Updated: June 2020
With the advent of technology, social media has become the order of the day. We turn to it for increased exposure while decreasing our bottom line.
Not only does it allow for greater customer service, but improved brand awareness. Yet, social media etiquette and bad behavior can derail the best of intentions.
Whether it’s a mishap or a devastating mistake, each can happen in the blink of an eye and with the push of a button.
So how can you protect your reputation and avoid a debilitating setback?
Below is a visual guide to social media etiquette. They’re simple rules to follow for each of today’s top networks. Plus, grab the real-life business examples and the handy Infographic!
A Visual Guide to Social Media Etiquette
Proper social media etiquette can help you build better relationships. But what exactly is social media etiquette?
It’s a set of rules or customs for each social network that customizes and personalizes the experience. It makes it both enjoyable and valuable.
Ready to add it to your brand? Let’s get to it!
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 feels 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 feed 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. Don’t want to pick up the phone? No problem!
Twitter gives anyone easy access to your brand.
It can also become a landmine of bad etiquette situations if you’re not careful. Here’s how to navigate those situations and keep your business top of mind.
Twitter Etiquette Do’s and Dont’s
- You only have 280 characters to share your message. Keep it concise, but useful.
- Be quick in responding to comments and questions. Monitor your mentions daily.
- Avoid going on negative rants, keep it positive and upbeat. No, this doesn’t mean you can’t have a bad day. However, every day shouldn’t be a bad day 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.
- Be accessible and interactive. People want to get to know the person behind the brand.
- Don’t spend time posting all day without actually listening. 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.
Great question! We have long answers. You can like a page but not follow it. In this case, you aren’t seeing posted content from the page, but still considered part of the page’s audience.
If the question is “How many people saw content?” then Reach is the # you’re looking for.
— Sprout Social (@SproutSocial) June 4, 2020
What can you learn from paying attention to your Twitter followers? How can you consistently show you care?
YouTube 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, YouTube has its own set of etiquette rules.
YouTube Etiquette Do’s and Dont’s
- Don’t create content for the sake of it. Be strategic in the type of video you create. Align topics with your business objectives.
- Make sure to collaborate with others. This builds a sense of community, expands your reach, and drives awareness.
- YouTube offers a lot of features. Use everything available to you. Tag, add thumbnails, write a detailed description. Give your videos the opportunity to be found and get seen.
- Always respond to comments. You’ve posted a video. Great! Now keep the conversation going.
- Don’t treat YouTube as a standalone channel. Integrate it into your overall marketing strategy.
- Don’t forget that like any other social network, you must be consistent. Create a content schedule and stick with it.
Laura Clery is a YouTuber that gets her audience and has zero fear giving them what they want. Even during a pandemic, she’s successfully pivoted her content to bring humor to an audience desperately seeking comic relief.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. If that’s the case, then Instagram is where it’s at.
Whether you’re a lifestyle blogger, designer, engineer, or foodie, Instagram has an audience for you. So how should you use it for your business without making a whole bunch of etiquette 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 want 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 or add to their long list of Stories.
- 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 content.
- Get interactive! Comment on other posts, ask questions, share valuable insight. It’s not a relationship if it’s only one-way.
- Be consistent with your visual brand. People should know it’s you as they move from one social network to the next.
- Be strategic and tailor your content to the network and your audience.
- Stay on topic. If you try to be everything to everyone, you end up with a brandless voice and message.
Mel Robbins knows this better than anyone else. She stays on topic, remains focused on her mission, and always speaks to the needs of her audience.
View this post on Instagram
I might not know you personally, but I am very clear about what’s holding you back. You have a habit of doubting yourself. Aren’t you so sick and f*cking tired of doubting yourself? Aren’t you exhausted by how often you hesitate, second-guess, question or doubt your worth? It’s time to break this pattern. By recognizing that self doubt is a pattern, you can break it. It doesn’t matter if you learned to doubt yourself because of your mother, your father, a bully, a sh*tty boss, or a toxic girlfriend- how you got it is less important than how you’ll break it because patterns aren’t personal, they’re just patterns. I believe that if you break a pattern, you free the person. Imagine if you started cheering for yourself… Imagine if you DID that thing you wanted to do… Imagine just how liberating it would be.
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 be careful. It has etiquette rules to follow like the rest mentioned above.
LinkedIn Etiquette Do’s and Dont’s
- LinkedIn is a professional setting, so keep your posts professional.
- Use search terms and phrases that are industry related to get found by the right people.
- 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 or thank you message.
- Resist the urge to send mass requests for recommendations or endorsements. Be specific and ensure who you 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.
Viveka von Rosen, author of LinkedIn Marketing: An Hour a Day and founder of Linked Into Business offers this advice via Social Media Examiner.
Consumers now tell us what 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 visual network for business.
Avoid Pinterest pitfalls and newbie mistakes with these simple Pinterest etiquette 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 all things ice cream? Especially when it mixes ice cream with cookie dough into an ooey-gooey sandwich. 😍
While the word “etiquette” might sound a little old-fashioned, it’s still an important component in your social media interaction. When we follow certain rules, we make everyone’s experience better.
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
Embed A Visual Guide to Social Media Etiquette on Your Site: Copy and Paste the Code Below
Full disclosure: Links on this page may be affiliate links which means that if you decide to buy, I will earn a commission. 3 things you need to know: I only recommend products I use within my own business, am extremely happy with, and can confidently promote.
Abhishek Suneri says
It has been more than 10 years living in the social media world but people still makes common social media mistakes like self promotion all time, spamming followers with too many posts.
LinkedIn is a great 0oace for professional connection, but I see people are trying to make it next Facebook like party place.
An article which talks about social etiquettes was much needed.
Appreciation for your time dedication for these detailed infographics.
Wow. Awesome to know when we can use social media to do marketing and communication, but make sure it belogns to “etiquette business”.
Manidipa Bhaumik says
Communicating & engaging with the social followers is the most important aspect of improved brand awareness and trust.
Also, I feel that we must not delete the negative comments, as this is an opportunity to come with better results and by answering them, we can clear the adverse thoughts of other customers as well. Thanks for sharing.
J Whitmer says
I really liked this iconographic! Great ideas to remember how to interact in a digital format. One small point in the FB section, The “2nd person” in grammar is you, not we. We is 1st person plural.
Rebekah Radice says
Hi Jenn! Great point. Unfortunately, I don’t have the ability to change it or the grammar nazi in me would run off and do it now. 🙂
This is a super post! Thanks for breaking it all down. Even though I know all of these things, it’s good to be reminded of the do’s and don’ts. We all forget from time to time to stay on top of our social media profiles effectively. I’m off to share this…
Rebekah Radice says
Hi Jen! We can all use a refresher every now and then, right? Glad you enjoyed it and thanks for sharing!
Thanks for this very good article. I always learn something,
Hi Rebecca, I must admit that this is a great post, I really enjoyed the etiquette tips you made about LinkedIn. You know i so much love Linkedin. Thanks for sharing.
donna merrill says
Etiquette is not an old fashion word to me when on social media. There are guidelines we must follow in order to present ourselves properly to the world.
Facebook is where I do focus on the most because that’s where most of my peeps are hanging out. I post things to encourage others to chime in. Of course I also post pics of me and what I’m doing sometimes. It is important to share snippets of our life…..like you do too. I always enjoy seeing you and your hubby. And I love it when you talk about wine! lol
Balance is the key on social media. If we see something that catches our eye, we respond not only with a like, but also a comment.
Sharing on Social media is a must! Plus giving a little intro of the blog you just read, giving the blogger credibility goes a long way!
I have to get my game on Twitter 🙁 But lately, I’m on Facebook and Google+ all the time. I have also just started to get into instagram. I’m not sharing much at the moment because I’m taking baby steps to use the etiquette.
So yes, my friend etiquette is alive and kicking. Thanks for this fantastic post.
Davina Brewer says
This, this, this. I get that ‘there are no rules’ and everyone should be social their own ways. Which is fine and good, but as in everyday life or anything else, common courtesies and social norms still apply. In person:
You wouldn’t name drop and buzz speak. You’d never take someone else’s property, claim it as your own. You’d never walk up to a total stranger all ‘you must buy this! for me, plz send this to everyone you know!’ You wouldn’t ignore someone who had shared or helped you in some way. So it’s funny how online, people and brands do all these things via hashtag spam, grabbing content w/out attribution, DM spam, ignoring social engagement, on and on and on.
One thing: the mobile LinkedIn apps still don’t allow for custom invite requests. My tip for anyone reaching out is to use the website version so that you can customize it. FWIW.
This is some awesome information that you’ve shared here. Your message regarding the hashtags is correct because if you abuse it, it very well may be considered spam like. And that;s not what we want at all.
“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.”
I’m so guilty of this mistake it’s not even funny. Guess I need to start changing that.
Thanks for this post.
Rebekah Radice says
I would venture to say we’ve all been guilty of this. It’s not always easy to inject our personal side when we’re using social media for business.
Work in a few personal tweets and see how it works for you!
Fabulous article, Rebekah! I really enjoyed the etiquette tips for LinkedIn. It\\\’s one platform that I haven\\\’t spent any time on. Do you have any tips for someone who is just learning about LinkedIn?
Rebekah Radice says
Hi Carrie Anne! Find a group and get involved. Post one relevant article a day or make a comment on someone else’s post. Start to build rapport and get to know others spending their time there. It goes a long way in building credibility.
Jodee Weiland says
This is great information to have…well done! Thanks for sharing!
Rebekah Radice says
It’s a great Infographic Jodee and a simple way to see that there are some basic etiquette rules we should all follow to make life online easier and more enjoyable.
Great article! I am really bad with Facebook to be honest. Might just try out your tips and see how it works.
In terms of Twitter, yes you are absolutely correct. You need to balance between leisure and some business. I do the same mistake by keep sharing business contents and nothing more.
Got to change on that and hey, thanks for sharing!
Rebekah Radice says
You, bad at Facebook Reginald? I don’t see it. You post great content and you’re consistent.
Every network can’t be your favorite. If Twitter is where your time is best spent, then don’t beat yourself up over spending more time over on Facebook.