How To Respect Your Customers On Social Media: 12 Tips You Need Now

How To Respect Your Customers On Social Media: 12 Tips Do you respect your customers on social media?

Not sure?

If you’re wondering why I ask:
Because on Veteran’s Day  we respect, honor and thank the men and women in the military.

They are the brave men and women, who’ve served our nation over the years.

Each of them is a hero who deserves our respect.

As a marketer, you can learn a lot from these military’s men and women.  Also they show you how to engage and build relationships on social media.

Just as we pay tribute to our service men and women,
Your brand and business must respect your customers on social media.

Use these 12 social media marketing tips to show respect for your:

  • Customers and others involved in the purchase process,
  • Employees, and others who make money from your company, and
  • Broader community in real life and social media.


What You Can Learn About Respect From Veterans

Norman Cohen WWII

During World War II, my father, Norman Cohen, was in the US Army’s Signal Corps.

Stationed in London, his unit was responsible for the logistics of relaying encrypted military code and intelligence to the high level Allied Command.

His team created and maintained the communications processes for and delivery of highly classified information. 

Due to his high level security clearance, my dad was trusted with top secrets. My father kept these secrets for his entire life. In fact, he didn’t talk about anything related to his military service until after he saw the film Saving Private Ryan.

By understanding the military’s guidelines and protocols, he built trust and respect. These attributes are at the heart of respecting your customers on social media.


Manny Aronson in WWIIMy father-in-law, Manny Aronson, was drafted into World War II at age 38! He landed in Normandy on D-Day +6 (aka: 6 days after D-Day).

He served behind the lines maintaining artillery and other machinery until he was wounded by flying shrapnel during the Battle Of The Bulge. And he earned a Purple Heart metal.

After being treated in an army hospital in London, Manny was returned to service. Although he retained a reminder of the war for the rest of his life having lost a fingertip.


How To Act For The Greater Good Example: Tom Deierlien

Co-founder and CEO of ThunderCat Technology, Tom Deierlien is an Iraqi war veteran. In that conflict he earned both a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star. For me, Tom represents the ideal of what an American hero is.

As a West Point graduate and an Airborne Ranger, Tom started working on the TD Foundation while he was stationed in Iraq.  After being wounded and recovering, Tom continues to help get medical help to save children.Respect Your Customers on Social Media

In 2018 , Tom received the prestigious United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) Patriot Award for his work on the TD Foundation. It is a Commander’s Special Award and the highest award USSOCOM can bestow on non-profits and their representatives.

Respect Your Customers on Social Media

In 2019, TD Foundation helped an average of 75 families per year at a cost about $2,000 each.


How To Respect Your Customers On Social Media:
Katz’s Deli Veteran Case Study

Before social media was a thing, New York City based Katz’s Deli started their “Send A Salami To Your Boy In The Army”™ campaign during  World War II.

During World War II,  3 sons of the owners were all serving their country in the armed forces. So Katz’s Deli started the family tradition of sending food to their sons. It became a word of mouth campaign that caused others to send salamis to their sons overseas. And it became the company branded slogan “Send A Salami To Your Boy In The Army”

During the recent COVID pandemic, Katz’s turned its deli from in-store service to delivery and mail orders to supply people with this Jewish comfort food. Also, they donated food to local senior citizen centers near their Lower East Side location.

Respect Your Customers on Social Media


12 Social Media Tips To Respect Your Customers

The key to becoming a social media marketing success:
Respect your audience on social media.

Follow these 12 tips and include them in your social media strategy.


Tip 1 To Respect Your Customers On Social Media:
Create and follow your brand’s honor code

Your brand and business need to maintain a level of civility and respect for your customers, other employees and the public.

Go beyond offering lip service to the notion that “The customer is always right!”Ethical Drivers Chart via Edelman

Actionable Social Media Marketing Tips:

    • Set standards for how employees and others associated with your organization should act towards others. This includes making your organization diverse and inclusive.


Tip 2 To Respect Your Customers On Social Media:
Build team spirit among your employees

Train employees and others representing your brand and business to work together like a company of soldiers.
  Make team spirit part of your company culture. Your c-suite should embody these principles.

Actionable Social Media Marketing Tips:

  • Document how teamwork is part of your brand and business. Include this information in your HR content. Also, make it part of how employees and management are reviewed.
  • Train your employees through team-building training.


Tip 3 To Respect Your Customers On Social Media:
Trust your customers

Trust is at the heart of your brand and business.
Without trust, customers won’t buy from your organization. In today’s marketplace, trust  is even more critical for customers.

Actionable Social Media Marketing Tips:

  • Avoid offering and/or endorsing false or misinformation on social media. Misinformation -Edelman trust Barometer chart 2020
  • Build trust with your audience by developing relationships over time. Take relationships off of social media to engage in real time. Even better, let your most trusted employees handle these social media interactions.Trusted sources via Edelman chart 2020


Tip 4 To Respect Your Customers On Social Media:
Acknowledge prospects, customers and public

Your marketing audience is composed of real people.
They deserve your brand’s respect regardless of their purchase status. Further, this applies across all social media platforms.

Actionable Social Media Marketing Tips:

  • Engage with customers, peers and broader social media community across social media. Participate in group events across platforms.
  • Show appreciation for your employees. BUT don’t force them to represent your brand and business on their personal social media profiles.


Tip 5 To Respect Your Customers On Social Media:
Be positive and supportive

Be there for your audience.
This includes setting an example and serving a higher community purpose. In addition, be inclusive and diverse.

This provides a sense of security and enhances how customers feel about your company.

Actionable Social Media Marketing Tips:

  • Make your brand’s higher community purpose public. Skip the hollow words because actions matter! Especially to Millennial and GenZ customers.


Tip 6 To Respect Your Customers On Social Media:
Be a trusted source of information

Customers actively seek quality information (aka: content marketing) before, during and after purchase.
Help them by creating and curating relevant information they seek.

Even worse, 70% of customers avoid advertising according to Edelman.

Nearly 7 In 10 Avoiding Advertising

Actionable Social Media Marketing Tips:

  • Avoid using social media platforms known for misinformation. Customers will assume you’re guilty by association.Advertisers held responsible for fake news


Tip 7 To Respect Your Customers On Social Media:
Give customers the straight story

In other words, tell the truth. Sooner or later, someone, whether it’s a customer, employee or industry expert will expose your falsehoods. The tide is turning and social media entities are flagging false and other misinformation.

Actionable Social Media Marketing Tips:

  • Tell the truth. You don’t have a choice. People have the means to assess whether what you say is true. So don’t lie!


Tip 8 To Respect Your Customers On Social Media:
Play to people’s better instincts

Assume the best about your audience.

Play up the positives of your offering, rather than cutting down your competitors.

Actionable Social Media Marketing Tips:

  • Skip bad mouthing your competitors, former customers and others. In addition to being a bad business practice, you never know who knows who.


Tip 9 To Respect Your Customers On Social Media:
Answer audience questions promptly

Assume your audience is digitally savvy.
And this applies to their choice of devices including voice-first. So, they’ll use a variety of information sources including social media to get their purchase-related questions answered.

Make it easy for your audience to find and use your information. Include chatbots, IVAs (the new version of call centers) and real humans ready to respond based on your prospect’s context and device. This translates to micro-moments as defined by Google.

Actionable Social Media Marketing Tips:

  • Optimize your content for improved findability and action.
  • Use calls-to-action (aka: CTAs) to get visitors to act on social media. Also include connected content where relevant to get them to owned media.
  • Include tracking (aka: UTMs) in your calls-to-action. So you can measure  marketing success Listen to Joe Pulizzi because you need to be able to explain your marketing results in terms your boss understands.


Tip 10 To Respect Your Customers On Social Media:
Thank customers

Without customers you don’t have a business.

So show them that you appreciate their support across a variety of platforms including email and social media.

Actionable Social Media Marketing Tips:

  • Use social media to find out customer birthdays. Then at a minimum, message them on social media.


Tip 11 To Respect Your Customers On Social Media:
Spotlight your customers


Gini Dietrich of Spin Sucks excels at spotlighting her community. For her COVID column, My Hot Mess, Gini gave the virtual mic to Drew McLellan.

Drew McLellan and Heather

By contrast:
Toast created “Rally For Restaurants” to spotlight their customers’ success stories across social media during and after COVID.

Actionable Social Media Marketing Tips:

  • Interview and/or spotlight your customers and their work. This is particularly easy with DIY and crafts.


Tip 12 To Respect Your Customers On Social Media:
Show leadership and responsibility


In today’s low trust environment, your audience including customers, employees and community turn to your c-suite to provide leadership. Fulfilling this expectation is critical. It encourages customers and employees and reflects on your brand.

CEOs Must Lead

Actionable Social Media Marketing Tips:

Coach your CEO on social media best practices. Also this includes that they show up as themselves. They can’t have someone else do all of their social media posting. (BTW, here are 5 Tips to Get Your CEO On Social Media [Charts].)


How To Respect Your Customers Conclusion

To succeed at social media, respect and serve your audience.

So your brand becomes their social media hero.

Thank you for your service to all of our veterans!

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Heidi CohenHeidi Cohen is the President of Riverside Marketing Strategies.
You can find Heidi on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

PS: This article was based on this content marketing inspiration.

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on November 12, 2012 in honor of Veteran’s Day. It has been extensively updated and reimagined for Veteran’s Day on November 11, 2020.

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