Social Media Rules of Conduct

Are you familiar with the social media rules of conduct? Like in everything, there are indeed rules that must be followed. Social media is fun and it’s a creative way to spread the word about your brand, products or service. It lets you inform your fans and followers on who you are and what you do through content and posts that reflect your overall brand image.

That said, and despite the more casual and personalized aspect of this new marketing tool, there are some general rules that are important when using the different social media platforms. So to help you avoid any outright disasters on your pages, here are some rules of conduct to always keep in mind.


Be Professional

One of the most important rules on social media is to always be professional. But your page (or brand) is meant to be humorous and funny you say? That’s fine and it is even a great way to have your followers and fans understand who you are, but know that you can show your wild site while still avoiding posting those not so classy Christmas party pictures! You want to use appropriate content at all times (no swearing or vulgar texts) and images that won’t offend any of your follower base.

Think of it this way. The content you would post on a personal account is much different than a business account. For example ranting about a driver who nearly drove over your foot as you were walking to work can be considered acceptable on a personal account but for your business you’ll want to leave any insults towards others off your page. You have to remember even though it is through online communities; you are still representing your brand or company so it’s important to remain professional!


Tell the Truth and Avoid False or Misleading Statements

Part of being professional on social media comes with always telling the truth and avoiding any false or misleading statements. What is published or said on your page is coming directly from your brand or company and you want to be sure that this content is accurate.

For example, don’t publish a statement about having 100% organic products if in fact this is not exactly the case. That will mislead your followers in their understanding of who you are and what you offer. As with any other form of marketing or advertising, you want to maintain a high level of honesty with your customers.


Reveal Your Sources and Always Give Credit Where Credit is Due

So you found this super great article or heard some fantastic news that you want to share with your followers? You’re so excited you post about it immediately and can’t wait to hear their opinions! Then out of nowhere you’re attacked with angry comments accusing you of taking someone else’s words or idea, what on earth…? Yes this will happen!

You have to be sure that if you’re going to talk about something that was posted by, written or said by someone else that you give him or her credit for it. This goes not only for content but images as well.

To avoid any issues related to intellectual property, all you need to do is mention the sources. When you quote somebody, link back to the original content if possible. Take the extra few minutes to add the image source with that awesome (but borrowed) photo you just posted!


Present your Opinion as your Opinion

In connection with the previous rule, you will want to make sure that when you are stating information or writing content on your social media sites that you are presenting your opinion as your opinion.

Not a fan of that new car model that was just released? No problem but be sure that it is clear to your followers that is your own opinion and reflects only your brand’s feelings towards that topic. Something along the lines of “Worst model ever designed” is probably not the best choice! Is it actually the worst model ever designed? According to whom? Instead try re-directing the post by saying “We’re not so sure WE WOULD drive this one, what are you’re thoughts?”.

It is really important that your community can distinguish between what you think and what are true facts. The whole idea of social media is to generate conversation and share ideas but just keep in mind that not everyone has the same opinion. Just as you wouldn’t speak for another person or brand off social media, it’s best not to do it online either!


Admit and Correct your Mistakes Immediately

Finally, when using social media to promote and spread awareness or even just to communicate with your fans and followers, always remember that if a mistake is made (which it likely will, we are all human right?) then just admit and correct it immediately.

Nothing worse than trying to cover up or fix a mistake, what’s done is done. The best way to improve mistakes on social media is to simply say, “Hey, yes we made a mistake, it happens! And here is what we will do about it.” Your fans will understand and appreciate this type of honesty and will see you as a “regular” person. Deleting or trying to cover up mistakes will come across as you trying to hide something and will cause followers to lose trust and faith in your brand. Just own up to it because, like in real life, covering it up will most likely lead to digging yourself into a bigger and bigger hole.

So there you have it, rules of conduct to follow when using social media! The key aspect to remember when using social media for your business is that what is published online is likely going to be accessible for a very long time so whatever content, image or video you decide to publish make sure you won’t regret it after hitting that post, tweet or share button!

Sandra Blondeau

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