Social media has the power to grow your business rapidly. But it can also severely damage your reputation if you don’t follow the correct etiquette online.

It is also growing at a fast rate, and one-in-three people in the world now use platforms. It means it’s crucial that you stay on top of current trends and best practices to survive online.

The dos of social media etiquette for businesses

Show your brand’s personality and values

Social media etiquette starts with defining your brand. It includes your target audience, tone of voice, and what kind of photos you use.

The most important thing to remember is to be consistent across all platforms so people can easily identify your company.

Keep your profiles up to date

Social media is a powerful way to engage with customers. It puts your brand and business in front of thousands of people and shows everyone the type of business you are. An up to date profile will help you get found by customers, stand out from your competition and prove your credibility.

Would you choose to buy from a company who has old information on their social media page or hasn’t posted for a while? Ultimately, if your profiles are not kept up to date, you could miss out on business.

Post regularly

How often you post on social media depends on your type of business and the platform(s) you use. Start with these guidelines and adapt if you think it’s required.

  • LinkedIn – post once every business day
  • Facebook – once a day
  • Instagram – 1-2 times per day
  • Twitter – 3-5 times per day

The important thing to remember is that consistency in posting is key. A content calendar will help you plan ahead and stop you missing posts.

Respond to your followers promptly

Customers expect a quick response to comments or questions that they post on social media. Use it as an opportunity to show how much you value them and how excellent your customer service is. Even if you can’t answer their query straight away, it’s best practice to acknowledge their comment and provide a timescale for resolution.

Make the most of hashtags

Using the right hashtags will make it possible for your content to be found. They are currently being used across all social media platforms and should always feature in your posts. The rules regarding how to use hashtags correctly change often, so make sure you’re up to speed with the latest hashtag trends. There are also online tools such as Display Purposes that will help you generate the right hashtags for your content and reach a wider audience.

Make content as shareable as possible

Producing content that is entertaining, current and visually appealing will make it shareable across social media platforms. Paying attention to trends and telling positive stories are also proven ways to encourage people to share your posts. Making content shareable will result in increased brand awareness and drive more traffic to your site.

Post third party content from credible sources

Sharing third-party content on your social media profiles is a great way to establish yourself as a valuable and reliable source of content.

Before you share any content, you should read it carefully to make sure the content is in line with your company’s view. You should also ensure that no competitors are mentioned in the text. The third-party content that you choose to re-post should also be as current as possible.

Remember to link directly to the original source to avoid being accused of plagiarism.

Double-check your content before you post

If your social media content is full of errors, chances are people will start questioning your credibility.

Build a proofing process into your social media strategy to ensure that you consistently post high-quality content.

The don’ts

Post insensitive content

Stay on the right side of social media etiquette and make sure you don’t post content that could cause any offence. Everything is magnified on social media, meaning that you could potentially be upsetting thousands of people with just one comment or post. If in doubt, don’t post it.

Cross the line between business and personal accounts

Keeping your personal and company profiles separate will allow you to be consistent with the types of content that you post. It also means you can focus on being professional on your business profile so your customers will know what to expect.

Post too much content

Posting too often is a quick way to lose followers on social media. It will annoy followers if all they see is your content on their news feed and quickly lead to them finding a competitor to visit instead.

React poorly to negative comments

An essential part of social media etiquette for business is to know how to respond to negativity online. Deleting or ignoring comments from customers will make your company look like they are untrustworthy.

Don’t provide a generic response or get defensive either as people will question your commitment to customer service. Keep in mind that it won’t be just the person who wrote the comment that will see your reply, but everyone that follows your page.

Post inappropriate photos

While photos can boost engagement on social media, they can also be extremely dangerous to your business’ reputation if misused. There are also several legal issues that you need to be aware of when posting pictures online.

Choose photos carefully and make sure they can’t be misinterpreted in any way or cause offence.

Include inaccurate or irrelevant information in your content

Credibility takes a long time to build up on social media, but it can be quickly destroyed by posting incorrect or irrelevant information. Facts should all be checked to ensure that they come from a credible source. Your aim should be to establish your business as industry experts and followers will be sure to point out anything incorrect for everyone to see.

Self-promote all of the time

Don’t talk about your products and services consistently on social media. A hard-selling approach doesn’t work online, and your business should avoid doing it. Building relationships through posting interactive, engaging and informative content is a much more effective way to gain loyal followers and establish trust.

8. Be too casual/use slang

It’s important to remain professional at all times on social media, and this includes your choice of words. Using informal language or slang can also annoy people, which won’t help grow your online customer base. Avoiding slang should form part of your social media etiquette checklist.

Partner with a professional social media agency

It is vital to follow the correct etiquette on social media to maintain your brand’s reputation and retain customers. We understand that not every business has the time or expertise required to manage their social media presence.

Simply Media has a team of social media experts who can post professionally written content to your social platforms on your behalf. Contact us today.