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Social media is now part of everyday life with over 4.4 billion expected users by 2025. As such, it’s a no-brainer that brands use it to communicate with their customers.
However, just as it’s crucial to practice proper etiquette when conversing in-person, you also need to do the same online.
Poor social media etiquette can lead to terrible consequences for an erring company. For example, in 2018, Snapchat lost an estimated $800 million after making a post that seemed to trivialize domestic violence.
Here are some benefits of practising proper social media etiquette:
Your core values should resonate in your content. So if one core value is respect, you’d want to keep sassy comments out of your social media.
On the other hand, if your brand is big on humor, then snarky comments would be on-brand.
79% of customers expect a response in the first 24 hours of reaching out to your brand on social media.
So, DO respond as soon as possible. Responding quickly to positive feedback reinforces a customer’s liking of your brand.
Slow response, especially to complaints, makes customers feel like they’re left on read—and we all know how that feels.
Nike Support (@NikeSupport) replies to customers every few minutes, which is probably one reason why people love them on social media.
If people come to your page and see an incomplete profile, it gives the wrong impression and they’ll feel you’re not serious enough about engaging with them.
So, complete your profile and include useful information, for example, contact information when appropriate.
Glossier’s Instagram profile, for example, contains information you need to know about it and includes its website where you can get more information.
Hashtags can boost engagement, but too many hashtags on a post can make you look unprofessional and annoying.
Displaying good social media etiquette will require you to use only hashtags that are relevant to the post.
Coca-Cola’s branded #ShareACoke hashtag is an excellent example of a brand that used hashtags well.
While your audience and industry should be factored in, a good rule of thumb is to post at least once a week.
If you don’t, there’s the risk of losing out on opportunities for driving brand awareness.
Humor is subjective, and what’s funny to you might be insensitive or downright offensive to others.
If you’re not sure about how a joke would be taken, then it’s better to keep it locked away.
Aside from Wendy’s, another brand that’s hacked funny social media replies and posts is Innocent Drinks.
Don’t be desperate to get followers. It can be off-putting to see a business ask for followers every chance it gets.
By posting valuable and authentic content, you’ll be able to grow your follower count and get high-quality interactions that will attract even more people.
Fenty’s social media posts include testimonials from women of different nationalities and ethnicities, which is one reason for its rapid growth.
Followers will quickly get tired if they see too much on social media from your brand.
Balance is key. If ever you’ll post more often than before, tell your audience beforehand and explain why. Then they’ll be less likely to unfollow you during your spree.
Tempted to use a bot to respond to your customers? Then you’re on your way to losing them.
Users are smart, and they can sense when a response is automated. If you can’t be online 24/7, share the hours when customers can reach you on the platform. Twitch Support’s bio contains its scope of assistance and open hours.
DO YOU WRITE IN ALL CAPS? Then you are likely stressing out your audience. Why? BECAUSE IT FEELS LIKE YOU’RE SHOUTING AT THEM!
Even Twitter’s official business website for brandsadvises against tweeting in all caps.
So, stop with all caps. They aren’t funny and come off as rude and aggressive. Use all caps only when something is truly important (or exciting), and you definitely HAVE to call your audience's attention to it.
Social media can be a minefield, and only good social media policies can guide brands and employees around it.
Although employees have the right to say what is on their minds and can post content on their personal time, it’s important to encourage them to be polite and calm on social media.
Thinking before replying or posting online can de-escalate a potentially bad situation.
Social media isn’t the place to discuss sensitive company matters or disclose internal information.
As an employee, you might not realize that you’re discussing sensitive or internal matters, so the best thing is to take no chances. If it’s not your place to do so or you’re unsure, then move on without discussing such matters online.
There’s a rush that comes from being the first to ‘break the news.’ However, doing so might come at the cost of losing your job.
So before you post or comment, ensure you’re entitled to share the information. Even if it doesn’t get you dismissed, some information you share might hurt others and ruin relationships.
Your employer is paying you for your time, so act accordingly. Don't abuse their trust even if your employer allows you to use social media while at work.
If you’re the social media manager, stick to the professional accounts. Using that time to attend to trivial, personal stuff is unfair. It’s also risky because you could end up mixing up accounts and posting something you shouldn’t with your professional account.
Be mindful that you represent your employer. Thus, post information like you’re posting on their behalf.
Use good judgment when posting online. For example, if someone posts negative information about the organization, don’t fly into a confrontation. Instead, tell someone in charge who can handle the matter or give you instructions on how to handle it.
These Dos and Don’ts of social media etiquette might seem challenging to follow. However, following them can save you and your company a lot of stress.
Several brands have experienced the power of cancel culture firsthand, and you can avoid their experiences by practicing good social media etiquette.
When you care about your audience and put yourself in their shoes, you can have a good culture of social media etiquette that will benefit your brand.
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