3 Social Media Rules Most Brands Don't Follow
Most times, when we’re trying to avoid making mistakes on our company’s social media platforms, we worry about publishing something with grammatical errors, getting the @s and #s confused, or offending someone with one of our comments (or bad jokes).
But what we’re not doing on our social platforms can hurt our community of followers just as much.
For so many brands, the idea of being able to have one-on-one conversations with our followers is super exciting—and also terrifying. It’s why so many brands spend tons of time creating really great content, publishing it at all the right times, and then watching all of the likes and comments roll in without sending that social love back.
So, to make sure you’re engaging your audience in a meaty, two-way conversation, here are the three biggest mistakes I see brands making when it comes to what they’re not doing—and how to fix them.
1. If Someone Posts on Your Facebook Wall, Like It
And if one of your followers includes you in a tweet, favorite it. Think of it as a virtual high five. If someone takes the time to convey, “I think this is cool,” you need to take the time to acknowledge the praise.
Likes, favorites, +1s, and hearts are social currency. If your community consistently likes your content, but you consistently ignore their feedback, they’re going to stop being so generous with it—and you’re going to lose the opportunity to turn them into loyal customers.
2. If Someone Asks a Question on Your Social Platform, Answer It
It can feel intimidating to answer a follower’s question publicly—without a script—and be as charming, brilliant, and grammatically correct as you want your audience to think you are. Which is why sometimes, you fail to respond at all.
But you have to. If a follower was offended that you didn’t recognize his like, he’s going to be doubly offended that he took the time to reach out and ask you a question about your brand and you ignored it. It’s bad PR and bad customer service. And worse, because it’s happening on your public platforms, your entire community will see your silence and everything it implies.
(Not sure what to say just yet? Respond by asking the person to email or call you, and you can take the conversation offline.)
3. If Someone Shares Your Content, Say Something Nice
Most of the people we interact with on social are people we’re never actually going to meet, so it’s easy to forget that the whole point of social media is to build relationships.
But think about it this way: If you were raising money for charity and your best friend sent a link to all of her friends and family to ask them to get involved, you’d call her to say thank you. In the world of social media, the same social etiquette rules apply—even if you never have (or will) meet your followers in real life.
So, for example, if someone shares your recent blog post, “How to Make Amazing Meatballs,” with her Twitter community, tweet her back to say thank you. Ask her to send you photos of her meatballs if she tries out the recipe. If she posts awesome content that’s relevant for your community, share her next blog post.
The simplest to-dos are sometimes the hardest to master. And engaging with a growing community in an authentic way—while navigating their various questions and occasional snarky comments—can feel exhausting. But I promise: It’s worth it. Do this consistently for a month, and you’ll see an increase in the amount of likes, shares, and general engagement on your platforms.
Photo of phone courtesy of Shutterstock.
Alex Honeysett is a Brand & Marketing Strategist and the creator of The Pitch Course, an in-depth, self-paced online course that teaches entrepreneurs how to find, pitch, and land speaking gigs, guest blogs, and podcast interviews. After spending nearly a decade leading communications strategies for multimillion dollar brands and startups in NYC and London, Alex now teaches entrepreneurs how to message and promote their own businesses, human-to-human. Alex's articles have been featured in the Daily Muse, Forbes, Inc., Mashable, DailyWorth, TIME, and Newsweek.More from this Author