clients, but ignoring messages may lead to loss of potential customers. The same thing goes for responding to negative feedback. The proper social media etiquette to address these types of concerns is to handle things professionally. Remember that online reputation is everything, and one single mistake may cause your business a major PR disaster. Check out the solutions of reputation rhino about social media management.
- Always thank people for their praise, compliments, and good reviews.
- Respond to negative complaints by encouraging them to contact you for further discussion. If you need additional contact information to solve the complaint, ask the user to send you the information via direct message to ensure privacy.
- Assign someone to handle your social media accounts so clients get prompt replies every time.
Be a positive leader
Competition is just about everywhere, even on social media where things are actually tougher. Promoting your business online is a heavy workload, and you must keep an eye on your competitors to stay ahead of the game. But bad mouthing your peers won’t help and it won’t build a reputable brand the contrary, it will make your business unattractive.
Bad days or bad moods don’t belong online where a digital record can survive or be reposted – even if the original post or comment is deleted. Tearing down your competitors, for example via Facebook post won’t do good and may even harm your business. It’s best to focus on the positives and let customers sort out the rest without mentioning it. By playing nice, you may even gain an ally where you once saw a competitor.
- Train your staff in the importance of reputation management and how to handle negative comments.
- Highlight the key strengths of your business, the products, and services you excel most in.
- Follow the golden rule of social media strategy: reactions should only be positive or neutral.
Separate business from personal
The most common social media etiquette that is often neglected by business owners is to separate your personal and business accounts. What you share on your personal space might not be intended or helpful for your business. Just imagine posting a rant on Facebook and you accidentally post it on your business’s page. Or sharing a malicious video that is not intended to be seen by the public.
To keep things safe, always separate your personal page from your business account. If you don’t want to limit yourself from the playful nature of social media, keep your personal accounts private. This way, you can express your opinions without affecting the status of your trade. Below are some tips to avoid social media accidents:
- Use social media management platforms such as Hootsuite, Page Manager, or another one.
- Make it a habit to double check everything before sharing or posting content.
- Update your privacy settings and keep things entirely separate from your business.
Provide useful content
Why is social media etiquette important? Because aside from following good business practices, you can equally demonstrate the good and practical side of a social media network – providing quality content. Useful doesn’t necessarily mean a good article to read or a post filled with statistical data. It can be satisfying and interesting content related to your business. Many people post content just for the sake of having something there, but quality should be your priority over quantity.
By providing quality, useful, and interesting content, you are able to build a target audience and reach potential customers for your business. Consistent posting is the key to increase engagement. Although original posts are definitely preferred, you can also share User Generated Content (UGC), blogs from others, and third party write-ups if you lack time and knowledge.
- Encourage clients to submit real-life photos or experiences and turn them into separate posts.
- Don’t be afraid to share content from other pages or websites, just give credit when due.
- Post exciting content from video streaming sites and social applications like Pinterest.