By now, you’ve probably realized that social media should play a large part in marketing your business. You may even have created accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Now what? Following these 10 commandments of social media can help you get off on the right foot.
#1. Observe First, Participate Second
Before you post your first Tweet (Twitter) or your first status update (Facebook), take some time to research the style and tone used by other successful businesses as well as how members of the community interact with each other. Only when you feel you’ve learned the etiquette should you start getting actively involved in a community.
#2. Communication Is a Two-Way Street
Don’t just post one message after another advertising your business. Get involved in discussions and dialogues. Answer and ask questions, and comment on what other people in the community are saying.
#3. Offer Useful Content
If, for instance, your business is tourist-based, like San Francisco skydiving, offer advice about the weather in San Francisco, the best times to plan a skydiving trip, and how to overcome last minute jitters.
#4. Don’t Get Caught in Flame Wars
Flame wars start out as differences of opinion, but quickly become nasty to the points of insults, name-calling, and personal attacks. When it comes to flaming, just say no. Withdraw from the fight and turn your attention towards more positive communications.
#5. Don’t Spam
In the social media world, spamming means sending out one advertising message after another with no regard for community etiquette or the preferences of your followers. If you send spam, most people won’t “follow” you or allow you into their groups. In essence, you’ll be talking to yourself, which won’t help your sales statistics.
#6. Respond to Questions and Comments in a Timely Manner
Like the name says, social media is…well, social. That means you’ll be taking part in online conversations with other members of the community. If someone asks you a question or makes a comment about one of your posts, it’s only polite to reply as soon as possible.
#7. Be a Good Neighbour
If someone follows you (Twitter) or “likes” your business page (Facebook), take a moment to follow or like them back. Reciprocity is the name of the game in social media. Once you’re linked up with someone, take a few minutes to scan their posts and make responses as appropriate.
#8. Act Like a Professional at All Times
Acting like a professional doesn’t mean that you have to be stuck-up and serious, but it does mean that you watch your language and avoid posting inappropriate images. It also means staying away from personal insults, although it’s fine to disagree about an issue.
#9. Use Pictures to Communicate
Sometimes a picture can get your message across more effectively than a whole paragraph worth of words. Followers also enjoy looking at pictures so they can get to know more about you and your business.
#10. Don’t Let Social Media Become an Addiction
Don’t spend more than ten minutes to half an hour on your social media accounts each day. Any more time than that takes your time and energy away from your business.
Now that you know the basic rules for participating in social media, get out there and become a major player!