“Politeness and civility are the best capital ever invested in business. Large stores, gilt signs, flaming advertisements, will all prove unavailing if you or your employees treat your patrons abruptly. The truth is, the more kind and liberal a man is, the more generous will be the patronage bestowed upon him.”– P.T. Barnum
Even though the founder of Barnum and Bailey’s Circus passed away long before the advent of social media, Mr. Barnum’s attitude towards courteousness should permeate in the fore-thoughts of every company’s social media posts.
Websters defines politeness as the practical application of good manners or etiquette. Far too often, we see people and businesses alike posting immature, tasteless, and in some cases offensive pictures and messages to their social media accounts. Social media gives businesses an opportunity to connect with people on a personal basis like we’ve never seen before. Being mindful of the following social media practices can save you and your business alot of headaches in the long run:
If you wouldn’t say it in front of your mother don’t post it. Virtually anyone can access your company’s social media profile including your mother. While you might be too old to have soap shoved in your mouth, you’re not too old to become unemployed like the agency handling social media for Chrysler Automotive Group who slipped a four letter word into one of Chrysler’s tweets. Needless to say, the agency is no longer employed by Chrysler and the tweet has been deleted. If you didn’t catch the original story you can read more about it here.
Respond to all of the comments, even the bad ones. At the heart of social media, is the human connection. Nine times out of ten, people are trying to connect with your business through social media because they want to express genuine gratitude or they have an issue with the fundamental way their business is or was being handled. Either way, people want their opinions acknowledged online just as they would in person and ignoring them will often make things worse.
Never Re-Post Without Permission. Give credit where credit is due. Re-posting other people’s content as your own can be illegal without proper acknowledgement. Make sure to ask first or check for the author’s publishing license parameters before you make a mistake that could potentially spiral out of control and cost your business its credibility.
Remember Pareto’s 80-20 Principle. Pareto’s 80-20 rule explains the general imbalance between inputs and outputs. The Italian Economist Vilfredo Pareto concluded 80% of most occurrences(output) in life result from 20% of the effort invested(input) in them. This general rule of thumb is applied across a variety of business practices today and a great way to gain and maintain your followers in the social media world. By focusing 80% of your social media efforts towards engaging, informing, and entertaining your followers and 20% of your social media efforts towards company branding, sales, or specials, your company’s 20% of social media efforts have a much better chance of being paid attention.
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