Social Skills

shutterstock_233856061You know tags are an important part of social media. You know the two symbols associated with tagging. You’ve even managed to master a bit of the etiquette ascribed to tagging people. While this is definitely a step in the right direction, there’s still more to the equation. Once you understand all of it, your tags can be used efficiently and effectively to bolster your own company’s reputation.


A Quick Recap

Tags come in two flavors. The ‘@’ directly calls someone out and requires that you use their username. Those that follow you and those that follow the tagged individual will be able to see the tweet without having to search for it. The ‘#’ calls out a specific topic. It’s basically used to assign keywords to a post to further emphasize the meaning. Anyone searching for the hashtag will be able to see your post.

As far as this article is concerned, tagging with ‘@’ is our main focus.

Across the social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, the at-sign is the universal tag. All of these sites have come to an unofficial agreement in regards to the standardization of the tag.


Using the Tag

Using the tag isn’t hard at all. If you are addressing someone or a business directly and want them to see your post, you tag them. Grammatically, imagine the tag is their name and use it accordingly. An example of this would be, “Great seeing @SamWise tonight!” or “Got to love @TheRealSlimShady”.

Similarly, you don’t have to use their name in a sentence. You can ask a question and then follow it up with a tag. However you use it, so long as your purpose is to get said person’s attention, you’re using correctly.


The Tag and Feed

As soon as you post a tag, that person’s feed immediately features your message for all the world to see. This is why the tag has been such a useful tool for customers seeking immediate customer service. Companies want feeds showing that they help their customers not threads full of unanswered complaints. On top of this, the person or company will generally get a notification that they have been tagged. When they check this, they are shown the full text of your tagged message to them. From here, they can choose to reply directly, like or share your message, depending on the social media medium.

In regards to privacy, there are a few rules in place. On Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, profiles can be set to private. This means that no one but accepted followers can view the individual’s live feed. This means your tags will not be public except on your page. Facebook has a little more flexibility, though, because it gives users a broader spectrum of security options.

When you tag someone, the entire internet can see. Do not use this to your advantage, especially as a young company. A quick way to create negative word of mouth or ill feelings is to tag people in pictures and posts of items or services that you’re promoting.  Why would anyone want your product in their story?  Second to that but of equally bad form is to tag businesses with more followers. Such a simple act will start attracting attention – the wrong kind.  People and companies that tag people when they’re promoting something are often seen as spammy, rude, and an unfollowed or their posts are hidden so they’re no longer seen in someone’s home feed.  Worse yet, is if you’ve really upset someone they will let Facebook know what they didn’t like about the post or photo you tagged them in or if they’re a business page they may ban you. Remember, people do business with people. And, they do business with people they know, like and trust.  In order to develop the know, like and trust factor, you need to be someone that they would like to know and that they could like.  Promotionally tagging someone in what you post can make them feel used and disregarded which is not a good step towards building a relationship.