Is your organization active on social media? Whether you work in big business, a charity, the public sector or somewhere else, chances are your organization has or should have social media accounts. That might be YouTube, SlideShare, Pinterest or LinkedIn (or one of many other social networks), and the right channel is going to largely depend on what you want to get out of your engagement with your social media communities.
However, whichever channel you set up first or decide to focus on, there are some basic social media marketing etiquette tips that will help your interactions be more engaging and professional.
1. Cut Back On Automated Messages
Do you automatically send people a DM when they follow you on Twitter? It’s a bit spammy. Equally, setting up automated responses when people message your Facebook page can look the same.
Be careful about how your automated messages come across because people aren’t stupid. They know they are automated and that it’s a scheduled job. They know that you haven’t personally sent it and you’re telling them that you don’t care enough about them to send them something relevant. Is that the message you want to give out?
Social media marketing helps us leverage the power of a very verbal, active and engaged community so try to do your best to look the same in exchange!
There is a lot of content out there (we know, we create some great things here at KnowledgeHut too). It’s tempting to think that in the huge mass of content the best thing to do is to continually push your own stuff. After all, if you don’t, how will you know if anyone has seen it?
Your followers will soon tire of this approach. They don’t want to see link after link of your own work. Social media marketing works best when you are using social channels to curate interesting content and build a following that wants to follow you because you link them to the best articles in your field. Of course, there is space on sites like Pinterest to group and curate your own work (for example, on a Best of Your Site board), but share other people’s stuff generously as well.
Create some guidelines for your organization about the kinds of things you will share and the proportion of content that will be curated and original.
3. Be Responsive
It takes time to build a following so when you do finally get a comment or question, be there and be all over it!
No one wants their question to be ignored. The point of social media marketing is to reach out to customers on platforms where they are normally active, so when they reach back to you be ready to answer their queries with honest responses.
If you can’t reply straight away, say so, but don’t let messages go unanswered. Setting up your channels so that you are alerted on email when something happens might be away to avoid messages going unanswered. Many channels have email notifications that you can tailor so that the right people on the team will be alerted to any activity on your accounts.
4. Don’t Look Desperate
Don’t like your own content. Don’t ask for likes and shares and ‘please RT’ just for the sake of it. It looks desperate and doesn’t do your cause any good. In the same vein, be careful about what memes you share and make sure that they are on brand and not being shared just to generate traction on your account.
The same goes for jumping in with other people’s hashtags. Don’t hijack them, and certainly don’t try to use trending topics to promote your own content unless you are absolutely confident that you can do so without appearing insensitive or inappropriate. If you have any doubts, don’t, and read our guidelines for using hashtags.
Instead, focus on creating engaging content that reaches out to your community and offers them something of genuine value. That’s the best way to seek out engagement.
5. Check Everything
Check your links work. Check you have permission to use images before you use them. Clear copyright. Cite and link to the original source where you can. Make sure you have permission to quote the names and cities of people who have given you testimonials. Don’t share articles that are hoaxes or that don’t reflect your own brand values. Check, check, check.
Errors in your content can happen, of course, and you should be prepared for them if they do. But make sure your own internal processes are strict enough to catch typos and broken links before you put your content out there.
Errors make your content look unprofessional and they offer a poor user experience. It all contributes to what people think of your brand, so make sure that everything about your social media marketing is positive and professional.
Social media marketing is a great way to build a loyal and engaged following for your brand, whatever it is that your organization does on whatever scale. Keeping these etiquette tips in mind will help you grow that following in a professional way.
Learn more about social media marketing and how it can support your digital marketing efforts in the KnowledgeHut, instructor-led social media course.