By Jeffrey Gomez

April 13th, 2017

Baseball season is back in full swing (go Dodgers!) and that means the return of the occasional, “You’re not supposed to do that in baseball!” in social media chatter. If you’re not familiar, in baseball there are unwritten rules that prevent players from behaving a certain way or even saying certain things.

Just as in baseball, social media has its playbooks and strategies on how to go about interacting and performing on channels. How you go about following these rules really relies on whether you hit for power or contact – in brand terms, you’re either a Wendy’s or a McDonald’s.

Regardless, some things that you do, and don’t, are habitual or even out of common sense. In following along with America’s pastime, we’ll show you whether you should keep the bat on your shoulders or take a swing with these social media rules that you may or may not have been following.

Don’t delete negative comments and reviews
Negative reviews, contradictory to many people’s thinking, actually give great insight into how people perceive your business. Removing these negative comments can push consumers to avoid your brand now and in the future. It can be seen as not having a customer service or, at least, not putting enough focus on addressing customer concerns.

Don’t balk at negative reviews. Instead of being combative or offering a hollow apology, reply to negative comments thoughtfully in a positive tone. This way you can help shape how your brand is perceived by providing a thoughtful response.

The best way to respond to a negative comment is by offering not just an apology but, more importantly, a solution to the problem. Considering the loyalty some people have toward brands, making an effort on social – where everything is public – can help show that your brand puts customers first.

Don’t be a KFC:

Don’t “pimp out” a home run
Always show sportsmanship when competing against others. The unwritten social media rule is to never bash on a competitor when you’ve outranked them by a mutual party.

Often times, 3rd-party sites will give out awards to in different categories, or awards like The Webby’s honor great social media campaigns. Home runs, in this case awards, are to be admired, but it’s never okay to call out the competition as losers.

More is not better
Scoring more runs when you’re already up by so many does not give your team an extra win in the standings. It’s calling padding the stats. In social media, it goes without saying that

There’s a life-cycle for just about everything in, well, life. In social media, running any type of campaign is oblivious to this cycle. That’s because social media is ever-changing. What may be working today, may not work tomorrow.

Don’t clog social media timelines by repeatedly posting the same campaign content. Approach your cross-channel content strategy is if they’ve read your posts multiple times. It’s always good to mix in a few pitches as well – posting the same type of content over and over again will make your content bland and your social media hitters will notice.

Don’t step on the pitcher’s mound if you’re not a pitcher
In baseball, the pitcher’s mound is sacred. Unless you’re a pitcher, you never walk over the mound—you walk around it. Many brands have their own social media chats – sometimes weekly. It’s safe to say that you should not, by any means, try to crash their chats.

It’s in your brand’s best interest to simply watch from the sidelines. Some of our competitors and their employees follow us on Twitter, but there’s never been an instance where we feared that anyone would jump into our mentions in order to steal, away a potential client.

This is also a good opportunity to remind you of our Ask an Expert: Social Media Tips and Tricks column where we answer social media questions from our readers. Feel free to tweet us questions or your favorite unwritten rules about social media or sports.

Don’t steal content
In baseball, the act of observing, filming, or reviewing footage of signs used by opposing teams and deciphering them in order to gain a strategic or tactical advantage during a ballgame is one of the worst offenses a team can do.

Even in football, you may recall when the New England Patriots (NFL) were caught videotaping other teams’ signals. Original content on social media is important because it offer you the opportunity to shape how users will see your brand.

Sliding into home
Social media marketers are today’s skippers, cleanup hitters, and bullpen. They manage everything while performing duties that fall into the scope of other departments. They’re the name on the front of a jersey—acting as PR, customer service, and the voice of the brand.

When you etch these unwritten rules into your social strategy, it helps minimize mistakes and helps propel your brand into upper echelons of social media brands. So, the next time you take a swing, keep your eye on the ball and your customers.

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