You might have heard about the recent case of Balgonie Castle and the Facebook face-off of epic proportions. Although things haven’t turned out too well for them (they are no longer accepting bookings for weddings after the whole affair, yikes) it serves as a cautionary tale about the very real consequences of misusing social media as a business.

We at Appointedd believe social media is a fantastic tool for growing your customer base, connecting with other businesses, and getting your message out into the world. But, like any tool, there’s a right way to use it and a wrong way, and hammers are only useful if you know which end to hold. So here are some dos and don’ts of social media best practice.


1. DO give your followers something they can use

Just being on social media isn’t enough to gain a following. People are drawn to following certain twitter accounts or liking certain Facebook pages because of one thing: what they post and share. Drawing your audience in is all about providing them with something useful and/or entertaining, whether that be interesting and informative articles from around the web, or posts on your own blog, or even funny anecdotes or observations. The quality of what you’re offering is essential, and more important than being constantly active, because no one likes being spammed with bland media. Instead, seek out and share things that you know your followers will genuinely want to engage with, and they’ll be far more likely to stick around.


2. DON’T abandon your accounts

Having said that quality is more important than quantity, there’s something to be said for keeping up regular posts on social media. Things move quickly on the internet, and the key to staying at the forefront of people’s minds is consistency and activity, so that when new customers come across your twitter feed for the first time they don’t see you haven’t tweeted since 2012 and wonder if you’re even still in business anymore.


3. DO interact with customers

The great thing about social media is that it doesn’t just provide a platform for you to reach out to customers, it also lets customers reach out to you. When a customer tweets you, or posts on your Facebook page, respond! Enthusiastically! Liking, retweeting, and sharing things from your customers will also give them a great boost and instantly forge a really positive association with your business.


4. DON’T ignore complaints

We’re none of us perfect, and sometimes things don’t go to plan, so it’s likely that at some point you will have to deal with a customer complaint of some kind. When these appear in the very public sphere of social media it can feel like the end of the world, because now everyone has seen it and no one will ever use your services again. But hold your horses, because it’s fine: in fact, you have just been given a fantastic opportunity to demonstrate how attentive and dedicated you are to amazing customer service. Firstly, respond quickly: as quickly as possible. And apologise, earnestly. Then say something like “I’d really appreciate if you could give me the details of the issue so that I can get it sorted for you right now” and provide an email address to contact directly, or request a direct message. Once the problem has been solved in private, you can then go back to the original public post and say how glad you are that everything has been cleared up, and you look forward to seeing them for their complementary whatever. That way anyone else reading knows that it’s all good, and sees how happily the issue was resolved.

The most important thing is to learn from the Balgonie Castle incident and not get frustrated and lose your temper. Remember, the thing about social media is that it’s extremely public, so don’t say anything there that you don’t want the whole world to be able to see.


5. DO have fun with it

Social media are great tools for marketing and generating sales (you can even take bookings directly from your Facebook page and take advantage of all that traffic you’re getting), but they’re also a more informal way of communicating, so don’t be afraid to have a bit of fun and let your personality come through.


Published on 28 April 2016