The Do’s and Don’ts of Social Media Communication
Social media has been global communication tool for a few years now and has grown to a scale where not many would have predicted the sheer size and volume in which it has consumed us the public…yet it can be used with great effect.
For brands, the freedom of expression that social media allows can be something of a blessing or a curse. It’s great when consumers follow what you are doing – like/retweet/engage and generally act positively towards you. However it’s not so great when you have to defend your name and/or actions in the world of social media. Social media is a powerful tool, so put a foot wrong can be a recipe for setting yourself up for a customer backlash and maybe even a media storm.
Most brands have adopted some sort of ‘crisis’ communication strategy to have a ready for such emergencies. Gone are the days which companies had 24 hours to come up with a crisis response. Thanks to social media, the reality is now that catastrophic events need to be dealt with in real-time or else run risk of rumours spreading.
Not that coming up with a ‘crisis’ communication strategy is an easy or straightforward task…but here is a quick run down of some do’s and dont’s of communication in this age of social media immediacy.
• Do – remain calm under pressure;
Every week some sort of celebrity scandal will hit the tabloids and invariably said celebrity would be associated with a brand(s)…the brand then has a decision to make, to either do the normal knee jerk reaction and sever all ties or wait for all the facts to become crystal clear before making a decision.
• Don’t – take your eye off the ball;
Knee-jerk reactions aren’t always the best way to deal with things…as is to do nothing at all, which can be equally damaging as a brand. Always try to keep ahead of the game and know what is going on within your company.
• Do – take responsibility for what you post on social media;
In this day and age, social media is a 24/7 thing, meaning that the majority of people will have access to the work social media account as well as their personal ones on their phones/tablets etc. This can sometimes lead to the unfortunate circumstance when something is posted which is markedly ‘off-brand’. A quick delete seems like the easiest option – but there is always someone there ready to screenshot that mistake. By speaking openly about it and admitting to the mistake it can go a long way to rectifying the situation.
• Don’t – Talk “at” your audience
Without listening and responding to them, this could undermine their trust in the company as a whole. Customers need to be talked ‘with’ not ‘at’.
• Do – accept that social media is a viable, permanent and efficient way to communicate, and embrace it as part of your company DNA.
• Don’t – Ignore comments;
It is vital to engage with your customers. No engagement can make them feel you don’t care. It all comes back to customer service. You should use this an opportunity to interact with your followers and show them how you deal with situations – both good and bad.
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