Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past week or so, you’ve likely heard all about Pokémon Go. This app/game allows user to a real world way to “Catch ‘em All” and experience their neighborhood in a whole new way through (can you believe it?) walking.
With all these wannabe Ash and Misty’s out there, society has started calling out players for their poor choices and behaviors. Some of these biggest offenders are walking into traffic and playing in sensitive places such as cemeteries and the Holocaust Museum. SF Curbed recently released a list of do’s and don’ts that should be followed by players:
Pokémon Go Do’s:
- Be a Good Sport
- Buy Goods from Restaurants and Stores
- Put Your Phone Away When It’s Appropriate
- Carry External Batteries
- Read the Poke Stop for Information About Your City
- Explore Your City
Pokémon Go Don’ts:
- Don’t Loiter Around Areas Where Children Are
- Don’t Run into Traffic
- Don’t Play in Sensitive Locations (churches, memorials, hospitals, etc.)
- Don’t Hang Around Someone’s House
- Don’t Fall Down Stairs
- Don’t Leave Yourself Vulnerable
- Don’t Be Rude
- Don’t Shame Others
With all this talk of do’s and don’ts for playing Pokémon Go in public, it got me thinking about the rules of social media. For new businesses who may not be familiar with the rules and etiquette of social media, here is a guideline to follow for the different platforms.
Guidelines for Social Media
Each social media platform is its own beast and should be handled individually, however, there are some general rules that should be applied to all sites. Take a look at this checklist of questions from Forbes to make sure everything you share is the best representation of your brand:
- Should I target a speciﬁc audience with this message?
- Will anyone really care about this content besides me?
- Will I offend anyone with this content? If so, who?
- Is this appropriate for a social portal, or would it best be communicated another way?
- How many times have I already posted something today? More than three can be excessive.
- Did I spell check?
- Will I be okay with absolutely anyone seeing this?
- Is this post too vague? Will everyone understand what I’m saying?
- Am I using this as an emotional dumping ground? If so, why? Is a different outlet better for these purposes?
- Am I using too many abbreviations in this post and starting to sound like a teenager?
- Is this reactive communication or is it well thought-out?
- Is this really something I want to share?
After reviewing the social media checklist, let’s take a look and the do’s and don’ts of each social media platform that you may find yourself using for your business.
Social Media Platforms
Can you believe more than one billion people are active on Facebook? With that many users, there are definitely people in your community (if you are a small, local business) and your target audience who can interact with your business Facebook page. Make a good impression and attract a loyal following the these do’s and don’ts from Hubspot:
- Use a Recognizable Profile Picture
- This image should be one that people can automatically connect with your brand; make this your logo or a popular product for instant recognition.
- Post During Peak Times
- Each social media platform has a busy time for traffic; Facebook’s happens to be between 1-4 pm.
- Get Involved with Promoted Posts
- If your budget allows, promoted posts are a great way to spread the word about your new company or promotional offers in a localized way.
- Fill Out Your Complete Profile
- Don’t forget any pertinent information, including business hours, contact information and anything else your customers need to know. Don’t leave users frustrated and headed straight to a competitor because they couldn’t get the details they needed from you.
- Post Too Often
- This don’t will come up a lot because it is important to remember. Don’t overwhelm customers with posts that are not important. Instead, craft high-quality posts that will have a deeper impact on customers.
- Forget About Images and Videos
- The content you share or create can generate up to 94% more views if you use images, videos or infographics for example. The use of visual images on Facebook also generates 65% more interaction after a month.
- Be Slow to Respond
- Your response time is incredibly important to the social media reputation your brand has. About 42% of customers expect a response in 60 minutes’ time after they complain on your page. Whether positive or negative, check your Facebook page at least once an hour to stay on top of comments, or set your mobile notifications to pop up on your screen and keep a close eye on your phone.
Twitter is a concise and direct way to share information with customers and followers; businesses have a 140-character limit (possibly more soon) to share information, links and images. Twitter may have the shortest posts you’ll find on social media, but with over 300 million users, there is a lot to manage. Follow these do’s and don’ts from eClincher for Twitter success.
- Use Images
- Tweets that have an image in the post increase engagement by 35% compared to those tweets without an image. While most links include an image in the post, try using sites like Canva to create custom images.
- Give Credit
- If you are sharing articles or infographics you find interesting, give credit to those who created or wrote the piece of content. This can help expand your social media reach and can grab the attention of influencers.
- Monitor Your Company Name
- The “@” symbol is synonymous with Twitter usernames, but so often, people may not use that when discussing your company. You will not get a notification without the “@” in front of your name; do a Twitter search of your company to see if there are any customer comments out there.
- Pin a Tweet
- Twitter is a fast-paced site and the average lifespan of a tweet is less than an hour, reducing the number of followers who will see it. If you have a new blog post or important company information that customers should know, consider pinning your tweet (nothing to do with Pinterest). This places your update at the top of your page, no matter how long ago the tweet went live.
- Follow to Unfollow
- One Twitter practice that may seem like a good idea, but isn’t, is following to unfollow. This strategy certainly could lead to more followers, but it defeats the purpose of social media. As a business your main goal should not be more followers, but instead a community of people that you have built trust with over time.
- Send All of Your Tweets at Once
- As mentioned above, the lifespan of a tweet is less than and hour and sending all of your tweets at once will greatly reduce your visibility. Use scheduling tools to help you spread out your tweets over the course of the day.
- Retweet Posts Without Examining Them
- Think of Donald Trump for this Twitter don’t…. As a business it is very important to you know exactly what you are sharing with your followers, and who is saying it. The text of a post may seem interesting or appealing, but the content inside the link may not be appropriate or reflect your brand’s image. Take a little extra time to read and know the content you are about to share.
- Overuse Hashtags
- The use of hashtags is great for finding content and topics that are popular among users, #but #they #can #get #obnoxious #after #a #while. Create a branded hashtag for your business and use that as a way for followers to keep track of your posts, but don’t overdo it.
Instagram is a fun and visual way to share news and information about products and services you offer. Instagram currently has over 400 million active users, over 60% of which log in daily, making it the second most engaged network after Facebook. Here are some do’s and don’ts from Stryde to make your business Instagram account a success:
- Make Your Brand Instantly Recognizable
- Post pictures or videos with your products and/or logo.
- Link to your company’s website from your profile section.
- Post Quality Photos, Often
- Find the best time to post on Instagram and stick to that schedule.
- Post a mix of products and fun images from your business to connect with followers.
- Use images with faces for a higher interaction rate.
- Take Advantage of Descriptions
- Descriptions below the photo should be clear, engaging and reflect your brands image and message.
- Be careful with the amount of links you include; this isn’t the site for that.
- Use Hashtags
- Utilize trending hashtags to trend higher.
- Create a specific hashtag for your business and ask users to use it when posting about your business.
- Engage with Followers
- Follow back followers who engage with your brand page.
- Repost images customers post of your product (but make sure you ask for permission first – especially if the pictures are of children!).
- Reward followers with special insights into new products and discount codes and promotions.
- Post Irrelevant Photos
- Posting pictures that don’t make sense to your brand and confuse customers and ruin your brand image.
- While it is important to have a consistent, don’t flood your followers’ feed.
- Ignore Followers
- Always pay attention to new engagement; ignoring comments and questions shows you are not committed to your page and can turn off your following.
The rules and guidelines of social media are constantly evolving, but some things will never change: use images, post consistently and make sure you respond to customers in a timely manner. Check back in a few weeks to learn more information about social media etiquette and an in-depth look at Pinterest, Instagram and Snapchat.
If your business is looking to create a social media presence, contact Three Girls Media for a free 30-minute consultation and to learn more about the power of social media. For more information about the rules of social media check out the following articles:
- Social Media Marketing: The Benefits & Tools to Execute a Campaign
- Tips & Tricks for Business Twitter Pages
- Tips & Tricks for Business Facebook Pages
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