Following Social Media Etiquette

We had a very positive response to our recent eNewsletter article about a few etiquette rules for social media, so we are posting it again here. If we missed any rules you have for social media, feel free to comment and add your own!

Social Media Rules

Most companies have at least dipped a proverbial toe into the waters of social media. As the number of people and companies participating on platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have grown, certain rules for effective communication have become clear. As you and your company move forward with developing your content strategy for 2011, consider these guidelines.

Decide who you are (really) and consistently be that company
Just as in life, people online can spot a phony. Social media is an extension of your brand. If you signed on to Facebook and Twitter to expand your market to reach a younger group, don’t present yourself as an edgy, hip company unless you actually are edgy and hip. Remember how awkward it sounded when your parents picked up your teen slang? You don’t want people rolling their eyes at your messages. They won’t if you present your true self on social media.

Brag a little
If your company wins an award, hires a new employee or lands a new client, then celebrate on social media. These people have already made a choice to “like” or “follow” your company, so they want to know what’s going on with your company.

When making those announcements, use the full spectrum of social media. Facebook is a good place to show your company’s personality. Twitter is more of a news and information source. So, if you have a significant new hire, tweet the news with a link to the press release on your website and post a photo with an announcement on Facebook.

When Using Twitter, Use the Rule of 1/3
One-third of all tweets should be self-promotion — awards, new hires, business milestones — or relevant comments from your own internal thought leaders. One-third should be retweets from thought leaders or people in your industry. One-third should include links to sites, posts or people that your followers will find interesting.

Once You Start, You Have to Keep Playing
As we have mentioned in past Posts, too many people jump into Twitter and Facebook without a plan. Having a content strategy and calendar is critical to ensuring that you keep the conversation going with your followers and fans. Once you jump onto a social media platform, you have to keep up a consistent effort. Fans notice brands that appear in their news feed or on their TweetDeck dashboard consistently.

Pay Attention & Talk Back
And just posting information is not enough. You need to pay attention to what others are saying about your brand — anywhere they are saying it. Social media is meant to foster conversations, which means that you need to know what is being said about your brand and then get out there and respond. If there is something negative said about one of your locations, jump in and talk about how you can address the issue. And, just as you would face-to-face, if someone pays your brand or employees a compliment, say thank you.

(A quick note on paying attention: There are a number of tools that help you discover what is being said on social media platforms, blogs, message boards and beyond. But, be aware that just setting up a tool is not enough. You have to know how to manage and respond to the information. We can help you sort through the clutter to find the tool that best meets your needs and show you how to use it effectively)