About 10 years ago, social media was a relatively new medium for businesses to get involved with. Most businesses were incredibly hesitant to get involved in it and social media managers walked on thin ice when it came to posting content. One negative comment could have a boss screaming that Facebook ruined their business. Luckily, businesses have evolved and have mostly embraced social media. There are still some holdouts but for the most part, the vast majority of businesses understand the importance of at least having a Facebook page and Twitter account. With that said, there are still some social media best practices that fall by the wayside. So what are some basic do’s and don’ts of social media?
Do Respond to Comments
Social media is inherently, well, social. You are supposed to interact with others on it, not just post your thoughts and ghost. That’s why you should be responding to your comments. You don’t have to reply to every single comment but you should make an effort to engage with a number of them, especially the negative ones. That’s right, embrace the negativity (more on that later). The point is that your customers want to feel like they have been heard. So give them a “Like” or a thanks to acknowledge that you heard them.
Do Use Media (Images, Videos, GIFs)
Texts posts are okay, but are way, way less engaging than posts with a photo, video, or GIF. The attention span of someone on Facebook is extremely limited. Your post needs to capture their attention in the time it takes them to swipe past your post. Plain text just isn’t eye-catching enough. The only text-only or text-heavy posts that go viral are the ones that share a deeply moving and personal experience. Even then, they are usually accompanied by an image or video.
Do Use Links
Another general rule of thumb when it comes to posting is to share a link. You’re having a sale on beachwear? Great! Now how do I get to those sale items? I’m definitely not going to head to your “About” section to get to your main domain, then search for sale items. I want the direct link to the sale items in the post you shared about the sale items. Again, you need to cater to the very limited attention span social media users have. Your goal is to steer them towards what you want them to see.
Do Share Useful Things That Aren’t Yours
A lot of businesses only feel like sharing what is theirs. Companies like Apple, Google, and other major brands can certainly get away with that. Your small to mid-sized business can’t though. First, you probably don’t have enough of your own content to share on a daily or multi-daily basis. Second, it is extremely easy to share external source material that can be just as engaging. For example, if you are a kitchen and bath remodeler, you obviously want to share all of your great before and after work. However, you can also share an article about “10 Great Kitchen Appliances” because it is relevant to your industry and useful to your audience.
Those general rules of thumb can help get your social media on the right track. However, these upcoming “dont’s” can quickly derail your social train.
Don’t Delete Comments
We said we’d talk more about negative comments and here we go. Do not delete negative comments unless they violate a social media policy (ex: using inappropriate language, personally naming employees or others, using inappropriate imagery, etc.). If there negative comment is legitimate, for example someone stating that they did not receive good customer service, it is well worth it to get in touch with them for more info. The first thing you want to do is to let them know you are sorry that they felt like they received unacceptable customer service and that you want to remedy the situation. Your next goal is to get the conversation into the right hands, preferable off of social media. Give them a customer service manager’s name, email, and phone or have them live chat you. From there you customer service team should work with them to fix whatever the problem was. The point of responding to them on social media is to show all of the commenters and comment readers that you take customer service seriously and are willing to address all concerns.
Don’t Put Off Responding to Messages
Social media users have the option to directly message businesses. Especially in the case of Facebook’s chat, they usually want a response that day. Responding in a timely manner can be challenging, however it is essential. No one wants to be left hanging. Have the messenger app installed on your phone so that you can get back to customers on the fly. If you need to get to a computer to fully respond to their inquiry, let them know that. A quick response of “I received your message and will get back in touch with more info when I’m in front of my computer” is a way to acknowledge their inquiry while giving you more time to craft a more thorough response.
*Image Source: Facebook.com
Don’t Be a Robot
Social media is again, social, so coming off as a robot can be very off-putting. Corporate, pre-written messages can be seen as too impersonal. Basically, if your lawyers wrote it, it probably doesn’t belong on social media. Get creative and write how you might speak with your friends and acquaintances. Feel free to use GIFs, emojis, some caps, and anything to make your social media seem less like a brand and more like a human being. Your want your social media following to know that they are speaking to humans when they interact with you.
Don’t Share Completely Irrelevant Things
Finally, don’t share things that are completely irrelevant to your business. In our example before, we suggested that a kitchen & bath remodeler could share a third-party post about “10 Great Kitchen Appliances”. They can share this because it relates to their industry. However, that same kitchen & bath remodeler really shouldn’t be sharing “7 Adorable Kitten GIFs”. Sure, it is adorable and will probably get some “Likes” but does that really help the business in any way? I guess it might if the kitten is walking on an 8-foot island with a granite countertop, but in all likelihood, it won’t help your business. It’ll just give you the warm and fuzzies.