In Part I, I discussed the first 5 rules of social media etiquette including the importance of engaging quickly, staying active, being concise, providing value (not just sales) and how to pay it forward. In Part II, I expand further on rules 6 through 10. Remember, it is important to know how to conduct yourself and your business online. Not only does this help create a strong brand, it also maximizes your time online. Not knowing the rules of social media etiquette can have a detrimental impact on you and your business.
Rule 6: To Follow or Not to Follow…That is the Question
If a business or individual follows you on social media, some experts will say that it is a good idea to reciprocate. Generally, I agree with this sentiment but would add the following disclaimer: Not everyone who follows you is someone that you want to follow.
These reasons can vary from person to person but a few examples are if their posts offer no value to your business or are generally offensive in nature. Exercise good judgment, as sometimes an online association can negatively impact the reputation of your business.
Remember that if you follow someone, they will be notified but will not be notified if you unfollow them.
Rule 7: Give Credit Where Credit is Due
If you use content or a photo from a website, individual or online source, be sure to give them the credit that they deserve. You can tag them in the post or link to the source.
Rule 8: Be Original and Personal
Don’t use the copy and paste technique to respond to customer questions and comments. People can sniff out canned responses a mile away! With each customer interaction, try to make the post personal and relevant to that specific encounter. There is nothing worse than seeing the same company response duplicated on every customer’s post.
Rule 9: Get Involved and Don’t Be Biased
Engage politely with everyone online, whether they are your competition, a customer, a stakeholder or a partner. Everything is visible online and when your followers see you interacting without judgment, this speaks volumes about the integrity of you and your company.
Participate in discussions and groups that are relevant to your business. This presents countless opportunities for you to demonstrate your industry knowledge and mention your business. I caution you to do this tactfully and without being pushy or “salesy”.
Rule 10: Pay Attention to the Good and the Bad
Not everything about you online will be positive so be prepared to handle any negativity that comes your way. When you see online positivity for your business or product, be gracious. Feel free to brag a bit by retweeting or sharing but do not go over the top.
When you see negativity about your business online, you should acknowledge it and respond with care and tactfulness. You can’t turn every negative comment into a positive one, but you can try. Here are some great tips for dealing with negative comments.
Incorporating these rules of etiquette in your social media campaigns will go a long way in building your brand and driving sales.
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