With the advent of technology, social media has become the order of the day.
Businesses turn to social media for increased exposure while decreasing their bottom line. And when used effectively, it can allow for greater customer service and improved brand awareness.
Unfortunately, it can also lead to mishaps and devastating mistakes with the push of a button.
While there are a few social media etiquette rules we can all agree upon, such as don’t overshare personal info (yep, that includes your breakfast), there are those lesser-known gaffs you might still be making.
Would you like to know how to conduct yourself appropriately, no matter the social network? Ready to increase your use of social media without committing an embarrassing faux-pas?
Below you will find a visual guide to social media etiquette rules to today’s top networks, including real business examples and a handy Infographic!
Social Media Etiquette for Business
Want to build better relationships on Facebook? Get interactive, responsive and targeted.
Know the needs of your fans and consistently give it to them, day after day.
Facebook Etiquette Do’s and Don’ts
- Don’t make your fans feel unimportant. If someone takes the time to comment or ask a question, don’t ignore them. Instead, try to respond to every comment, even if it irks you. Always remember, the opinions of others matter. You never know, you might turn around a negative situation or gain respect with your timely (and appropriate) response.
- Use Hashtags wisely and sparingly. One or two relevant hashtags make sense, however, any more than that can just feel spammy.
- Know when to post for maximum engagement. Pay attention to your analytics and note when your fans are most active.
- Always provide value. Be informative and entertaining, don’t spend the majority of your time spamming your own wall with promotional content. Your goal is to be a resource to your fans. Find their need and fill it daily.
Skittles has brought the brand alive through a fun, witty and quirky social media persona.
They’re completely in tune with the needs (and wants) of their community, providing an interactive and highly engaging experience.
Twitter has changed the way businesses communicate with consumers. No longer required to pick up the phone to connect with you, Twitter gives potential clients easy access to your brand story.
Want to expand your presence through the power of Twitter? Follow these simple rules!
Twitter Etiquette Do’s and Dont’s
- You only have 140 characters to share your message. Keep it concise, but useful.
- Be quick in responding to comments and questions. Monitor your mentions!
- Avoid going on negative rants, keep it positive and upbeat! No, this doesn’t mean you can’t have a bad day, just don’t make every day a bad day that’s shared across Twitter.
- Are you tweeting for business? Don’t make the mistake of only posting business content. Find a balance between business and personal tweets. People want to get to know the person behind the brand.
- Use Twitter to listen to what’s being said about your business. Now respond in a conversational and authentic way.
I’m always impressed with the team at Sprout Social. As a company focused on providing a robust social media management tool, Sprout Social walks the talk.
Just browse through their Twitter stream and you’ll see how interactive and responsive they are.
@DarrenM488 Yep, it’s in the plans! Don’t have an ETA to share yet, but definitely something we know our customers would love.
— Sprout Social (@SproutSocial) September 20, 2014
What can you learn from paying attention to your Twitter followers? How can you consistently show you care?
Google Plus can provide rocket fuel to your already established online brand.
With a tie to the world’s largest search engine, testing the marketing waters just makes sense.
But as with all social networks, Google Plus has its own set of rules.
Google Plus Etiquette Do’s and Dont’s
- Keep the conversation going. Always mention users when you comment or respond.
- If you share someone else’s work (and you should), be sure to give credit where credit is due. This builds reciprocity and credibility.
- Don’t just share posts for the sake of sharing. Curate content that matters to your followers and then inject your personal view.
- Use circles to manage your relationships. Use specific groups such as co-workers or industry influencers.
- Google Plus lets you format your posts. Use them to make your posts visually appealing and easy to read.
- Join communities like Plus Your Business to interact with other like-minded business professionals eager to learn more about Google Plus. Run by Martin Shervington, this community is your one-stop-shop for all things Google Plus!
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so share your story across this visual medium. As one of the newer networks on the block, Instagram is rife with social media faux pas.
Instagram Etiquette Do’s and Dont’s
- Never ask people to follow you; leave them to their own initiative. Instead, work on the image you wish to project and let followers naturally connect with you.
- Be considerate and limit your number of posts. Nobody wants your content to fill up their entire feed.
- You get what you give. Engage with other people’s photos and give them a reason to engage with yours.
- Use hashtags where appropriate, but don’t use hashtags that aren’t relevant to your photo.
As Sue B. Zimmerman, aka The #InstaGal says,
Instagram is a goldmine of a business-building tool that you don‘t want to overlook.
However, don’t just grab content for the sake of posting something. Be strategic and tailor your content to the network and your audience.
Are you telling your story on Instagram using Instagram stories? They’re great to show your day as it unfolds, share your opinions about something, or just be a little silly. Why not? People want to get to know who you are and sharing more in Instagram stories adds another level of connection. Whose Insta-stories are must-watch for you? Share in the comments who and what you love about them. #instagramstories #storytelling #socialmedia #instagramtips
As the Internet buzzes about with social media activity, identifying what sites provide the best networking opportunity is simply a mouse click away.
LinkedIn, the largest online professional network, is an excellent resource for job seekers and brands alike.
But don’t get caught making these errors.
LinkedIn Etiquette Do’s and Dont’s
- LinkedIn is a professional setting, so keep your posts and interaction industry related.
- Fill out a complete profile. You never know where your next opportunity might come from.
- Always send a custom connection request and then follow-up with a well-crafted welcome/thank you letter.
- Resist the urge to send mass requests for recommendations or endorsements. Be specific and ensure who ask has the knowledge to endorse your skills and talents.
- Contribute as much as possible in LinkedIn groups. They’re a great place to build relationships and raise awareness.
Consumers now tell us want they want. A large part of prospecting is to know who your ideal clients are and know their needs. Facebook, Yelp, LinkedIn and Twitter make the research a lot easier. With a combination of keywords, titles, company name and location, you can use the Advanced Search on LinkedIn to discover the people you want to interact with. These are your prospects.
I don’t know how this one didn’t make it to the Infographic, but Pinterest definitely tops my list as a go-to social network for business.
Unfortunately, the best way to use Pinterest to market your business is still unclear for many.
Avoid Pinterest pitfalls and newbie mistakes with these simple Pinterest rules.
Pinterest Etiquette Do’s and Dont’s
- Do pin all of your content. From blog posts to videos, add your proprietary content to relevant boards.
- Share other people’s content to your boards to create a diverse and rich pinning experience for your followers.
- Do complete the description for every pin and make your pin “searchable.”
- Don’t ever edit the link when pinning other people’s content. Make sure content links to its original source.
- Space out your pins so you’re not spamming follower news feed with an immense of amount of content all at once.
- Do follow other relevant pinners that are consistent in their efforts and pay attention to their best practices.
One of my favorite brands to follow is Ben and Jerry’s. Each board creates a visual correlation between brand and product and an easy way for followers to repin their tasty pins.
As a dessert lover, their “Yummy” board is a must follow. I mean, who doesn’t love s’mores? Oh that ooey gooey goodness!
While the word “etiquette” might sound a little old-fashioned, it’s still an important component in your social media interaction.
Not only does it make everyone’s use of social media more enjoyable, but it eliminates the often messy outcome associated with breaking the rules.
What have I missed? What social media etiquette rule would you add to the list?
Grab the Infographic
A Visual Guide to Social Media Etiquette – An infographic by the team at TollFree Forwarding