When you create social media accounts, you open new venues for interaction with your target customers. At the same time, you also open your doors for detractors, irate customers, and critics. So you see, as much as social media can help boost PR for SMEs, it can also give you a lot of headache.
Here are some simple rules of social media and examples of protocols you can implement for your social media and blog management. (NOTE: I am including blogs here because they are closely connected with social media today by virtue of social sharing widgets. The interactions that occur in blogs, specifically in the comments section, are also very similar to the setup of social media. Of course, these aren’t the only SOPs that you can implement for your blogs because it is, after all, largely a content marketing medium as well.)
On posting blog posts, statuses, comments, and messages:
- Take the tone that gets the best response from the majority of your contacts and subscribers. This is why it is important to know who your audience is, what type of people your customers are. You have to speak their language first before they can speak back to you.
- Never be intentionally rude or offensive. It will end up driving away you fan, readers and potential customers.
- Always proofread your content, be it a very short post in social media sites or a lengthy blog post. Get somebody to give a second opinion for your social media posts, and make sure your blog posts are edited before they are published. Errors in spelling and grammar are a pet peeve of most Internet searchers. The moment they spot a mistake, your credibility may take a nosedive. This will also avoid misinterpretations caused by punctuation errors. Misplaced commas and misuse of exclamation points, for example, can change the tone of a sentence.
- Include calls to action in social media posts. Curiously enough, people in social media tend to convert more if you ask them straight out to do something (ex: like this page, follow this account, view this video, share this photo).
- Post irrelevant stuff once in a while. Cats, most especially. The social media world is crazy for cats! Feline pics are some of the most widely shared content in social networks. Not only will your business name get around, but they will also endear you to people who appreciate animals and cuteness in general.
On dealing with people:
- Be cordial in all your posts. The point of being in social media after all is to reach out to the general public and become more accessible for their questions, comments, and hopefully earn their long-term loyalty. That will be difficult to achieve if the public don’t find you approachable or welcoming.
- Don’t snap back at a nasty commenter. Ever. No matter how much you’re itching to set someone straight and snap back something equally nasty, don’t do it.
- Keep your poise and dignity on writing. In connection to #2, don’t be hasty in posting replies to scathing comments. Maintain a formal, poised tone and state your point in a very civil and dignified manner. It’s very easy to cross the line to being aloof though, so be careful with your words.
On monitoring and management:
- Monitor the progress of your social media and blogging activity, and the general responses of the public. Observe what types of posts usually get instant replies, tons of shares/re-tweets, comments and discussions, and which types do not. As for monitoring all your social media accounts, you can use free tools like Hootsuite and Bottlenose.
- Time your posts. Social media networks have different peak times. Time your posts within these time frames so that they will get plenty of views. Posting at a time when there’s no one to read your content would be defeating the purpose of marketing.
- Post regularly. Make people anticipate your posts. Having a regular posting schedule will also be helpful for customers and other interested people to catch you and ask questions or engage in conversation.
Implementing these protocols will at least soften the blow if ever an unavoidable circumstance will occur. Most importantly, these rules will help you deal with a budding situation right away and calm the waters down before it becomes a big issue that everyone in your contacts list becomes privy to. Remember, the last thing you want to happen is to have a bad rep among your social media contacts and blog subscribers.
Emma-Julie Fox writes for Pitstop Media Inc, a Vancouver company that provides SEO services to businesses across North America. If you would like to invite the author to write on your blog too please contact www.pitstopmedia.com