The knowledge we gain early in life will last us forever. Admit it, you still don't run around the house with scissors, do you? You would never dream of it. Likewise, there are rules you learned back in kindergarten that can help you today in your social media strategy. Here are six rules that will send you home with the best report card in the class.
1. Sharing is caring
This is probably the most basic rule, but it is the cornerstone – strike that – it is the very foundation on which all social media is built. Show your followers that you care by giving them something to follow. Staying active isn't always easy. Setting goals and limits for the amount of tweets or posts per day has a two-fold outcome: 1) It keeps you in contact while helping you develop healthy social media habits; 2) It keeps your output consistent, and people like consistency.
2. Say please and thank you
Tone is the engine that drives your social media machine. Make an effort to address issues with a fair mind and a respectful tone. Negative feedback should not only be acknowledged, but addressed. So don't be afraid to go above and beyond in your customer service efforts. Ever hear of Morton's Steak House? I didn't, until I read about how a tweeter made a joking request for Morton's to meet him at the airport with a porterhouse – and they did, along with a tux-clad waiter and everything. We're not suggesting you go that above and beyond, but this story demonstrates how meeting a customer demand can be turned into a PR touchdown with a teensy bit of creativity.
3. We listen to each other
Not only do we listen to each other, but we do it across multiple channels. And we don't all listen the same way. Social monitoring software is a small investment that can lend huge insight into what your followers are interested in. The result is more than just ideas on what type of content to post. Monitoring also reveals issues and conversations relevant to your business to which you could make a significant contribution.
4. Use your inside voice
Don't use caps locks. Just don't. Ever. We're sorry, but you're not Samuel L. Jackson.
5. People sometimes make mistakes
Hey, it happens. Whether it's accidentally sending the "I'm running late" text to your mother-in-law instead of your spouse, or tweeting something you thought was humorous only to face backlash and accusations of poor taste, social technology not only increases our chance of mishaps, but also amplifies them to the extreme. The important thing is to acknowledge mistakes and move on. An error involving multiple customers is no less important than one involving a single individual, and needs to be followed up with actionable updates. Owning up to mistakes increases trust between you and your followers.
6. The best behaved gets a gold star
At the end of the day, if you do this stuff right, it tends to pay off. As we said above, people like consistency in those they follow. That's one of the reasons they choose to stay with one over another. Remember: Anyone can get followers. Consistency in tone and behavior can help you keep them.
That's all for now. Who's up for cookies and juice? After that, it's nap time.
Nicole Fassl is a Marketing Associate here at KBK Communications, where she manages our clients' blogs and social media. You can connect with Nicole (also known by her nickname, Teddi) on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google Plus, or read more of her posts on KBK Communications’ blog.