With new emerging technology and the internet at our fingertips, Social Media is changing the marketing world today and offering a unique way for marketers to engage customers. Not only does it promote news or updates in real time, it also allows interaction between the organization and their customers via comments, Likes, feedback or sharing.
The reach of Social Media is broad with audiences in different age groups, gender, and interests. Real time updates often have a huge impact as it can go viral within a short amount of time without the option to reverse any mistakes. Though this is a great channel to reach a wide audience we, as marketers, need to be very cautious when posting social media updates on behalf of an organization. Any negative impact is widely spread and may result in ruining an organization’s reputation and potentially diminishing its brand.
Freedom of speech must be exercised responsibly when using Social Media in the business context. Below are some simple best practices and guidelines that a marketer should keep in mind when posting on Social Media to promote on behalf an organization:
Show the same respect to your audience as if this were your own workplace environment. Pay extra attention to and potentially avoid sensitive content such as politics, religion, race, gender etc.
The recent case of a Dutch airline (KLM) that celebrated the win in World Cup 2014 with a tweet contains sensitive comments had stirred anger and offended the public and ended up apologizing for it. Read more about the case: (http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/28086231)
Get your facts straight
Ensure you are providing accurate information such as facts and data, so that you are not misrepresenting the organization and their business owners. Factual accuracy also means ensuring that you give credit where credit is due, if you use many sources in constructing your online content, it’s important to attribute the content to its’ owner.
Be mindful of your public image
Consider the image you want to portray to the public. Be mindful that what you post may be viewed by the public and may stay public forever. Add value to the company and do not overshare. Is this something that you would communicate across the table to your most important customer or prospect?
Home Depot apologized for a racist Tweet that was sent from its company’s Twitter account. Read More about the case: (http://abcnews.go.com/Business/home-depot-apologizes-racist-tweet/story?id=20831402)
Use your best judgment and common sense
Remember that there may be consequences to what you post, so consider your content carefully. As with anything else you would do publicly, it’s always good to run your online content by a few people from diverse audience and get their feedback before going public.
Standards for online conversations
Online conversations on Social Media sites must remain professional and respectful even though they can often be casual. Inappropriate comments should be removed.
An example of content that should be deleted includes:
- Vulgar, racist or sexist slurs
- Comments pertaining to violence
- Incorrect information
- Comments that are not relevant to the topic
- Comments that are not respectful
- A commenter who is misrepresenting himself/herself
- A single person who is dominating the conversation
Social Media is being used every day and it has a powerful impact to the way we engage and communicate with our customers. The suggested guidelines above will ensure marketers are using social media appropriately; while increasing the presence of your organization yet maintaining and protecting its reputation.