Article by Emma Gosper, Business Advisor, Western Sydney Business Centre
Business Social Media Etiquette
The way you conduct yourself through your social media platforms is a direct reflection on your business. Your tone, content and communication contribute to the way you portray your business and business personality online. Most often, we are primarily concentrating on all of the do’s of social media; posting content at the correct times, focusing on engagement and analysing insights etc, that we forget to consider the simple don’ts of social media communication.
Don’t: Mix business and personal pages
Ensure you have a business page dedicated to business, and a personal page dedicated to personal. By doing so, you present yourself clearly as a professional brand and make it easier for potential clients to find you. Do not share your intimate relationship details, social life etc on your business page. Self promoting your business on your personal page is acceptable, but don’t overdo it. Perhaps encourage your personal followers to connect with your business page if they would like to remain updated to ensure you don’t over promote your business content.
Don’t: Forget the importance of correct grammar and spelling
I constantly see business pages/personal blog pages with spelling errors, poor grammar and incorrect context being used. Remember to triple check your text before clicking the post button. Most of the time, once it has been seen, it can’t be unseen and your business will look unprofessional as a result.
Undoubtably you are using social media to help sell your products/services and brand, but it is important not to oversell. Ensure that your content is a healthy mix of helpful, motivational and inspirational, informative and sales based content to ensure your page is a resource, not an ad.
Don’t: Automate EVERYTHING
Minor automation is more than acceptable, especially when it comes to managing social platforms and time, but don’t automate everything. Your customers want to see that you’re actively reading their comments, responding to them and taking into consideration their feedback and interactions.
Don’t: Forget to be professional
Don’t initiate or participate in heated discussions or share unwarranted opinions from your business pages, especially political or cultural views. Just like at the dinner table, certain things should not be discussed. This applies for online discussions too with the additional burden of ‘whatever goes online stays online’. Once you post these types of comments, they will never completely be unseen or deleted.
Don’t: Forget to respond
We can’t stress this point enough. If a follower comments on your post, reply. If someone direct messages you, reply. It is called social media to be social, so ensure your actively interacting with your followers. This will also increase your organic reach, and establish a firm communication and resource platform for your customers.
A customer sent a message on Instagram to a local business after their food order arrived in an unsatisfactory condition by a third party delivery service. The customer contacted the restaurant via a polite direct message and the message was viewed and ignored. There was no response with an apology, or communication to refer the enquiry to the third party delivery service for rectification. They simply ignored the message.
The customer then took to her personal Instagram Stories and posted photos of the food, the message sent and that the restaurant viewed the message and did not respond. The stories were viewed and reacted to by over 600 people in 24 hours. She then contacted the third party delivery service who refunded her entire order and apologised for the unsatisfactory service and condition of her food.
She then recontacted the restaurant and a secondary message was also ignored. It was, again, posted on her personal Instagram page again, and viewed by over 500 people again.
This will no doubt result in many locals who will not place orders from this specific restaurant as a result of their social media etiquette in the way they handled her feedback. If they were to simply respond to the message and apologise, the customer would have been satisfied.
This kind of social media etiquette will definitely portray bad customer service and have some negative effects on the business as a whole.
Don’t: Forget to be kind
Always make sure you are putting your best foot forward and being kind across all of your content and communication. Negative mental health through social media is a real thing and should be considered when responding to people online, even if you disagree with them. Be kind, always.