So you think you’re prepared for your business to have a productive, engaging social media program for your B2B brand? While social platforms are a great way to get your product and services in front of the right audiences, the platforms were not originally designed for this. Each platform runs a little differently, but they were all designed to engage humans through social actions. At M/C/C we don’t always do what’s “prim and proper,” but we always do what is right for our clients. So we’ve compiled our own etiquette list: The Unwritten Rules of Social Media Courtesy. Take a look below to see how your brand should socialize on social media and how you as an executive should interact with your brand there.
Use Multiple Platforms
Choosing the correct social platforms for your brand can be a daunting task, but more often than not, a well-rounded social program incorporates more than one social platform. Each social platform is different. Facebook is the granddaddy of all social platforms. Baby boomers are its fastest growing demographic, but organic reach is drastically falling for this platform. If you want your Facebook page to achieve its full potential, be sure you have some money to put behind the content posted. Twitter is a microblogging social platform that allows users to connect on various topics through hashtags. Tweets fly through users’ feeds quickly, and this is the best platform to find information on current events. LinkedIn is a social network for professionals. Users are looking to connect with other professionals and businesses, which makes this platform ideal for B2B brands. Instagram and Vine, while both different in their own rights, are highly visual platforms that are great for reaching millennials as customers or future employees. To make it a little simpler, my colleague Jenn Reeves went into great depth about how to choose the right social platforms for your business. Whichever ones you choose, make sure you treat each platform as its own and integrate your brand’s voice throughout all of your messaging.
Imagine you called or texted one of your friends or family members with an important question and you didn’t hear back from them. How would you feel: irritated, annoyed or frustrated? Those same feelings go through customers’ minds when they reach out to brands on social media platforms for an issue and they receive no response. Responding to customers makes them feel appreciated. Sometimes haters are just going to hate, and it will be up to you to decide how to respond. Other times you will have customers singing your praises! Retweet or share these public displays of affection and make sure to genuinely thank the person. Work with an agency that has the time and resources to devote to this kind of social program. To sum up this rule, just think of another rule that’s golden, “Treat people the way you want to be treated.”
Use Images & Videos
The introduction of Instagram and Vine changed the game for content posted to social platforms. These pictorial and filmic platforms caused other platforms to incorporate more photos and videos. With the average attention span of an adult being shorter than that of a goldfish, visuals are a rapid way for brands to connect with customers. They say, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” because images can be comprehended faster than words. As easy as it is for me to describe what it was like to take a selfie in the streets of Austin with three of my colleagues at SXSW, you can comprehend our reckless giddiness in a picture of it much faster.
Incorporate the Rule of Thirds
Again, social platforms were not originally designed to promote products and services; they were meant to engage humans through social actions. Because of this, social platforms such as Facebook are making it nearly impossible for your audience to even see your brand’s content unless you “pay to play.” (But we already have a blog post entirely devoted to that.) At M/C/C we engage our clients’ audiences by implementing the Rule of Thirds. No, this is not the Rule of Thirds you may have learned in a photography class (although we do encourage that, too!). This rule of thirds is all about the content you post to social platforms. Balancing three different types of content has proven to be a great success for our clients. “But what kind of content are you posting?” you ask. Easy answer – educational, cultural and promotional.
SocialTimes from ADWEEK notes that 81 percent of shoppers conduct online research before they make a purchase. Your audience wants to be informed and educated on topics that are happening in your industry. Why wouldn’t you provide them with this information? Sharing this content positions your brand as a credible resource for information. Educational content can come in the forms of industry news, contributed articles and even information about training events you may be hosting for your clients or employees. For example, our client PDA provides its LinkedIn network with news about technology in the auto industry as well as information about how its franchisees are connecting with the community.
The company’s LinkedIn presence is still new, but it is already seeing promise with steady growth in followers and an average engagement rate of 1.89 percent, which is higher than the Forrester reported average engagement rate the top 50 global brands receive.
We call this our fun content! From industry jokes to inspirational quotes, this content encourages users to actively engage with the brand in a human way. Even photos from company events or behind-the-scenes videos of your workplace add an extra human element that no other piece of the digital experience can bring. This piece of the Rule of Thirds is instrumental in the success of your brand on social media. Home auction giant Hudson & Marshall provides its audience with quotes, holiday images, jokes, celebrity real estate gossip and a game called #FLASHBACKFRIDAY. The game not only incorporates a popular hashtag, it showcases famous homes from movies or TV shows. These posts often include a call to action and evoke an array of emotions while still speaking the language of the home auction company.
Now that we’ve discussed two other types of content to use on social platforms, we’re finally getting to the “bread and butter” of any branded social media program – promotional content. This is probably the type of content businesses are most familiar with, since it is most closely related to traditional advertising; however brands need to be careful with how their promotional content is worded so as to make sure it aligns with the voice of the social platform. The public sector-focused human resource agency CPS HR Consulting provides training and development courses for government and nonprofit managers, staff and supervisors. Each month it offers a multitude of classes to accomplish this task. The brand uses witty wordplay and simple, popular hashtags to draw Twitter followers in to sign up for classes.
— CPS HR Consulting (@cpshr) April 22, 2015
Interacting as an Executive
Now that you know the rules for your brand’s social program, how should you as an executive interact with the pages so as to promote engagement and show off the awesome work your company does? All senior leadership team members should follow your brand’s social pages, and as a company you should encourage new employees to follow along as well. Engage with the content to demonstrate support and promotion of the page. Interactions should come naturally. As a social media user, you can like, comment, share or tweet. Likes and favorites are the easiest way to interact with a post, but comments, shares and retweets show that you have an opinion and hold some thought leadership on the topic. Once you interact with a post, the social action is often shared with your network, depending on the social platform.
We recommend making it an every-other-day habit to get on your social networks and engage with your company’s pages, groups or chats, other companies and your connections. On the other hand, we do not recommend interacting with every.single.status.update. This practice does not meet The Unwritten Rules of Social Media Courtesy and it’s considered spam in your network’s news feed. Social platforms are for sharing ideas and achievements, so use your best judgement.
So there you have it, The Unwritten Rules of Social Media Courtesy are now written – use multiple platforms, be responsive, use images and videos, incorporate the Rule of Thirds and properly interact with your branded pages. There are a lot of rules to remember, so refer to this information any time you have a question about what type of content to post and how to interact. Better yet, reach out to M/C/C and we’ll create the content and monitor the program for you!