Businesses use a whole host of social networks to communicate their messages and increase awareness of their products and services. Anything released into the public domain should always be carefully considered. Once it is there, it is there for good! There’s always a remaining trace.
With that in mind, here are some guidelines that may appear to be seemingly obvious but regularly violated that businesses on social networking sites should be particularly aware of.
1. Don’t complain about a specific person or brand – It is not only juvenile, this behaviour could also land you in more trouble than you bargained for. People have friends who they will call upon to make life online a misery for your company and staff as a result of one misplaced comment. It certainly is not worth it!
2. Never mix personal with professional – Your brand’s posts should not reflect the thoughts of a cleaner after a drastic cleanse of the blocked toilets. Your brand is a separate entity to people within a social media code which should be abided by at all times! Stick to the brand’s tone, voice and language.
3. Exercise caution when using sourced images – most online imagery can be traced back to an individual or organisation to which the image belongs to. Don’t get caught out. If in doubt over copyright, attribute the images you use back to the rightful owner, or don’t use them at all. Breach of property rights is a serious matter to become entangled in. There is a wealth of free stock imagery available at your disposal which is a much safer bet!
4. Never be rude, arrogant, obnoxious, or racist and avoid profanity – This should go without saying, but you’d be surprised how many examples there is online today that billions of people have witnessed. It doesn’t pay to be cruel, mean or crude. The only reputations to end up hurt is yours and that of your business.
5. Don’t post anything about anyone without their permission first – It’s not a good idea to tweet an embarrassing photo of an employee or colleague on a drunken work do, especially without their permission!
6. Never use a tragedy as leverage – This is 10/10 on the scale of cringe-worthiness, and will result in sever backlash as it did with Kenneth Cole. This is a prime example of insensitive behaviour from a company account. The Cairo protests led to many deaths – not something to use as promotional material.
Kenneth Cole tweeted:
Millions are in uproar in #Cairo. Rumour is that they heard our new spring collect is now available on line at: http://bit.ly/KCairo – KC
7. Don’t spam your fans – Your followers are there of their own accord – don’t push them away with repetitive junk that provides no value to them. If they want your services, they will enquire without force. Customers are gained through mutually beneficial relationships.
8. Don’t just talk about yourself – Do you want to bore your fans going on about yourself all the time? The objective of social media is obviously to be social, not self promotional. Think of social media as a real-life environment.
9. Never rise to provocative others – Others meaning people causing a fuss or posting negative comments simply just to be a pain. The first point of call would be to determine if the person in question is a real customer, or just an attention seeker perhaps. if they are one of these types of people, simply block them from all company accounts and report them.
10. Do not ignore negative comments – Some company’s are quick to disregard customer negativity but there are valuable learning to be made from such comments. Feedback is a crucial component of business growth and this content can not only be used to better your services, but provides an opportunity to publicly make someone’s day. There’s no shame in admitting a mistake – its how you deal with it that matters.