Let’s talk about that big “E” word that has been lacking in our world lately, especially online; Etiquette. You wouldn’t go to that first family dinner with your new boyfriend or girlfriend and debate politics with his Aunt, or test out that crude joke you overheard at your local pub, yet we often forget simple conversational rules when we get behind our computer screens.
Etiquette has an important place in our online interactions, now more than ever. In our highly digital world, one slip up can have devastating consequences to our online personas and ultimately our online ventures. To help you avoid some of these faux pas, here are some important tips to assist you in building and maintaining the type of online relationship you want with your clients: one that breeds success.
Listen Before You Engage
Be a good conversationalist and read the room before you engage your audience. These are potential customers so you’re going to want to put effort into making a good impression and maintain it. Always be mindful when applying humour or wit; be attentive to the demographic you are appealing to and attracting. Here is a good rule of thumb: If you are concerned your post will offend someone, don’t post (simple as that). ‘Saving face’ is never a good look and often downright impossible to do online. Take that moment to really think before you hit that button and send a thought out to potentially millions of current and future clients. You will thank yourself later, I promise.
Don’t let that bot scare off your audience in private messages. I know what you’re thinking ‘but I’m busy!’... So are your customers, too busy to communicate with a bot in place of a real human being. Being human means being relatable. People crave human connection so keep your audience feeling like they are being heard and appreciated. Happy followers are loyal followers.
While we are on the topic of human interaction, here are some helpful tips to remain social and socially relevant online:
Research your audience
Determine the best time to post to maximize your reach
Use creative imagery
Keep your copy compelling
Involve your audience
Be Kind, Always
Banter can be a useful tool to get people talking and spice up your online persona… but NOT when it turns negative... I’m not saying let your brand be attacked if you encounter ‘trolls’ but your defense should be tasteful. Stand up for yourself with poise. Remember the Wendy’s viral tweet? They literally called a man out for forgetting refrigerators existed when he called bull on their fresh never frozen patties! Be smart with negative feedback and you will gain fans as you show your followers how you handle yourself in the face of adversity.
Stop the Information Overload
Some brands feel the need to post every few hours… this could feel like harassment with one too many call to actions. Be respectful, your audience wants to hear from you but not so much that it looks like a hostile takeover of their newsfeed and they end up missing out on the latest Kardashian drama. The same goes for posting too many themes to your page. It’s best to stick to 4-5 content themes to avoid getting too far off brand and confusing your audience on what you stand for.
Keep Your Personal Life…Personal
‘Don’t mix business with pleasure’. It has been said so many times I’m sure your eyes just glazed over… but stay with me. You hear it so often because it holds an important truth. Nothing positive will come from that dreaded accidental slip of the finger on a rant meant for friends or a Facebook/ Instagram live with no plan but for the sake of going live. It often takes years to build brand awareness and likeability but can take mere seconds to destroy it. Remember to stick to your social media strategy and brand guidelines when posting content to ensure you don’t paint pictures online that are irrelevant to your audience or too far outside of your positioning that you confuse or worse lose followers.
Some tips to avoid these catastrophic mistakes:
Secure your accounts, this will prevent accidentally posting to the wrong audience by asking for your confirmation, every time you post
Pump the brakes! Take a breath and give yourself time to read over and give thought to posts before sending them out to the world
We are all human, yes even despite what we witness during a rush hour commute. Treat social media like that first family dinner with your new boyfriend or girlfriend’s family and be on your best behaviour, you never know who you are making a first, and lasting, impression on.