Do’s and Don’ts of Engagement on Social Media

Social media has become the nervous system of our society. Anyone with a message to communicate–sports teams, businesses, politicians, bands–needs an online presence. But navigating social media is tricky, especially in high-tension situations.

In this last installment of our four-part series on social media communication planning, we explain some Do’s and Don’ts to prepare your team to engage effectively in the online world.

The “Don’ts” of social media engagement:

  1. Don’t be inconsistent with information.
    When a follower asks a question, or if a situation warrants constant status updates, be sure to determine what can and cannot be shared from the start. Posting contradictory information can spark a backlash, causing followers to question your credibility.
  2. Don’t be silent or ignore posts and comments.
    Unless the user is a troll or glory hound, as determined by the CoSN Social Media Decision Tree, always acknowledge posts and comments. Responding proactively will give followers confidence in your social channels and keep them in your corner.
  3. Don’t react argumentatively.
    Depending on the topic at hand, your followers may attempt to start an argument. No matter what, do not engage in an argument publicly on social media. Do your best to move the conversation into a private message, where you can address the concern and thereby prevent further escalation.
  4. Don’t be a robot.
    Social media users can spot automated responses from a mile away. Although the information you share must be consistent, try to humanize how it’s written so readers feel they are listening to another person, rather than a copy-paste command.

The “Do’s” of social media engagement:

  1. Do respond with a consistent tone.
    This is particularly important with more than one team member managing your channels. Establish an overall tone or style early by creating a channel persona to avoid confusion.
  2. Do be timely.
    Especially in times of escalation or crisis, prompt response to questions or posts is crucial. As mentioned in the first post in this series, social media is becoming the first place people turn to for up-to-date information. Delaying response may damage your credibility, and prompt users to turn to other information sources.
  3. Do be transparent with how a problem will be fixed
    Users may post a question or complaint on your channels which could escalate into a larger issue if not properly addressed. A prompt response detailing how the problem will be handled will put the user at ease and assure other users of your initiative.
  4. Do say thank you.
    Show appreciation to your followers for taking the time to comment or post on your channels. They value your content enough to engage with it, so it’s only fair to return the favor!

In this blog series we discussed the Do’s and Don’ts of engagement, the CoSN Social Media Decision Tree, how to create a social media crisis communication plan,  and the impact of social media and crisis communication for your organization. Let’s continue the conversation. Share your team’s social media initiatives on CoSN’s LinkedIn page!