Social Media Etiquette: 15 do's and don'ts

Posted on July 27th 2012

Social Media Etiquette: 15 do's and don'ts

Whether you are a first time social media user, or youImage have regularly been signing into these networks for some time, it is essential to understand how to conduct yourself online. Not following appropriate etiquette could have devastating consequences for your attempt to make an impact through social media. Use the following 15 “dos” and don’ts to get a better idea of what is and isn’t acceptable, in order to safeguard your business on social networks.

1. Respond to Input Quickly

Whether someone comments on something you have posted or instead sends a message, it is essential to show that the comments and information you field is responded to efficiently. This will show customers that they are important to you and your brand.

 2. Focus on Representation

Every single moment you spend on a social network is an opportunity to grow your brand and show what you are all about. If you comment on something in an inappropriate manner or say something that isn’t polite, you shoot yourself in the foot. Instead, focus on censoring yourself and filtering anything your post. Remember, customers will be seeing this information, and it could be viewed again and again.

3. Respect Ownership of Digital Content

Digital content may not be a tangible thing, but it is nevertheless owned by someone. Don’t steal content on social media. Not only is it unethical, but it could cause countless problems if identified by the owner. Stealing doesn’t simply mean posting something as your own, but it can also refer to content that has been repurposed from other bloggers and social media users.

 4. Stop Pushing Sales Nonstop

Of course, social media is a great place to get the word out about your product and services, but you can’t simply sell, sell, sell. If you do this, you risk turning off all of your acquaintances and followers. Focus instead on creating content and sharing it in a meaningful manner. If you do this effectively, you should convince others to interact with you.

 5. Pay Attention to the Bad

On social media, only paying attention to the good comments and input can be a problematic approach. Don’t simply act like nobody has made a negative comment or criticized your brand. Try to counter in a respectful, yet direct manner.

 6. Interact with Competitors

You don’t have to shy away from the competition. Feel free to follow your competition and see what they are doing, and be open to competitors looking at your approaches. Do not, however, attack competitors. This is disrespectful and can have serious repercussions.

 7. Engage in Meaningful Conversations Across the Board

Some social media users mistakenly interact solely with users who they feel can benefit them in some way. Consider engaging in conversations in a multitude of different places. Not only is it a thoughtful thing to do, but it can help expand one’s sphere of influence.

 8. Promote Others With Yourself

Don’t focus solely on shrilling your own content or services constantly. You will make a stronger impression on your followers if you share information about other companies and organizations. Intersperse your brand’s content and products from time to time, and you will make a bigger impact.

 9. Don’t Overuse the Same Responses

If someone comments on your content, it can be tempting to respond with a generic “thank you!” While it is nice to see a response, the same answers to ever person interacting with you can be distasteful to those reading your conversation. Try to keep things personal and you will likely find that people are more likely to continue interacting with your brand.

 10. Disclose, Disclose, Disclose

If you are promoting yourself or your brand, you need to be honest about that. In most instances, followers will already recognize this is the case. You also need to disclose partnerships and anything that you may personally have a hand in or you could find yourself operating in an ethical nightmare.

 11. Keep Things Concise

When using networks like Facebook and Twitter, you want to be certain to get your point across quickly. This makes it more likely that others will share your content with others. If you get too wordy, you risk having people shut off.

 12. Stay Active

Posting once or twice a week simply isn’t enough to keep your brand visible. Treat social media seriously by interacting with others multiples times a day if possible. This will help keep your profile fresh and constantly at the forefront of your follower’s minds.

 13. Participate and Cooperate

Try to share links and information from others whenever possible. This will develop good will amongst these individuals, in turn increasing the odds that your content will be shared down the road.

 14. Keep Things Visually Appealing

The meat of your social media interactions are undoubtedly the textual elements of your presence , but you need to keep the visual things in mind. Don’t neglect a great profile picture or the creation of dynamic visual content that can be shared. These little steps can go a long way towards making a serious impression.

 15. Don’t Overemphasize Your Praise

When you receive praise for a product or content your brand has developed, take caution not to try to shout it from the rooftops. Retweeting every positive thing someone says about you comes off incredibly poorly. Instead, simply focus on thanking those who are kind towards you. In this way, you will make certain you don’t accidentally offend someone or make a bad impression.


Image: Kheng Guan Toh

Kheng Guan Toh

 

saracarter

Sara Carter

I Specialize in Computer Repair, Tech Support, Social Marketing, computer and mobile apps, Web Design, Consulting. I love traveling and photography.
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Comments

Hi Sara, when using social media, it is all about communication skills. One book is enough - How to Win Friends and Influence People.

I apply everything I learn from the book, it changed my life not only online but offline as well.

Great tips, Sara! I really like that you pointed out not to overuse the same responses. It can get very boring when all a brand does is reply 'thanks' everything. The brands that stand out the most to me on social media are the ones that put character and personality into their social media accounts.

I find it particularly overwhelming how much work goes into the follow ups! I have seen blogs with dozens or comments, and the blog owner replying to all, as well as tweeting, facebooking and obviously still blogging! Where do they find the time? I have recently started my own business, but made the decision to employ someone to stay on top of all the social networking, marketing and the like. Am currently weighing up the choice between an employee to do this, or a company like Brandvocates that specialises in this kind of work. The benefits of using a company, is that they will want to keep you as a client, resulting in quality, have a name to uphold and are experienced in what they do. Benefits of an employee is the personal contact maintained on a daily basis. For those that do it all themselves, I take my hat off to you!