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A Guide to Social Media Etiquette

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Good manners cost nothing and that applies to the online world too…

Social media plays an incredibly important part in your business brand’s identity. Networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+ have a large community outreach, and failure to understand the correct etiquette for these social media platforms can be catastrophic to the success of your brand and more than a little embarrassing.

Don’t let sloppy posts and tweets damage your company’s image. Follow these rules and guidelines so you can work out how to connect and interact with your users in the best possible ways.

1. Facebook

 One post per day

One post a day ensures the post has as high a search as possible. Anymore and posts can get diminished. Posts need to be given time to naturally filter off the News Feed before another one is posted day ensures the post has as high a reach as possible.

Post when most users are online

In order to reach the most people, posts need to go out when the highest number of users are online. Use Facebook insights to determine where users are located and schedule posts to gain more interaction from fans.

Respond to comments

Always respond to comments in a polite way even if the comments are negative. Do not delay responses any longer than 24 hours. The Facebook account, or any social media account for that matter, shouldn’t be the sole responsibility of just one person. Everyone in the company from the CEO to the intern should read the comments and respond if they think they have an answer to a commenter’s question or suggestion.

 Ask questions

Posts don’t always have to be about updates on the business. Engage users by posting questions. They’ll be more encouraged to leave comments.

Be visual

Posting photo albums, images and videos increases a Facebook page’s EdgeRank, the algorithm used by Facebook to determine where and what posts appear on an individual user’s News Feed (short explanation here). The higher the edgerank, the better the outreach.

2. Twitter

Tweet four or five times a day

Spread the tweets throughout the day to show your Twitter presence. Don’t post every hour. Arrange a 15 minute twitter time in the morning, before lunch, after lunch and an hour at the end of the day.

Respond to requests ASAP

Questions and requests should be responded to as soon as possible on Twitter. A quick response to a Twitter post and you achieve two things: you can publicly fix a problem or at least show tweeters you’re on the case; show people that you’re real and attentive to their needs.

Engage with Tweeters

Don’t limit your tweets to just those who follow you. Try to reach a wider audience in the Twittersphere.

Sharing other Tweeters’ content

Give credit where credit is due to fellow tweeter for their work and original content. If you see a tweet that’s interesting, funny and/or funny that could be useful for your Twitter brand followers always RT or quote the relevant source.

Schedule for the weekend

Plan some tweets in advance and schedule them to be posted at the weekend. Keep your Twitter page active. You can use tools such as Tweetdeck or Buffer

3.    Google+

Embrace the +1 button

The +1 button on Google+ is the equivalent to the ‘like’ button on Facebook. Be selective with your +1s rather than throwing them around liberally. Really think to yourself if you think a post from other Google+ accounts deserve a +1 from you.

Compose a Google+ comment that counts

Keep updates short to promote your brand. Adopt a cheerful tone and always triple check your spelling before posting anything. Some people just want to join the comments section and post things like ‘LOL’, ‘cool’ and ‘awesome’. These kind of comments are ok occasionally but doesn’t really say anything about what exactly you liked or didn’t like. Why not add why a post means so much to you, or even better add your opinion.

Keep your comments classy

Adopt a polite tone with your comments. Don’t be disrespectful. A good way to think of posts and comments is a dinner party. The host (someone who’s uploaded a post) have gathered others (commenters) into their homes and invited them to share a meal (the post). Don’t get blindingly drunk and trash the table setting or throw up on the carpet. Be civil at all times. 

Share and share alike

You can share posts on Google+ so do so if you particularly like a post or found it useful in some way. Make sure you +mention (type “+” followed by the commenter’s name). This is the equivalent to “@” on Twitter. If you don’t +Mention it’s very unlikely that the person you mentioned or replied to will know about your action. Also, if others share your posts don’t forget to thank them.

Be visual and informative

Add pictures and any other media. Images, videos and infographics attract the users eye and encourage them to stay on page and even +1 posts. Promote blog posts, announcements and any updates or changes. It shows how helpful and interactive you are with your brand.

4.    Pinterest

Credit your sources

Pins are most useful when there’s a credit to the original source. It’s more useful for users and shows respect for the original person who pinned the image.

Check all the Pinterest pages every day

Keep a look out for new comments and questions and always respond to users. 

Pin something twice a week

Always pin something that’s related to your business. You don’t have to be too literal. So if your business sells concrete you don’t have to post images of grey concrete floors or buildings. Think creatively and search for images of art sculptures, light fixtures, plant pots, furniture, all made from concrete. Your business may not make cement sheep for the garden but there is the concrete connection.

N.B. Type in ‘concrete’ in Pinterest and you’ll find images of cement sheep statues for the garden. I’m not kidding.

Pin something non-business-related every day

This must be something fun, exciting but at the same time fit in somehow with your brand.

Don’t become a crazy pinner

The point of Pinterest is to organise the photos into inspirational groups. If you pin 50 images every hour during the day, the images you really love and want to share will get drowned in images that are not so brilliant.

5.    LinkedIn 

Keep it professional

No personal photos of your pets, kids on sports day or thoughts and prayers for the day.

Stop using auto-generated templates

The templates are rather impersonal and a sign of laziness. They should never be used in terms of business networking. It only takes seconds to include a custom note to a contact. 

Be accurate with your work info

You absolutely want to present your best self in your LinkedIn profile, but remain truthful. Avoid a potentially embarrassing situation by bending the truth about any job roles you’ve had.

Endorse people you know

Don’t endorse people you don’t know or have never met. It doesn’t make sense to recommend someone on their digital marketing skills when you’ve never witnessed them using that skill. It works both ways. Never ask someone you don’t know to endorse you. It’s an amateur move that can only hinder your LinkedIn profile and experience.

Have a professional profile picture

Think carefully about the image you want to project on LinkedIn. A simple headshot of you smiling projects a good image. Any random party pictures of you will only make you look incompetent.

Conclusion

For all social media platforms always remember you’re posting as a representative of your business brand, not yourself. Every post you make is visible to everyone and will be scrutinised by the users.

Think before you post. Be mindful of what you post. Any generic comments may seem harmless but you never know, you may offend one of your users. Know you’re community – who they are, what they do and what’s important to them.

Always remember that your community members are your lifeblood. Lose them and you lose everything.