For businesses which have a powerful online presence, especially with regard to social media, there can be a fine line to walk between promoting your business and crossing the line of good etiquette. This is an important principle to be aware of, because if you do happen to breach acceptable etiquette online, it could have just the opposite effect of promoting your company and its products.
If you turn off the user base which has previously been following you because of any gaffes or mistakes you’ve made online, it can take a very long time to undo the damage you’ve done, and to rebuild your following. It’s no exaggeration to say that you might have to start all over again with building your online presence, if you happen to make a major misstep with regard to your posting behavior.
You’re far better off to err on the side of caution, and proceed with user engagement carefully, so that each step you take is a positive one, and so you’re always building toward better relationships with your following. Here are some of the most common mistakes made by businesses in the pursuit of self-promotion and greater engagement with their audiences.
Inappropriate usage of social media
In most cases, the appropriateness of using social media in various situations depends strongly on the age group that you’re asking. As you might expect, more youthful employees feel that it’s just fine to use a social media at work, going to or from work, and even in checkout lines at local stores. As the age of the person being queried rises, so does their resistance to using social media in various situations.
People who are closer to retirement age feel that it’s completely inappropriate to use social media in far more situations than do younger people who have just joined the workforce. Surveys which have been conducted on this very topic have borne out these statements, and have made it clear that younger people everywhere favor the use of social media far more than their elders.
What this means to you as a business person, is that more of your social media marketing should be targeted toward young people, who will be much more likely to be tuned in, and to find your messaging to be acceptable. This is not to say that the older generations do not actively participate in social media, because they do. It’s just that older people tend to allocate time for social media when they have freedom from any other activity, and they’re just enjoying themselves during a downtime period at home.
When it comes to inappropriate behavior in social media, this is much more uniformity across age groups, so it doesn’t really matter who you ask, because they are likely to consider certain kinds of behavior to be out-of-bounds on social media. Bullying has been identified as the number one kind of inappropriate behavior online, and it is universally panned by social media users. This is probably due to the tremendous visibility which bullying has gotten in schools, and the huge problems it has caused psychologically for the victims.
The next most inappropriate behavior online is considered to be discriminatory content, with vast numbers of people still very sensitive about any kind of exclusive content which tends to segregate people into groups. Following discriminatory content, the next most repulsive kind of posts are those which include fake news. This too, has gotten a great deal of media coverage, and has sparked a good deal of outrage all around the country, so it’s only natural that that it should be despised online as well.
Posting too many selfies is also regarded as inappropriate behavior by many online users, perhaps because it indicates too much self-love and excessive pride. In that same vein, sharing too much information about one’s personal life is also considered to be crossing a line on proper etiquette, because most people don’t care to know intimate details of anyone else’s life.
Some of these types of inappropriate behavior are more attributable to personal conduct online, rather than any kind of business marketing strategies. However, the last couple behaviors described, excessive selfies and over-sharing on personal issues, can also be attributed to marketing tactics online. It’s very possible for any given marketing campaign to overdo it on providing images of the company, given the fact that images are supposed to be so powerful and popular online.
Sharing too many details about company operations can also cross the line, because it can introduce an element of tedium and boredom with all the content being shared. Most people are simply not interested in the nuts and bolts aspect of how a company is run, even if they enjoy behind-the-scenes details about a business.
For those behaviors which are strictly attributable to businesses, surveys have shown that excessive use of hashtags, excessive number of postings, and overzealous solicitation for business are the three main turnoffs for users. At least one in three out of every online user has declared that they have been rubbed the wrong way by one of these three business behaviors.
This is worth noting because it means that as a marketing specialist, you might be alienating a full 33% of your audience simply by the methods that you’re using. Obviously, that’s not what you’re trying to achieve, so you should really pay attention to what is considered appropriate behavior when using social media.
One of the reasons for which many users find any kind of post, including business postings, to be offensive, is headed up by political commentary. It seems that politics is a huge turnoff for a vast number of people, and is a very volatile subject for most others. Surveys have shown that some users will entirely disconnect from social media when they find that their feeds are full of political commentary.
There are two other factors which sometimes cause users to abandon their social media connections, those being excessive posting and types of posts which are considered discriminatory. Your company would be well advised to avoid social media behavior which breaches any of these three behaviors, because it’s very possible that you would permanently lose a potential customer.
By avoiding some of the other types of inappropriate usage and behavior of social media, you should be able to enjoy a good relationship with many of the people in your target audience, fostering greater engagement and potentially greater sales.