Monday, 9 April 2012

How to do it like a #SocialPro; Lessons on Social Media Etiquette

Social Media is transforming the way the world does business. In your town and your city, this week. Today the implications are huge and the prizes are enormous for those businesses with the wisdom and foresight to get involved – properly – right now.
There is a window of opportunity now open which is likely to close rapidly in the near future. Even if you are one of the (very small) minority of business owners or individual who has the technical knowledge and knows what to do to properly to utilise social media across the different platforms to build your business, the reality is that you almost certainly not all of your followers or friends do really understand how to handle social media like a pro. Just before I give you a few tips on what you should do or never attempt on Social Media,  I need to share something very important with you. I came up with two hashtags to help the world learn from each other on a few aspects of Social Media to increase our effectiveness and realize the full benefits from these platforms.  Start using #BeASocialPro on guys and companies messing, doing things the wrong  way hence annoying people on twitter, brands that don't respond to your inquiries and those with inactive twitter handles etc. On the contrary give #SocialPro for those doing a good job. Guys who clearly understand social etiquette, personal branding, those who respond in real time and brands that give you amazing customer experience on twitter! Do so for those who share useful links with others and people that share useful information on what's happening!
Having said that let me share with you my 5 Do’s and Dont's on Social Media.
1.      Offer information of value.
Don't talk just about yourself and your company. You end up looking so selfish and mean. A research done in the U.S showed that twitter users donate more  to charities  than others on the internet; why? It’s because on Twitter; tweeps do share links, Re-tweet nice information and pass on the news (Good or bad) around. Seriously this holds water because if you read a nice article why not share it with others? Help someone else out there too.
2.      Be accessible.
Your friends want to be heard. And the only way you can prove you are human on social media is by listening and responding. Make it part of your strategy to address inquiries, complaints and compliments ASAP if not in real time. A simple click on the LIKE button shows at least there’s someone on the other end!
3.  Check out the people who want to follow you or be your friend.
Your mother was right when she said that people will judge you by the company you keep. I can easily tell what kind of a person I am adding by simply looking at the mutual friends we have. For me to know about all the opportunities and what’s happening where and when I keep a very resourceful network. This however doesn’t mean you should only befriend the big shots. Keep a network of sensible, centsible and resourceful friends. One of the major reasons why I Re-branded was to lose the Steve Ian brand that stood for something else. With Muthuri Kinyamu the Kenyan Marketer then I began showing the new me, the new brand and people then could accept the freshness and appreciate the ‘NEW’ me.

4.      Be careful with frequency.
Don’t over-post …but don’t under-post either. There is no magic formula for the number of posts per day.  Each medium has slightly different rules of etiquette. On Twitter, for example, it is acceptable to post more than once a day. You don’t want your posts to be so frequent that they become irrelevant to your audience.  If you have to post several times in a day just like I do please vary your content. If you manage a business page please post only during times when the most active age bracket is online. Mornings (6:30-9:00) is a good time, lunch hour (1230-2:00) and around (4:30-7:00). Better still there are tools online that show you the best times to tweet when most of your followers are online.
5.      Spelling Errors.
Compose your posts, updates or tweets in a word processing document so that you can check grammar and spelling before you send them.  If you regularly post tweets or updates full of errors people won’t really take your seriously. If you want to potray the right impression out there; take your time and proof read. If you manage a corporate page like I do, you understand how important this is. Takes me more than 20 Minutes to compose, proof read and make the post as easy to understand as possible so as to engage more followers or Facebook fans.
1.     1.Watch your language.
Don’t use too much slang.  Unless, of course, you want to be a celeb or you manage Ghetto Radio’s account  you can use  informal language on a regular basis . Just make sure you are consistent.  Just because you are a business student, doesn’t mean you have to lose personality either, so once in a while feel free to do posts in Sheng; they are more engaging if the bulk of your pals are in the 18-24 age bracket. However if you want to keep & maintain the 25 and above followers and friends ;posting too much in slang may send out the wrong signals.
2.    2. Don’t be dull.
Coming up with fresh content and events to post about all the time is certainly challenging.  However, you should try to vary the type of content as much as possible.  And don’t just focus on self-promotion.  If you want to be a thought leader, you need to acknowledge other industry-related articles on the web.   Finally, focus on creating buzz worthy posts that people will be more likely to send it to their friends.  After all, social media is all about creating a network. Just note; never post alarming posts eg on politics that elicit sharp reactions. On the same note as we approach the 2012 elections several political groups have been created on Facebook. Lets not fan tribalism or hatred on these forums. Remember Mzalendo Kibunja and his team from NCIC will be watching us on Social media to nab those who spread hate speech.
3.     Privacy
Don't put anything on the Internet that you don't want your future boss, current client or potential clients to read. This is so basic and helps a lot. As I said at the Aspire Leadership Conference in March 2012 don’t place your private life on Social Media. Don’t wash your dirty linen in public!
4.     Don’t drink & tweet!
Never post when you're overly-tired, jet lagged, intoxicated, angry or upset. This is so important yet most people ignore it. You are always very eager to tweet when you get juicy details, when you are so happy or very annoyed. Please avoid tweeting too much when you are drunk; If you are tempted to always tell the world where you are having a drink every Friday please leave your internet enabled phone at home or in the car and carry a Kabambe or the famous Nokia 1110 to the bar.
5.     Control the spam.
If you are spamming the Internet, you  need to be aware that it won’t help you.  Check your Facebook account regularly to make sure that people aren’t posting spam on your feed.   After all, it makes your profile look careless if  it’s covered  with junk.  And when you are posting, make sure to avoid junky phrases or tons of special characters like, “WIN NOW!*!*!*!” that will turn people off from your profile. Be warned that too much of push marketing or self promotion doesn’t help push your event, agenda, sell your product or meet whatever objectives you may have. People don’t want to befriend or follow BILLBOARDS!

Follow me on Twitter @KenyanMarketer for more tips on how to handle your social media like a PRO.

1 comment:

  1. Surely something worth noting.thax for the post!