Social media is a curious beast, and knowing how to handle it is essential to both your personal brand as well as your business. Whether you’re just a person, start up or global corporation, the rules are all the same. Here are a few ways to act that you should avoid on social media, and probably in real life too.
Do It Wrong
If you don’t quite know how to use Twitter or Facebook, then learn before you start. There are courses and gurus that can help you get to grips with it. Accidents can happen, like Charlie Sheen telling everyone his phone number on Twitter, but knowing the ins and outs of how it works will mean that they are rare. Not being able to reply to someone’s message, tweet or comment will mean that you won’t be engaging with them, and your fans will soon lose interest.
Social media is a two-way street, so if your posts are boring, no one will want to talk to you. Sometimes your business may dictate your personality, like B2B type businesses, where perhaps a bit of personality might be difficult to work in. Think about what your business values and stands for, and ideally you’ll have brand guidelines about tone and voice.
Sell Yourself All The Time
A way that will guarantee fans losing interest is to sell yourself, your products or your business as a whole constantly. Spamming never gets anyone anywhere. Social media is about talking to your customers, not trying to actively sell yourself; you have sales people or adverts for that.
Things like using hashtags inappropriately, commenting on political things when you shouldn’t be or badly-thought through tweets can have a massive backlash on you or your brand. Inappropriate comments should be kept to personal life and accounts, if at all. Remember the old adage “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”. You have to remember that whatever your opinions on a certain topic might be, there will always be people with strong opinions of the opposite nature with razor wit that will cut you down and make you look laughable.
Respond in the Wrong Way
The absolute worst way to respond to criticism is through personal attack. Like ‘Amy’s Baking Co...’ did when the airing of Kitchen Nightmares caused a social media storm, they lashed out, trying to respond to every comment they could find with defensive and insulting personal attacks on the critics. This just made the entire thing worse. You should, if you find that you have negative criticism, avoid replying straight away. You may feel angry and hurt by the comments, but responding in kind is not the right way to go about fixing the problem. Instead, wait until you know how to fix the problem, and then respond. Don’t leave it too long however, or the critic won’t even care by the time you get back to them. Avoid responding to trolls at all cost, there is nothing you can do but ignore them.
About the author Matthew Felton writes for Ingenuity Digital, who are based in the UK and whose blog regularly comments on a range of International and National Social media, SEO and Marketing topics.