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P1WS Internet Marketing Blog

Social Media Marketing Netiquette 101


So you have a gazillion likes, a trillion fans, and more followers than you can count. High five! If social media was a popularity contest based on quantitative data, you’d have it made; but it’s not. As social media has evolved, so have the rules for web-based communication, commonly known as “netiquette”. We can talk about the internet like it’s an alternate universe with a whole different set of guidelines for interaction, but the more you allow it to mirror your existing standards for appropriate behavior and manners, the better.

Be The Host With The Most
You know me, I use analogies, so I won’t delay the inevitable. When a person visits your social media page, it’s akin to guests arriving at your home for a dinner party. As a hospitable host you know to welcome them in, offer them something to make them comfortable, and show them around. Seems pretty standard, right? Unfortunately, those who might be the best hosts in “real life” can become just the opposite as the puppetmaster of a social media account. Instead of being cordial and accommodating, maybe it seems faster and easier to skip the niceties and beg for likes, shares, and follows. This is the equivalent of opening the door for your guest and immediately demanding to know what they like most about you! If you’re doing this, congratulations! You’ve found the fastest way to lose friends and potential customers.

Want to avoid this scenario? (Yes, you do.) Recognize each new follower for exactly who they are, someone who was nice enough to acknowledge your business and who could turn into a customer. Thank them for their support, then offer them something nice like a coupon, and maybe even favorite something they’ve shared on their personal social media account. These little exchanges may seem superfluous, but they’re what will ultimately set you apart from your competitors, helping you turn those likes into leads.

#Humblebrag in Moderation
You’re sexy and you know it. Your customers probably know it too, and that’s why they’ve already liked or followed your page. If you want to stay in their good graces, spend more time thanking them and less time reminding them how cool you are. As a business using social media to market yourself, it’s tempting to take advantage of that exciting feeling of anonymity that the internet provides. Posting a braggy status update about yourself may seem like a great idea, but it impresses no one and even holds the power to turn your besties into boycotters. If you have something truly exciting to share about your business, preface with a qualifier about WHY you’re sharing this with your readers, then share the fact, then thank them for supporting you. Using this simple formula will not only make you sound super great, but will make your readers feel better by association.

Bouncing back to our dinner party analogy, this is when you really want to show off your new curtains but don’t want to seem like a materialistic showoff. You’d probably say something like “Nancy, I know you have great style and love the color green, so I wanted to get your opinion on my new curtains!”. On social media, you’ll use the same technique. Let’s say your business donated to a charity. Begin with “We know how much our valued customers care about charitable causes”, then add your news: “That’s why we contributed to the local humane society this month!” Then close by shifting the attention back to your followers by saying something like “Thank you for inspiring us to give back!”. See how you just made yourself look good and made your customers feel good at the same time? It’s that easy!

Be Switzerland
Everyone has opinions, but like a dinner party, social media isn’t often the best venue to share them. You’ve heard the expression “Choose your battles wisely”; and this holds true in the context of delicate web interactions where every opinion you share is a battle that someone, somewhere is already fighting. Imagine sitting down at the table at our hypothetical dinner party, and one of the guests clinks their spoon on their glass, proposing a toast to something you adamantly disagree with. Feels awkward, huh? Sharing an opinion as a business on social media is more likely to isolate your followers than unite them. If you feel the need to express your business’ opinion on an important issue you feel strongly about, do so in a professional and respectful way, keeping your post simple, without inflammatory language, and using relevant hashtags to help connect your company with others with similar values and allegiances.

When possible, avoid publicly discussing any issue that can’t be talked about with complete neutrality. Stick to local current events, news that directly relates to your company, and positive posts that will make your readers feel good, no matter what they stand for. When you keep your opinions out of the mix, you’ll take the focus off your values, thereby gaining the opportunity to share the value of your products or services with your customers. In our dinner party scenario, this gesture is the equivalent of toasting to something that everyone can support, like health and happiness!

Keep The Party Going
The most important trick to maintaining an effective social media marketing campaign is maintaining a dynamic feed of valuable, interesting, and positive posts. Any good host knows that to keep the party going, there has to be an unending supply of music, food, beverages, and conversation. For your customers and other social media followers, these elements equate to relevant content like article shares or blog posts, engagement in the form of likes and comments, and offerings of value like exclusive access to sales, coupons or discount codes. To help stay consistent, try creating an “editorial calendar”, or a plan of when and what to share. If you don’t feel like you have the time each day to source, write, and curate these posts, enlist the help of a helpful online scheduling tool like SproutSocial to simplify the process. It’s not cheating, it’s just like hiring a caterer for your party; freeing up more time for you to interact with your guests!

Like hosting a dinner party, marketing your business on social media can be a fun and rewarding experience. Adding your own personal flare to the aforementioned tips will keep your fans, friends, and followers coming back, helping you turn your connections into customers. Now that's something worth toasting to!

  p1ws   Posted in: Social Media Marketing