Stealing someone’s lunch out of your work fridge or using someone’s coffee mug might be considered bad workplace etiquette, but have you ever considered social media etiquette for businesses? Just like every situation has an unspoken rule book, like keeping your elbows off the table at dinner time, so does social media marketing. On this page, we’ll answer the question of “what is social media etiquette?”, as well as talk about the do’s and don’ts of social media for business.
Read on to learn more! And don’t forget, if your social media campaign is in a lull, WebFX can help! We offer a variety of custom social media marketing strategies made for every company.
What is social media etiquette?
Social media etiquette refers to specific, correct, and professional ways to use social media platforms and interact with users on social media accounts. Social media etiquette for businesses is extremely important since your social interactions are a direct reflection of your business.
Why it’s important: Social media etiquette 2020
Why is it important to prioritize your 2020 social media etiquette? These numbers break it down:
- Currently, 96 billion people actively use social media (that’s more than half the world)
- 43% of people are spending more time on social media in 2020 than ever before
- 90% of Instagram users follow a business account
- 66% of Facebook users follow a brand on the platform
- 63 million LinkedIn users are decision-makers at their business
Upon first glance, these stats might look like just that — stats. But each proves the importance of social media etiquette in their own way. For example, if more than half of the world uses social media, and more than 40% of users spend more time on social media than ever before, it’s accurate to say that your business will be in front of billions of people — and counting.
Not only that, but sometimes, interaction with your brand on a social platform is the first interaction a user will have with your business, so your social media etiquette matters. Moving on to our platform-specific statistics, with nearly 100% of all Instagram users following a business account, it’s safe to say that your company’s social media etiquette on Instagram is paramount. Following close behind, 66% of Facebook users follow a brand.
That said, it’s no secret that users like to keep up with their favorite businesses on social media, so it’s easy to understand why your etiquette matters. Last but not least, a whopping 63 million LinkedIn users are decision-makers at their place of work. Bad social media etiquette can turn off decision-makers in the conversion process, so monitor your behavior!
14 social media etiquette do’s and don’ts
So, what social media protocol should you follow? Below, we’ve listed 14 social media etiquette do’s and don’ts to guide your campaign. This list is applicable to any social media platform.
1. DO separate your business account and your personal account
Did you just open a small business? Are you posting on behalf of your mid-sized company? Whatever the circumstance, you should always separate your personal and business accounts.
This separation ensures that:
- Personal posts are kept off your business account
- Users to get to know your business as a business, not as a single person
- You build brand awareness
- You can properly track analytics and engagement
- You don’t confuse followers
Not to mention, personal accounts and business accounts call for completely different setups on some platforms, like Facebook.
2. DO think before you share
You should ask yourself these questions before posting something to your business account:
- Does this content provide value to my target customer?
- Does this content inform my target customer?
- Does this content entice users to visit my website?
- Does this content encourage users to learn more about my business?
- Does this content encourage users to purchase one of my products?
If the content you’re planning to share doesn’t fit one of these agendas, think twice before posting.
3. DO post consistently
If you want to increase brand awareness, become trusted among users, and become an industry leader, you should consider posting consistently as a part of your social media etiquette. Posting consistently shows users that you care about your audience, and even helps create expectations and builds anticipation for your posts.
4. DO opt for correct grammar and spelling
If your brand is laid back and wants to promote a carefree vibe, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you should omit grammar and spelling rules. Misspellings and poor grammar can make your followers think that:
- You don’t have time to proofread
- You’re hasty with your posts
- You don’t care enough to check for grammar and misspellings
No matter how you slice it, bad spelling and grammar can reflect badly on your company.
5. DO focus on informing, not selling
One of the golden nuggets of social media etiquette for businesses is to focus more on informing your audience instead of selling to them. Think about your favorite brand. When you first interacted with them, you may have been leery of the quality of their products or their legitimacy, among other things.
The first step in selling a product or service is to build trust among your target audience — and you can only earn this trust by consistently showing that you care more about your audience than selling products. You can do so by:
- Sharing helpful, informative information for free
- Explaining how your product fulfills a need
- Sharing inside information about your company to encourage your audience to connect with you on a human level
- Speaking to your audience like you would talk to a friend
Check out the way Simms Fishing uses its Twitter account to teach users about the protection and restoration of the Florida Everglades. The relationship you build with your audience on social directly reflects the likelihood of them purchasing from you.
6. DO address nasty comments
It might be easy to turn away from negative comments that you receive but addressing them immediately will benefit you in the long run. This kind of transparency shows other followers that you own up to your mistakes and care enough about your customers to address issues directly. Keep in mind that the “customer is always right,” and do what you can to address their issue.
It’s also recommended, if the customer is posting untrue statements, to encourage the customer to message you directly to clear up the issue. Check out the way Buffalo wild Wings handled this customer complaint on Facebook!
7. DO chat with your followers
The purpose of social media is to connect with your followers and foster meaningful relationships with them. That said, social media etiquette tip number seven is to interact with your followers regularly. If users comment on your posts, be sure to react to their response, or provide a customized reply.
These interactions will show followers that you love hearing from your audience and will encourage other followers to engage with your posts as well. Bath and Body Works takes customer interaction to the next level by chatting with fans in their Facebook comments. You don’t have to wait for a complaint to converse with your followers!
8. DO set a brand tone
If you plan to have more than one person handling your social media marketing, verify that everyone involved understands your brand’s tone and voice. Likely, it’s best to have a single person posting to all social accounts to ensure that your voice is consistent.
9. DON’T post your personal feelings on your business account
Your social media business accounts should post about your business, your products, and your services — not your personal feelings. Much like separating your personal and business accounts, refraining from posting personal feelings can help users focus on your business instead of personal opinions.
10. DON’T share the same content over and over
Users follow you because they enjoy what you have to offer on social media, but chances are, if you share the same idea or the same link multiple times, they’ll grow bored with your brand. For example, if you just created a new blog post that you’re trying to earn traffic to, posting it repeatedly will only deter your followers, not encourage them.
11. DON’T overuse capital letters
Your grandma might think that it’s endearing to use all caps on social media, but when it comes to social media etiquette for businesses, leave the caps at home. Type in sentence case and avoid typing in all caps if you want your followers to take you seriously.
12. DON’T ask followers for anything
Is there anything more annoying than a social account that is always begging for a retweet or a shoutout? No! Users will become more annoyed with you than enamored if you are always asking something of them.
Here are some things that you should avoid:
- Asking for retweets
- Asking for shares
- Asking for likes
There are two key strategies you can get all the above without asking:
- Post shareable content, like blog posts
- Post valuable content that is worth sharing
13. DON’T post all day, every day
Of course, you want to provide users with ample opportunities to engage with and learn about your business on social media but be aware of how many times a day you post on each platform. You should create a social media content calendar to keep track of when and what you post. Creating a calendar can help you develop a vision of how often you post and can encourage you to cut back if you have too many posts scheduled for a single day.
14. DON’T put other businesses down
One of the best pieces of social media etiquette advice is to refrain from bashing other businesses. It’s no secret that the point of social media marketing is to increase leads and sales for your business, but bashing other companies on social will make your campaign lose traction in a hurry. You don’t have to promote your competition but refrain from bashing them.
Stay in your own lane on social media, and never talk negatively about other businesses.
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Social media etiquette is important and WebFX can help
Do you feel like you check more boxes on the “social media etiquette don’ts” list than the “social media etiquette do’s” list? If so, WebFX can help. We’ve published more than 165,000 client social media posts, and we know how to create custom social media campaigns for companies like you.