If you’re in your twenties, chances are that you use social media on a daily basis to stay connected with friends and family. Unfortunately, there are people who constantly use and abuse their social media accounts–overloading newsfeeds with passive-aggressive and self-promoting content in the form of baby photos and political commentary. Brands do it too, in the form of promoted tweets, coupons that aren’t really coupons, Facebook contests and condescending status updates. Sometimes inactivity is just as bad. To all of the above, there is a line–and once you pass it, it’s time for a socia media break-up. Here is a helpful little guide to breaking up with a former significant other, friend or brand on social media.
For many of us who have social media accounts, this was our first.; that means we’ve had our Facebook accounts for the longest amount of time. For some reason, this gives the impression that it’s okay for everyone to spam this account the most. Here’s a little secret: it’s not.
This is most true during a breakup with your partner. This outlet in particular gives you many ways to not only cause self-harm, but also to make the rest of your “friends” suffer.
Proper etiquette: It is standard to usually go a couple of days not posting anything on any networking site after a breakup. Once you’re ready to come back to your online life, go to your Facebook account and take down your relationship status. Now, here’s the important part: Do not change it to single. Also, make sure to change the settings so it doesn’t show up in your newsfeed as “Blah blah is no longer in a relationship (sad heart).” This will not only save face from all of your friends and family commenting on the fresh breakup, but it will also save your former significant other from a bruised ego. Take the high road on this one — keep the relationship status quiet for now and only tell the people you feel should know in a more personal way. After about a month, feel free to change it to whatever you’d like.
“You must fight social media fire with social media water.” – Jay Baer
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Another form of proper etiquette on this one is to refrain from posting any status update referring to your breakup or former partner. This is for the same reasons as stated above. There’s no need to get nasty on Facebook and then have everyone know how much of jerk either person truly is.
Now, on to applying these rules to your marketing efforts for your business. Sometimes an unhappy incident befalls your company. Maybe a leader has left your company, a layoff has happened or a business partner was lost. Please apply these rules to your company’s Facebook account as well. This is the channel to make a public declaration of any sort. Keep your relationship status quiet until sometime has passed — and even then, just give a compliment or well wishes, if anything.
While there’s less spamming and oversharing performed on this network, Twitter isn’t always a safe place either. While the content shared on Twitter isn’t always as passive aggressive, direct, or negative as it can be on Facebook, daggers can still be thrown — and sometimes with perfect aim.
Proper etiquette: An announcement about the breakup or that you’re now single is unnecessary. The biggest offense I see with breakups on this site is when individuals are clearly trying to send a message to their former lover about how awesome their trip to Vegas is or what craziness they are getting into on “girls’ night.” This is also known as “subtweeting.” You’re not fooling anyone; we know who you meant that for. If you’re doing it, most of your followers are rolling their eyes at you. It’s fine to talk about hanging out with friends and family, but please keep it rated-PG.
When it comes to businesses, people want to see the awesome stuff happening at your company and the great talent you have backing it. Feel free to tweet pictures and show the great atmosphere you have. But don’t target competing companies with indirect trash talking. Keep everything fun and happy — no subtweeting here either, please.
She just posted a picture of what, with who?! Ah, yes, the image content.
Proper etiquette: This falls in line with Twitter etiquette. Do not start posting pictures of your crazy nights out, or with people that will make others wonder if that’s your new main squeeze. It’s tacky and hurtful, to everyone. And if you’re the other party in this situation, try not to comment on said upsetting pictures. This is also tacky and melodramatic.
For your business brand, make sure to keep this account updated with cool events that your employees are doing along with your clients. But if a client leaves your firm tastefully, take those pictures down (or back date for other social media outlets as well). There’s no need to take something down that’s on the immediate feed; just be mindful going forward and previous posts.
Just like love, business can pair beautifully with social media. And just like love, public business breakups on social media can get messy. And although individuals should do their best to stay above the fray when it comes to breakups, businesses have an obligation–to their employees and their clients–to keep it classy.
Looking for more social media tips? Download our guide to Increasing Conversions with Social Media.