November 20, 2013
Mom taught you to mind your manners, but she probably never taught you what to do – or worse, what not to do – on social media. As a small business owner, you want to be able to utilize social media to help you build and engage with your audience. But never forget that social media can just as quickly turn unforgiving if you make a misstep. Here are 5 social media etiquette tips to help keep your business in the clear:
1. Beware Autoposting: I get it, autoposting content (where you create content such as a blog or Facebook post in advance and then schedule them to go out at a future date and time) can make your very busy lives so much easier. I do it on this site all the time. But if you’re going to do it, stay on stop of what’s going out when and be ready to react quickly if needed. For example, the American Rifleman twitter account, which was an NRA account, mistakenly sent out this tweet on autopost. The problem…this was mere hours after a gunman had shot up a movie theater in Colorado.
2. There are times to market yourself, and there are times to just stay quiet. Gap got its virtual hands slapped when it tried to turn Hurricane Sandy into a fun reason everyone should get online and shop.
3. If you’re trying to be well-meaning and sincere, don’t self-promote. This tweet from Kmart is the perfect example. Everyone was shocked and horrified by the shooting at Newtown Elementary School in Connecticut last year, but far better to say nothing at all than self-promote.
4. Post to the correct accounts. It sounds so simple and yet it’s the simple things that tend to trip us up because we’re not focused on them. If you, like many entrepreneurs, are juggling not only your business social media accounts but also your personal social media accounts, make sure you know which account you’re posting to before you say anything. KitchenAid ran into this problem in 2012 when an employee mistakenly posted a vicious anti-Obama tweet from the company’s twitter handle as opposed to his personal twitter account.
5. Which brings up, unless you’re a political organization or your brand has very clear religious overtones, steer clear of politics and religion. No matter how well-meaning you are, chances are you’re going to turn someone off who doesn’t see the world through your same lenses. Say any and everything you want on your personal social media channels about politics and religion, but leaving your company brand free from any affiliation leaves you open to welcome more customers of all kinds.