Despite social media’s track record (which yes, has been proven), there are some businesses who unfortunately aren’t quite yet sold on the idea of implementing social media as part of their marketing plan. Or in recent months, looking to hop off the bandwagon and place their efforts elsewhere. Whatever the reason is, we imagine that they probably have more questions than answers about the true value and benefits.
So, whether you are looking for some fresh, new ways to get your social media spaces to benefit your brand or you haven’t yet jumped on the bandwagon, here are a handful of major key benefits of social media for your business …
Okay, so now that we have those key benefits clearly stated and out of the way, here’s a few more but solely based on your personal brand, in which you can …
The bottom line is that social media isn’t just for socializing anymore. It has become an extremely important and powerful business tool. And as you can see here, there are more than enough benefits to utilizing social media for your business … enough to make it worth your while.
That being said, and now that the nitty-gritty of #AllTheThings is front, and center and you have what you need. Now it’s time to switch gears and talk about social media etiquette, and the “rules” you need to stop breaking. So, let’s just dive right on into the bones of today’s episode …
As an entrepreneur, it's incredibly important to make sure you follow proper etiquette while online. This can easily save you from unfortunate social backlashes that could damage your online reputation --> for life. With pre-teens up to senior citizens being online, it is hard to shield yourself from a careless Tweet or Facebook post gone wrong. And we want to help you achieve social greatness and not get nipped in the butt with a rotten post. All starting with …
RULE #1: IT’S BETTER TO PLAY IT SAFE THAN BE SORRY.
It goes without saying that you should avoid sending out potentially offensive content. Making sure you educate yourself on current topics, all the while ensuring your content is diversity friendly. This will only help your brand in the long run.
In the container of the virtual world, it is a “better safe than sorry” kind of space when it comes to posting content alongside your branded images. And it is best that if you are unsure, to check in with your gut and go with your whatever it’s feeling.
RULE #2: CONSIDER THE NATURE OF THE PLATFORM.
The same concept as “rule” #1 also applies here … For instance, Facebook is much more family and friend orientated while LinkedIn is more focused on professional connections. It is all right to post entirely different things on different platforms as each platform has its own audience. And each audience has their own expectations for the things they want to see and feel on the platform. In fact, it might even help boost your engagement. And by posting the right kind of content on each platform, this will help with keeping business and pleasure separate when it comes to your life on social.
RULE #3: USE THE “THINK TWICE” APPROACH.
Before tagging someone … Before sharing your 100th daily update … Before making a particular comment ... Before sharing your inner monologue …
Thinking twice will help you maintain professional relationships online and while respecting those in your inner circle.
RULE #4: AVOID ENGAGING IN AGGRESSIVE DEBATES.
Whether in relation to the business world, or your personal one, it’s best to just leave well enough alone. As we know, it’s all too easy to be in a reactive state when it comes to the opinions of others. Plain and simple … don’t be reactive. Sure, it’s sometimes a world of fun to watch celebrity wars or politicians hacking it out -- just don’t get yourself into one. Keep your disputes to yourself (or in the DMs if you can’t control yourself and something truly needs to be said -- which I advise against also) and do not bring them out for the rest of the world to see. These kinds of things can bruise your online reputation and sometimes permanently!
So, to put things lightly … you are responsible for everything you post, and everything you post will be a reflection of you.
RULE #5: DON’T BECOME A SPAMMY SALLY.
There’s a very distinct line between thoughtful commentary, a quick personalized LinkedIn “hello” DM, helpful posts and links, and downright SPAM! (And no, not that meat that comes in a can!)
One of my absolute hugest pet peeves that weirdly comes with the territory on LinkedIn just so happens to be all those fun people that look like you could really connect with, have a lot in common with, or perhaps even collaborate ideas with … then BAM! Just like that you’re connected and the very first thing they do is send you a DM pitch! Oh … My … Gaaaah. Seriously the worst. And to me, that’s spam.
They’re not looking to make a solid connection, engage personally, or even look at my profile so they can get to know me better. They’re just looking to make a quick buck … an instant win! (*le sigh!) A little “Hi, nice to meet you” goes a long way …!
Once I even had a guy start off his message to me with “Dear sir …” To me that’s rather rude and highly insulting as I’m clearly not a sir, my profile has my image, and he obviously didn’t even bother to look. Just copy / pasted his verbatim and spammed me … and probably not only me. #Delete.
Where I’m going with this is … try not to message all your audience members and customers asking them to buy your stuff. And check out people’s profiles before connecting and messaging them. You’ll get much farther that way by humanizing the experience. Oh, and also avoid sharing constant advertisements for the very same on your page. Make your social profiles a blend of promotional and valuable content. We feel promotional should just be some colourful sprinkles here and there. Not hard-driven into every post on your page.
RULE #6: NEVER BADMOUTH YOUR COMPETITION.
This rule is an easy one to follow … Don’t be petty. Saying negative things about your competitors online will only harm your reputation more than it hurts theirs. Period.
RULE #7: HANDLE YOUR HASHTAGS WITH CARE.
Most people think the more the better in this instance due to the ever-changing algorithms in all the social spaces. However, it’s really just about picking out only the most relevant hashtags for each post that co-align with your post and story. Not cramming in as many as you can to hit all the new algor-waves, or because “Joe” said you need 25. Using branded hashtags will expand your brand awareness and hit all the right people if done properly. We like to refer to this rule as copy “hygiene”.
RULE #8: NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF INTEGRITY.
This is so important that it’s more than just a “rule”, it’s a social commandment (personally and professionally).
Relationship-building and establishing trust and credibility are in every way, shape and form essential if you want to be successful using social media. Honestly, if you want to be successful at all. The only way you can establish yourself as a credible and trustworthy entrepreneur is to exemplify your values in your business voice; the way you market yourself, your brand, and your products/programs/services. In doing just that, is what constitutes ethical marketing (something that is often lacking in the virtual business space). Your clients, your audience, and your business should mean everything to you.
So, remember, once trust is broken, it’s nearly impossible to earn back.
RULE #9: BE MINDFUL IN MENTIONING CONTENT CREDITS.
If you think about it, in a way, social media is a content recycle bin. What do I mean by that? Well … many people will see your content in a hurry as it spreads like digital wildfire. And plagiarized content will harm your reputation. So, plain and simple really … share credit where credit is due. It’s honestly not difficult to do. All you need to do is to mention the original creator or source in your post.
If you don’t, you’ll come across as unprofessional across others’ creativity.
And last but not least …
RULE #10: IT’S NEVER ABOUT YOU.
Truthfully now … and yes, this might sting a little bit -- people don’t care about your business. They care about their problems. So, be the solution to the pain points they’re looking for. Lead with undeniable value that targets their specific needs. People will trust you only once they know you can provide the solution(s) they need. But also, that you care about them. No matter what your program is, how cheap your prices are or even how skilled you are … if they can’t see that you care, they won’t stick around.
A great way to do this is to ask yourself every single time you’re ready to click that “POST” button, will this pass your audiences WIIFM (what’s in it for me) filter?
So, what I’m getting at with this last rule here is, don’t just use social media to promote yourself and all your business goodies. Give your audience what they want … exclusive access to deals and giveaways, contests, personalized quizzes, and content from other sources of relatable topics. Capture their attention.
Social media is ever-changing and so are the rules for etiquette.
So, being kind and treating others the way you wish to be treated (just like in the non-virtual world) is the best way to go about your social media ways. Remember, social media has tremendous power, more than you may realize, so it is super important to follow proper etiquette when you engage with others. This virtually social world moves far faster than the offline world, so it is crucial to think about cause and effect … Digital denizens aren’t always quick to forgive!