Social Media Etiquette, Best Practices And Manners For A Big Business
By: Sandi Krakowski
The world of Facebook and Twitter, Google+ and Linked In has made it possible for nearly anyone to get in contact with well, nearly anyone!
Barriers are removed, boundaries tore down, and as we'll be sharing in Dallas, TX later this month, many small companies can now play equally and powerfully against national brands. With this open door and wide open field, as many call it, comes responsibility and etiquette. It also requires discernment and wisdom on the part of business owners. Today I want to share with you how to use these tools to build your best business ever and I'll also shed some light on what are best practices when it comes to social media and how you, a business owner, can create the best culture possible.
Mail and messages – Many companies who have a big following on social media are instantly thrown into the realm of client care, messaging and mail beyond anything they ever expected! People love to be connected with you and they message their friends all day long, so it would only seem natural that they would then begin messaging the companies they love as well. (Not a bad thing but let me give you some insight) DM's or direct messages are a place where anyone can email most anyone. What is a company to do when someone is pushing the boundaries, sending client care issues and more through Facebook or Twitter?
Always remember that the name of the game is service.
At A Real Change, because we serve more than 200,000 clients by email and more than 70,000 on social media it isn't good service for us to get into conversations with clients through direct message. It would be nearly impossible to track, give the best care and it presents a host of challenges when it comes to security. Our customary process is to ask the client to bring their concern to our client care department. We reply, give a link to that page and in a minute or two, things are moving forward on the clients needs. We've never had anyone who didn't appreciate this. Because of the amazing relationships we have with our customers, they are more than willing to bring their question over to our website and more importantly, they KNOW we'll answer right away.
My best advice to you is to not get into lengthy discussions with clients or customers through direct messaging.
Not only because it's very hard to track or trace but it also presents a problem of privacy. If a customer were to send their mailing address, phone number or God forbid, billing information, the social media channels do not guarantee privacy and protection. Bring it to your client care department so that your client can be rest assured that service is good with you.
A more important thing to consider however is that when something is handled one to one with a client, if this is not just a simple billing or shipping issue, it does nothing for your Google ranking, SEO positioning or keyword density on your website.
Many of our private coaching clients have huge breakthrough when they realize that all those hours trying to communicate and 'coach' a client (for free no less) by email and direct messaging is really a waste of everyone's time. The best thing to do if a client has a question that might require some detailed explanation is to let them know that this is a great question and I'll be answering it ______ give a date, through _______ give a means (blog post, video, etc) and then deliver what you promised. If someone wants to get some direction on something, it's very likely that 549 other people might also need that help. By explaining it through a blog post you are working in a one- to- many model rather than a one- to one- model. There are only so many people you can serve one – to – one. By answering and giving this coaching or training live on your blog you're expanding your reach and serving your audience more effectively.
Not to mention, consider this… if you answer this publicly you'll most likely be using your keywords and tags that are needful for good blogging! This article for example is in response to over 20 emails that came in during the last couple of weeks asking about social media etiquette. Overwhelmed business owners ask me if they need to answer all the questions coming into their Facebook page and Twitter DM's. Their words to me include,
"How on earth do I keep up?"
"Am I supposed to really coach these people for free?"
"Why do people always ask for free training?"
Sadly, there will always be people who overstep boundaries and have no respect for expertise. But let's go beyond that…. to people who really need and deserve some help? Can you imagine if we were to answer privately all of the requests that come into our website for free consultation, coaching and 'just help this one time for free'? You would not have the thriving brilliant Sandi that you love! * wink * The bigger issue is however that it would not be practical or feasible for everyone. When you answer one- to – many you are helping more people, impacting more lives, and helping more clients get results! It' a win win!
Success follows those who will give it their all, not those who are after the cheapest easiest road possible.
Tagging, Comments and Introductions – I find it disturbing some of the things that people do on social media to introduce themselves. Things like, "HEYYYYYYYYY, MY name is MIKE and I have a SUCH AND SUCH product and I believe YOU NEED this SUCH AND SUCH product and some one with your influence could impact a lot of people with SUCH AND SUCH PRODUCT. Can you please share this with your BIG client base? and hey, what is it you do by the way?"
Is there someone out there teaching this kind of stuff?
This would never be acceptable at a cocktail party, a coffee house or any other public establishment. What on earth makes people think this is acceptable on social media? Or maybe you've had someone introduce themselves on your Facebook Page or Timeline and they @Tag themselves and they @Tag their product or their @Page and before you know it their entire introduction is full of @Tags that make the entire focus of the introduction NOT getting to know you but rather YOU knowing THEM!
@Tagging your name and your @Facebook page or timeline is used for acknowledgment and not abuse. Here's a good rule of thumb- remember that this is someone else's public page. If they are a business owner they are conducting business through this page. So that means you are literally walking into a 'conversation' and you are yelling to everyone on the page.. LOOK AT ME and please SEE SEE SEE what I do!" (Please don't feel bad if you're doing this without knowing it wasn't a good practice. If someone told you to do this, please, ignore them.)
But what do YOU do as a business owner if someone does this on your Facebook pages or Twitter feeds?
Sometimes the best thing to do is use the "Hide Post" feature.
It is pretty annoying when every time someone comments on your wall they tag their page and leave their URL, so there are definitely times to hide the post. I don't recommend you list it as spam on Facebook unless of course it is. Trust me, there will always be people who come to your wall with only one intention- to pilfer or pillage your clients. So it's not rude to hide posts or when valid, report it as spam. There may also be people who just don't know any better, so if you hide their post it can just keep the conversation going and prevent undue attention from being directed to the person who didn't know any better.
In every social media culture there will always be 2-3 people who seem to dominate every conversation.
These are most likely the same 2-3 people who would do the same at a cocktail party, coffee shop or exclusive event. They would be 'found out' as the person who is going from conversation to conversation and always having the last word to say (Or maybe the first, middle AND last). Yeah, you know what I'm talking about. To keep the conversation and the goodwill going on your page without interruption, again, don't feel bad about 'hiding post' to keep things professional. It is your wall, after all.
The Best Client Care And Customer Service- One of the biggest reasons we have such a high customer satisfaction rate at our business is because we put a BIG focus on making sure our clients are served with excellence. Being available through social media makes this not only possible but very profitable. When you make this your focus you'll get praises and rewards over and over again from satisfied clients who are so grateful to be able to connect with you daily.
Don't let the people who try to tear you down ruin your day.
I recently had someone write me a DM and tell me that they enjoyed my WordPress training but I really needed to get a new website. I laughed after I thought of the 200,000 people on our list, 70,000 on our social media channels and they had 901. Please, I'm not being cocky… I'm using this as a point of teaching. Some people have way too much time on their hands. As a millionaire builds their business and grows it beyond 4 times what it was 12 months ago, they spend time sending direct messages that make no sense. Hit delete. Serve the clients who DESERVE you. They are watching you and they are working to do everything you are teaching them.
Learning to serve those who deserve you and who are serious about working with you is a big key to excellent customer service. When people get 'odd' or just plain rude on social media, every hour you spend trying to explain things, defend yourself or trying to please people who merely need someone to argue with, you throw away energy, focus and the ability to serve those who are ready to work with you.
Answer people with the best customer service possible. Be connected to your clients on social media. Give them your very best. Hire help so you can go the extra mile and offer the best support. Then, always remember that human nature makes it possible that in every bunch you'll find a lemon. It's just the way it goes.
Your clients will be so grateful to be able to speak to you everyday if you plan out the things that you are going to help with on your pages. Ask yourself every morning, "What is one thing I can do to inspire and encourage someone else?" and then make that your focus and your goal.
Social media is a great place to meet new friends, grow a big business and to learn how to work with many different people all at the same time! It has become my most FAVORITE place to be, in our company! Thank you for connecting with me daily and for being so faithful to your goals and your dreams. You inspire me and encourage me to be more, so that we can serve you more fully.
I'd love to see you on our Facebook Page! Come stop by so we can "See" you there in person!