Utilizing social media is a great way to spread the word about your brand or your business. Some businesses rely almost exclusively on social media to get the word out about their products and services. If you are going to use social media for your business, you should be aware of some key rules to follow in your communication strategy. Here are what we believe to be the 15 Commandments of Social Media Communication:
1. Keep your Interactions Clean & Positive
Any time you post content, or comment on someone else’s posts, you are representing your business. Try to avoid saying anything offensive or controversial unless that is what your brand is all about. In most cases, it is best to be polite and courteous, so that people will view you and your company in a positive way.
2. Respond to all External Communications
When you post content on a social media site, people will usually comment on it. You should respond to the comments quickly or even it’s not quick, just make sure you respond. This will show that you take your business seriously, and that you appreciate the people who take the time to read your posts or watch your videos.
It’s tempting for a business owner to use social media only for their own benefit. They don’t want to waste time on something that is not going to bring in more customers. However, if people get the sense that the only reason you are involved in a social media site is to promote your business, they may not like it too much. Take some time to participate in discussions that are not directly related to your business. You never know, doing so may actually bring you more customers and at the very least, it will make you look like a more valuable member of the community.
4. Respect the Ownership of Digital Property
When someone posts articles, videos, photos, or anything else online, it’s not okay to use that content however you see fit. You cannot use someone else’s content as if it were your own or even change it up and repurpose it in some way. If you want to post something on a social media site, make sure you are posting original content.
5. Lay off the Sales Pitch Once in a While
Social media is a great way to get traffic to your website and sell more products and services. However, it’s a good idea to just participate in some of these communities once in a while without trying to sell products. If every message you ever send out on social media is pitching a product, a lot of people won’t be interested in following you or reading your content any longer.
6. Learn from your Competition & Not Attack It
It’s a good idea to follow your competitors on any social networking sites so that you can see what they are up to. You may have competitors following you as well. Be respectful and never attack your competitors.
If someone posts a negative comment about you or your products on a social media site, you don’t want to get into a fight with that person where you start to verbally assault each other. However, it’s not always a good idea to simply ignore people either. You need to defend your products or services, but be as courteous and respectful as you can when doing so.
8. Be Modest When You Get Positive Reviews
If someone posts positive comments on your products or services, it may be tempting to re-tweet those comments every time you get them. If you are over the top in pointing out the praise you are getting, it will turn a lot of people off.
9. Don’t Use Cookie-Cutter Responses
When someone comments on a piece of content you have posted, take some time to come up with a thoughtful response. It won’t look good if you just paste in “thanks” under every comment and your followers will appreciate it if you are actively involved in conversations taking place about the content you have posted.
10. Promote Other Peoples Products and Services too
Your followers will appreciate it if you recommend good quality products and services to them, even if you are not the owner of those products and services. If you promote some quality products and services that you do not profit from directly, it can help build trust and respect in your followers.
11. Don’t Try to Hide the Fact That You Are Promoting a Business
If you are using social media to try to sell products and services, be upfront about it. Most people will realize if you are promoting your business and it looks very dishonest if you try to hide it.
12. Get to the Point
There’s no need to have very long, drawnout messages when you post content to social media sites. Keep your messages short and sweet, and get to the point. People are busy and your followers may not have time to read a 2000 word essay.
13. Participate Consistently
It’s a good idea to post content on social media sites on a regular basis. Even if it’s just once or twice per week, make regular posts to keep in touch with your followers, and of course to keep your products and services in front of your potential customers.
14. Provide Some Visual Interest
Most of the time on social media sites, you will be posting text. It’s also a good idea to include a photo or a video once in a while to keep things visually interesting.
15. Provide Value to Your Followers
To keep your followers interested in following you on social media sites, provide value to them. Post useful information, or links to useful information. But avoid spamming on social media sites. If you offer your followers value on a regular basis, they will continue to follow you.