By: Christina Gaines | @stinaegaines
In an era where marketers are increasingly turning to and taking advantage of social platforms, rules of etiquette should not be forgotten. Yet the World Wide Web is not a titanic wasteland of algorithms and cold, manicured, sales-y tweets if you don’t allow it to be.
Consider this your social media Cotillion – your guide to keeping your creativity effective and dignified.
1. Is it than or then? Correct grammar may seem to not be an integral part of the social media territory. However, re-reading your message before posting and running it through a mental spell check is highly recommended. There’s nothing more insightful or offensive to your followers’ intelligence than a mangled sentence construct. Keep in mind that as the frontlines of your marketing, your social platforms should be the best possible representation of you. Would you attend a critical interview in your long johns?
2. As an additive to the last tip, some abbreviations are okay. An excess of them turns your brand into the likes of a particularly dingbat teenager. Wondering where and when these are okay? Use your best judgment. “California” cut to “CA” makes sense, sounds professional as well as is a fairly common way of referring to the Golden State. However, if it’s already a short word we’re looking at, don’t bother abbreviating. “Gr8” instead of “Great” saves you only two characters, but succeeds vastly in dousing you with incompetence.
3. How many times have you posted today, you social media zealot, you? If it’s over three, you may want to take a look into what you’re posting and why. When it comes to business, bombarding your audience with messages is a one-way ticket to a dwindling follower base. Is what you’re saying that dire? Or could it way until tomorrow to balance out your viewer’s feed?
4. When cracking jokes, take extra care to stray from those that could upset and insult. For further tips on how to use humor effectively and appropriately, click here.
5. If your account is personal, contemplate before sharing your fiery opinions – are you venting? Is it a well thought out post or is it a disgruntled observation? Is it an attack? When future employers, clients or partners look through your social accounts, there shouldn’t be anything that may raise a red flag. A positive attitude coupled with intelligent sources go a long way. If you post things prematurely or without review, these parties will suspect you act similarly with your tongue.
6. Tailor your content to things that your market wants and reads your posts to hear. Followers of NASA aren’t combing for interior decoration DIY’s.
7. While your aim is to appeal to your target audience, it is crucial to keep in mind that your post is acceptable, appropriate and heedful to all. (Hint: no crude language.)
8. Anything you say online will be scrutinized as it is. However, when interacting with your followers directly, err on the conservative, “rated G” side. Don’t allow there to be room for wrongful, suggestive or invasive misinterpretation.
9. When speaking through social media, remember that there aren’t any visual buffer or facial expressions to compliment your responses. (Unless you choose to employ Emojis, which may or may not be acceptable depending on the gravity of your brand personality.) Be kind and courteous, just as you hopefully would in a face-to-face situation. Don’t forget to say “Please” and “Thank you.”
10. R-E-S-P-E-C-T is the name of the game. All of these tips amount to this single takeaway: Do unto others as you would have them do to you. Don’t annoy, don’t answer too quickly, don’t become a keyboard warrior. Your brand image depends on the extra few seconds of reflection you allocate to your posts - tread carefully.