Behavior in Marketing: 4 Social Media Etiquettes Your Business Need to Abide by
The internet is full of contradictions. On one hand, this is the place where we, as a society, collectively gush over our feline friends, with cat-related contents still proving to be one of the most popular things out there. On the other hand, it is also a place where the digital divide has provided the less savory characters a way of to essentially act the way they want to and broadcasting whatever vile thoughts that has entered their minds unfiltered.
Social media in particular is particularly susceptible to those kinds of behavior. Kelly Marie Tran, the actress who played Rose Tico in 2017’s Star Wars film The Last Jedi deleted her Instagram account because of the torrent of abuse that has been lobbed at her since The Last Jedi came out. Civility is a rarity in the world of social media, which is why it’s all the more important for businesses to maintain a certain level of decorum with their social media accounts.
Social media and its discontents
This is obvious but because of its importance, it bears repeating, but social media is a public forum and with the internet virtually eliminating borders, the entire world is your audience. Any mistake you made, however small, will be screengrabbed, shared and ridiculed in all four corners of the world. To help you avoid the minefield that is social media, here a 4 etiquette rules you could use as a guideline.
Always be aware of your audience and current situation
The point is, always do your own research beforehand. Your business should already know what kind of customer you’d like to court and everything related to your social media accounts, what you’re posting and the language you’re using for example, should always reflect that. As an added note, even if your field of business relates to professional services, it is advisable to use a less uptight tone than you’d normally professionally use.
The second point relates to what’s going on around the world right now. On the aftermath of a disaster or the death of a public figure, it is wise to hold off on the wise-cracking and the humor for a while. Alternatively, when it’s all good in the world, you should also partake in the celebration. This is useful in showing your customers that you don’t exist in a bubble, that even as a business, they could still relate to you, which lead to my next point.
Be professional, but still relatable
The idea is that what you’re posting should always be professional but spoken in a personal language. Unlike typical business presentations, social media is a two-way platform and being dry and uptight tends to not foster conversation well. Additionally, try not to use automated messages to send private DMs to anyone who decides to follow you, automated spams like these are a big no-no among customers, especially when it’s something they never signed up for.
One other thing to note is to stop treating social media as a pure marketing platform. Instead of putting the focus solely on promoting and selling your products with an egregious amount of hashtags, try using more natural ways to build your brand. Foster connection with your followers and try to come up with interesting contents that still relates to your field of business while not explicitly promoting your own business.
Be quick to respond to everything
If you haven’t already, consider hiring a full-time social media manager. Your social media account is not just a marketing tool, it could also be used as a sales channel and a customer service channel and it is important for your business to be able to handle those queries in a timely manner. Having a full-time social media manager would also allow you to spot and correct any mistakes you’d come across.
Social media blunders are a matter of when, not if, and the best way to solve a problem is getting ahead of it in the first place. Even notable companies such as the personal care brand Nivea are not immune to these kinds of mistakes. In 2017, they ran an ad that unwittingly featured a line that seemed to support the white supremacist movement. If that’s not bad enough already, consider that Nivea ran that ad for a full two days before pulling it down.
Don’t badmouth your competitors and don’t be afraid to make fun of yourself
During her speech in 2016’s United States Democratic National Convention, former first lady Michelle Obama famously said the words “when they go low, we go high” in response to the rather crude atmosphere that has enveloped the 2016 U.S. presidential election. This circles back to my opening statement. No matter how ugly it might get on your social media feed, always try to keep a sense of dignity.
Try not to engage in uncouth name-calling or being negative in general with your competitors on social media. In fact, when it comes to social media, engaging in light banter with your competitors when possible might actually be better. UK’s BBC Three and E4 showed the world how it’s done during a light banter session two years ago for example. When it comes to social media, try not to be sensitive, self-deprecating humor could go a long way of humbling yourself.
One of the etiquette rules listed above, being quick to respond, is rather easy to follow, but the others would certainly take a lot more practice. When you’re starting out, you’ll undoubtedly struggle a bit as your company is still trying to find their own voice. Try looking at what other companies are doing and see if there’s anything there that works for you. Once you’ve figured out how you’d like to portray yourself, use it as a foundation on building your brand on social media.