When social media channels first burst onto the scene, they were a place to post about your favourite songs, rate your friends’ profile pictures and beg for a follow back (Myspace, we’re looking at you).
In 2021, however, social media is not just a place for personal connections, it offers platforms for businesses to create online communities and marketing like never before. Social media marketing is a key tool for business success. While we always recommend that every company needs social media channels, it’s not as simple as just creating an account and posting whatever you want.
Your social media channels are an extension of your brand and, as such, you need to think carefully about how you present your company on social media platforms. Most companies will have guidelines that they follow when managing their social media engagement in order to ensure they are creating and sticking to the right social media etiquette for their brand.
Why Social Media Etiquette is Important
The best way to manage your social media engagement naturally differs depending on both the platform you’re using and the guidelines and goals of your business. Understanding the importance of social media etiquette, however, is universal. No matter who you are or what you’re posting, you need to ensure that your social media represents exactly what you want your audience to consume.
Once you’ve mastered more unique elements such as your tone of voice, target audience and goals of your social media channels, there are some basic social media etiquette guidelines for you to follow, such as:
- Don’t appear spammy – Don’t be tempted to post too much or attempt to schedule so many posts at once that your audience is bombarded. Similarly, be mindful of appearing too promotional. If the main aim of your social media marketing is to make sales, it is still important to post with other objectives in mind in order to stop your audience feeling pressured.
- Don’t badmouth your competitors – Don’t be tempted to start slating your competitors online, regardless of what you actually feel about them. Badmouthing your competition is likely to end up doing more harm to your reputation than theirs.
- Don’t take your audience for fools – It’s important to remember that your audience is made up of real people. Don’t take their knowledge for granted. It’s important to be authentic and genuine on social media and to not lie, exaggerate or over-promise on what you can offer.
So, why is social media etiquette so important when it comes to your social media strategy?
- Helps to empower your team – If you have a team of people running your social media marketing, ensuring they understand the correct social media etiquette allows them to do their job with confidence. If they are unsure of how they should be representing the brand online this is where mistakes will be made.
- Helps to create a community – By creating a brand voice on social media, people will be able to relate to and recognise your brand. This will help to build up a community of like minded followers who will engage with your content and convert into customers.
- Helps to avoid legal issues – The last thing you want is for something you post on social media to get you in hot water with lawyers. By making sure you’ve created a strong social media etiquette policy you can avoid posting or sharing anything that may be detrimental to your brand.
Social Media Etiquette: Twitter
Twitter has a character limit of 280 characters, meaning you’ve got no choice but to keep things relatively short and sweet. Remember, you can always link to your website or other resources to provide more information.
When posting on Twitter try to create a mixture of posts about you and your brand and ones that whilst still relevant, are not a direct sales showcase. Twitter is a great platform to share other accounts’ content – but make sure to remember to credit the original source.
Your Twitter posts can be more conversational and friendly, depending on the tone of voice you’ve already determined. Ensure you respond to tweets and DMs as quickly as possible and always ensure you are coming across as helpful and professional, no matter what tone your audience takes with you.
Social Media Etiquette: Instagram
Instagram is a great platform to present your brand to people in a visually appealing way. Where possible, try to create your own images to post and if you do use stock images or other people’s photos then remember to credit the original owner in your captions.
You can engage with other accounts on Instagram easily, liking and commenting on their photos. You don’t need to like every single post that appears in your feed – in fact, this may appear spammy to both users and Instagram themselves.
Keep an eye on your tagged photos to see when people have tagged your brand in their images. If appropriate you can share these to either your story or your feed. You can also pin specific comments to the top of your posts. This will help to ensure the comments that other users see on your posts are positive and portray the message that you are aiming for.
Social Media Etiquette: LinkedIn
LinkedIn is the most professional of all the social media platforms, and is the place to make industry connections who can help to further the aims of your business. With this in mind, most brands will choose to take a more professional approach and tone on LinkedIn than they might on other platforms.
If you decide to request people to either connect with you or to follow your business page then it is important that the request comes across as natural. Make sure to include a note with your request explaining why you would like to connect or why you think this person would find your page interesting and beneficial.
Like and comment on posts from members of your team, partners and clients. This will help you to form lasting relationships with other users which you can then benefit from in real life.
How we can help you at Social Chameleon
At Social Chameleon, our expert team know everything there is to know about social media marketing and making social media work for businesses of all shapes and sizes. Whether you’re looking to hand over the reins of your social media channels or simply need support for your team to get started, we can help.