Like pretty much everything in life, even social media has rules. And these rules are there for a reason! So, it’s important to know good social media etiquette to maintain your brand’s awesome reputation.
According to Statista, there were 22 billion connected devices worldwide in 2018. This number is expected to increase to 38.6 billion in 2025 and 50 billion by 2030. So can you imagine how many monthly social media users there are?
With a guarantee of fans, followers, and customers liking, sharing, and commenting on your social media platforms, you want to continue to earn their loyalty and following. After all, social media marketing is beyond valuable for your brand.
But back to the rules. Here’s what you need to know about them and the unspoken dos and don’ts that are key for businesses today.
What Is Social Media Etiquette?
Social media etiquette is the unspoken rules, guidelines, or dos and don’ts that govern social media platforms. Just like there are rules when you communicate with people face to face or via email, similarly, there are rules for social media.
All the social media platforms share some of the guidelines, but there are also specific ones for individual channels. Knowing which to follow helps you preserve your online reputation and more.
The Importance of Social Media Etiquette
Adhering to social media etiquette is important for three reasons. Knowing and following the social media guidelines will:
- Protect your brand image and online reputation as your followers will see you as a professional and respectable entity.
- Empower your employees. They’ll know exactly what they can safely share, how to share, and how to represent your company in the best way possible.
- Help you stay on the right side of legal and security issues, especially when it comes to respecting compliance and privacy laws.
10 Dos and Don’ts of Social Media Etiquette for Business Owners
Here are the most important social media etiquettes you should follow:
Complete Your Social Pages
You know what they say about first impressions, right? It’s true.
Your followers aren’t going to think you are a reputable brand if there’s incomplete business information on your social pages and profiles.
So, step one: make sure your profiles and pages are up to date with all your contact info, cover photo, and more.
Keep Business and Personal Separate
Whether you are a solopreneur, small business, or large organization, keep your personal and business profile apart.
Ensure your business page speaks to your brand image so your customers and clients know which account they should follow.
Don’t overpost but don’t share sporadically either. The key is in the balance. And so is knowing when’s the best time to post.
It’s a good idea to post at least once or twice a week. However, this depends on your industry and your followers. See what works best to get high engagement rates without annoying your following.
Interact With Your Followers
Social media provides you with a unique opportunity to interact and engage with your customers, clients, and any would-bes.
Just like you’d build connections in real life and reply when someone asks you a question, do the same on your social pages.
And go beyond this. Ask your following if you are looking for a recommendation. Reply to questions or comments and pin any helpful ones so that other followers can see them (see how to pin a comment on Instagram). Comment and like if you’ve been tagged in a post.
Prioritize Your Social Networks
Don’t sign up for every new shiny social media platform that comes along. Yes, we know. It’s very tempting and you probably feel a lot of #FOMO.
However, it is best to stick to the 2-3 social media channels you are on and to successfully use these. Make your presence on these worth something instead of experimenting with new platforms. Focus on quality content where your followers hang out.
Don’t Be Needy
How do you like seeing “please retweet” and “please share”? Sounds a bit desperate, right?
Exactly. You don’t like seeing this constantly from brands you follow, so don’t be like them.
It’s vital to be strategic when you do make such requests. If you think your followers don’t know about your cool page on Instagram, then you can kindly point them in that direction and share the link to your page. But, don’t push anything too hard or too much as your followers won’t appreciate it. People want valuable information, not to feel like you’re always trying to get something from them.
Be Graceful (Especially With Criticism)
If there’s a critique or some negative feedback, you need to respond. It looks bad if you try to hide from it.
Don’t be defensive when you respond since you don’t want an overreaction to go viral.
Take some time to respond gracefully, and if it is something that can be resolved, let your followers know when that’ll be.
Moderation is key. This goes for resharing, retweeting, liking, commenting, and posting too.
You don’t want to fill your follower’s feeds or walls with just your content. Yes, it sounds amazing if all they see is “you” (aka your business or brand), but life doesn’t quite work like this.
So, don’t mass-follow people, don’t post promotional content where you shouldn’t, and don’t mass join groups and post the same promotional message.
The rule is to not sell more than you help. As mentioned, your followers don’t just want to see overly promotional content on your social pages. You should aim to solve their pain points, share informative content, or even entertain (if that works for your brand).
So, ensure you post helpful, informative, and/or entertaining content 80% of the time. The other 20% can be dedicated to selling and promoting your goods or services.
Match the Social Channel
You can’t cross-post everything. This means that what you post on Facebook may not work on Twitter or LinkedIn. Each social platform has its own rules.
Here are some general pointers for each:
- Facebook: keep it casual and friendly; focus on community and engagement
- Twitter: share and create short posts and rapid-fire conversations
- LinkedIn: share professional content
- Instagram: best for sharing visual content
Want to ensure existing and potential clients and customers see you as the professional, reputable business you are?
Then follow these 10 social media etiquette guidelines to stay on the right side of the social platforms and your followers.