Funk/Levis Lessons in Social Media Etiquette
In times like these, when a single tweet can get the #1 sitcom cancelled, we can all be a bit more thoughtful about what we post on social media platforms. Few of us have the same visibility as an elected official, Fortune 100 business or celebrity, but even “regular” people can feel the lasting effects of a post gone awry.
In the almost 10 years since Funk/Levis has been managing social media accounts for local and regional clients, we’ve learned a few important considerations to think about every time we’re about to post something on social media.
Think before you “post”
It’s important to know what you want to say and who you want to say it to before you post anything. Remember that, in face-to-face conversation, just 7% of your message is conveyed through words. The rest, 93%, is communicated through nonverbal cues such as tone and body language. When you switch to social media, where words are your primary communication tool, you leave a lot of room for misinterpretation. The people who see your post won’t automatically understand your intent and voice. Try reading your post in a mean or nasty tone. Does it still have the same meaning you intended originally? If not, you probably want to rewrite it or get some help with achieving your original goal.
The ‘how am I feeling’ test
As human beings, we are sometimes driven to social media as an outlet for our negative emotions. However, rage tweeting or making a snide comment on social media isn’t the answer and can have major consequences.
Before you post, check in to make sure you’re in the right headspace. If you can honestly answer the question, “How am I feeling?” with a neutral or positive answer, you are okay to hit the send button. If not, wait at least 24 hours. Waiting can save you the regret of acting rashly based on emotions that may diminish with time. It also gives you time to think through what you want to say and how best to say it.
While you think it’s urgent to post right now, nobody else knows about it. Take your time to make sure you are in a calm state of mind before posting something that will stick around forever. Did we mention posts on social media could stick around even after you hit the delete button?
Did I run this through spell check?
We’ve all misspelled something or had an unfortunate autocorrect, but the stakes are a little higher when the Internet can make one misspelling into the latest meme. Take a few extra moments before hitting the send button to read through your post again or even run it through spell check to save you the embarrassment of your misspelling trending on Twitter.
The Inside Baseball Test
I will be honest, even though it sounds wrong to say, I am not a baseball fan. When I listen to baseball games, I am endlessly confused at the language. This is why I love the term “inside baseball” so much. It’s a perfect umbrella term for talking about all the phrases or lingo specific to insider knowledge, whether it has to do with baseball or not.
I’m always amazed when people use acronyms or language specific to their industry or organization yet get upset when people don’t understand them. Social media is a community with lots of different types of experts and ways of communicating. You have to make your language understandable and not just relevant to your type of business or industry.
Social media is named appropriately: people expect back and forth communication whether you’re a person, business or one of the dogs of Instagram. You have to be prepared to respond even outside of work hours. Our team sets up alerts on our phones and uses social media listening tools to stay in the know for our clients. We are ready to respond 24/7.
Research done on user expectations of social media say that 53% of people who post a comment, question or request on Twitter (and probably other social media platforms) expect a response within an hour. When the post is a complaint, that expectation of a fast response increases to 72%. So remember, answering quickly, even if you only say, “I will get back to you with the answer” goes a long way to letting people know you’re paying attention.
Social media is an important part of how we communicate today. But remember, just because you can write a post or a response to someone else’s social media musings in a few seconds, it doesn’t mean that you should! Take a few moments to ensure you and your dignity stay intact.
— Anne Marie Levis, President & Creative Director