As civilisations become older, a sense of order tends to permeate through its members. This is often unspoken and vague, yet breaking this code can lead to being ostracised from society. So it is with social media. There are generally accepted rules that define what a successful business does in this space. I’m not talking about any specific platform’s terms and conditions, although breaking these will likely result in loss of your profile. No, I’m talking about the more ephemeral ideals that people expect to see on online. Like keeping your elbows off the table at dinner or not chewing with your mouth open, it’s important to avoid the following social faux pas.
Keep On Message
When people follow your accounts, they are signing up based on several fact
ors. Brand recognition, previous dealings, keeping up to date. Followers are also using your profile information to get an understanding of what your account is about. As such, you should be keeping your posts related to this outline. Each time you go to put something online, ask yourself if it is in line with your brand. Will your followers find value in it?
Tightly aligned with this is avoiding spam. It seems like a no-brainer, but it’s a slippery slope when you’re starting to post more frequently. If you struggle to find useful content, the topics may begin to broaden into areas not aligned to your business. Your followers will see this and become blasé about future posts, drastically reducing engagement.
Communication is two-way
No-one likes being talked to. As humans, we want to engage with others. It is called social media after all. As such, if someone writes a comment or sends a message, respond to it. In fact, for some platforms such as Facebook, quick response rates can even help improve your account’s ranking. Now, unlike your teenage daughter, as a business you can’t be on your phone 24/7; however, that doesn’t mean you can’t put aside a small amount of time each day to respond to online messages.
This can be taken too far though. If you start to rely on automated messages, then you can drive people away. Messaging a welcome when someone follows your account may seem like a good idea, but consider yourself on the receiving end. How many default “thanks for signing up, why not check out XYZ” messages have you ever actually followed? It just comes across as spam, and we’ve already discussed what happens with that.
Don’t disrespect others. It may seem odd to have to mention this specifically when discussing manners, but here it is anyways because it’s just so important. Online disagreements can easily get out of hand, becoming personal or vindictive. This will only end badly for your brand. Be respectful to everyone, especially your competitors. Their audience will probably see your communications and guess what, they are also prospective clients for your business. If you take the high road, they’ll see that and your brand will grow in their minds. Of course, don’t let your competitors freely disparage your business. Provide both sides of the coin with civil responses so that readers can form their own opinions.
Following these simple ideas will help you to avoid online backlash from your social media accounts. Whilst this list is by no means extensive, it is a great starting point. The biggest piece of advice we can give is to take the time to consider your social media strategy. What image do you want to portray for your business? Keep this in mind when posting and you’ll avoid a lot of the pitfalls. And if you’re ever in doubt as to the direction you’re going, Social Media Angel is just a phone call away.