People often voice their qualms with brands on social media.
For big brands and influential users, it’s not wise to broadcast too much online. Public perception changes rapidly; a few tweets can shift it drastically.
Organizations with large followings should know the dos and don’ts of handling recurring situations online, but many exhibit poor etiquette.
Whether one person or a digital team runs your social media, for successful sharing, follow these rules:
1. Create content for your audience.
Gear your content to an audience to turn posts into interesting conversations.
RELATED: Tell compelling stories and take your story directly to your audience.
Don’t spam your followers with irrelevant content. If you’re unsure what to post, conduct a subscriber poll, do a Twitter chat or send direct messages to know for whom you’re posting.
2. Avoid offensive content.
This should be a no-brainer, but organizations still miss the mark.
Before hitting “share,” always ask, “Would people be offended?”
If the answer is unclear, refrain. When mulling “to share or not to share,” consider a post’s relevance, timeliness and importance to your customer base.
3. Plan, schedule and get posts approved in advance.
Planning posts prevents you from sharing something irrelevant or negative. It gives you time for an overview. If you write a tweet for Friday on Wednesday, your co-workers can approve the post.
Use a content calendar to avoid gaps in posting. Use it to track your activity. Facebook Fridays or “two-tweet Tuesday” help you remember when and what to post.
4. Respond to comments in a timely manner.
Your organization will face angry customers who vent on your pages. When this happens, show how responsive and efficient your customer service team is.
Don’t delay; respond instantly if you see something.
5. Use hashtags sparingly.
Hashtags greatly increase visibility, but use them on Twitter and Instagram only.
Too many hashtags detract from your message. To engage more personally, pick hashtags that appeal to your audience, or seek ones that members already use.
6. Don’t oversell.
Social media is not a direct sales tool. Channels should be used to create brand awareness and grow reputation. Self-promotion online isn’t wrong, but don’t make it all about you. Instead, post about your brand and your followers.
7. Never speak negatively about a competitor.
Connecting with competitors helps identify trends and opportunities. Train your social media team to play nice.
Bad-mouthing competition can ruin your reputation and turn you into a bully. If you interact negatively, respond like you would to customers—calm, informed and apologetic.
8. Don’t pay for likes or followers.
Buying likes and followers spikes your numbers. It doesn’t increase business.
Buying fans weakens your credibility. Going from 500 fans to 50,000 in a few days may look suspicious to your serious customers and stop their interacting with you.
Social media is building relationships. If you do that, likes and follows will come.
Christie Ebanks is an account coordinator at True Blue Communications. A version of this article first appeared on the company website.