Your company’s online reputation plays a huge role in how your brand is perceived by customers, your competitors, and potential clients.
Many companies have included social media marketing in their marketing arsenal because of its potential to generate leads, sustain customer relationships, and increase sales.
To function optimally on social media, brands must keep in mind their goals, as well as the rules that are in place for engaging on social media platforms.
These rules may be referred to as social media etiquette – a set of guidelines that companies or individuals should practice while on social media.
Don’t underestimate the importance of social media etiquette. Having good social media manners can help businesses to preserve their brand reputation, and build community and support.
In this article, we’re sharing 10 social media etiquette rules your brand should be following to help you make the most of your social media and avoid blunders.
Social Media Etiquette Rules for Brands
1. Pay attention to social media conversations and what’s trending
Use social listening tools to help your company stay abreast of the conversations that are happening around your brand and within your industry. Add your voice to the conversation in ways that support your brand’s goals and that bring value to customer experiences. Knowing your audience, the right words or phrases to use, and the best times to post are equally important. Use the right image sizes to enhance your messaging on each platform. Also, when engaging in conversations on social media, ‘read the room’ before commenting. Look at how others are responding to trends, and examine each trend, as some may not be applicable to your brand’s overarching goals.
2. Don’t over sell
Selling is important and social media is a great place to target new customers. Take a balanced approach. Highlight your products, but do not message customers and ask them to make purchases. Minimise the use of advertisements on your platforms. Ensure that you are offering content from other sources that customers will find valuable or useful. This may be in the form of curated content from trusted sources, or relatable information that they can use.
3. Be responsive
According to Sprout Social, “40% of consumers expect brands to respond within the first hour of reaching out on social media, while 79% expect a response in the first 24 hours.” If complaints or negative feedback are not addressed in a timely manner, this could provoke a negative reaction from the affected customer. It is important that your company designates someone to respond to messages, comments and queries in a timely and professional manner.
4. Use social media automation wisely
Social media automation is helpful with post consistency, monitoring and reporting. However, a human touch is required at times, especially with customer queries, or complaints. If customers realise that the responses are automated or offer no real insight, it could lead to them reacting negatively to your brand.
5. Avoid social media arguments
A viral post can build or destroy a brand’s reputation. One of the golden social media etiquette rules to follow is never engage in negative banter with customers or competitors in posts, comments, or messages. Social media trolls can easily act as instigators in the comments section and create a negative impression of your brand when engaged, even in a non-combative way. It also very easy to take screenshots of private messages, so always be mindful of your tone, words, the type of posts that you share in heated situations.
6. Don’t overdo the hashtags
Hashtags are useful in helping users to quickly find what they need, including your brand. You can also use them to expand your audience and to stay on the pulse of what’s trending within your industry. Each platform is unique and some features, like hashtags require an understanding of how they should be effectively used. Twitter’s word limit means that you must be deliberate with your hashtags and make them relevant to your brand or the campaign that you are sharing. A lot of Facebook users have private accounts, so hashtags may not be as effective. Instagram allows you to use up to 30 hashtags on a regular post and 10 on a story. Pay attention to the community guidelines for each platform.
7. Be strategic with who you follow
Following others on social media helps with engagement and community building. Follow individuals and companies that you believe will add value to your brand and customer experience. Look for people who are excited about your products or services, who may become brand advocates as well.
8. Remember to give credit
Many individuals and companies have invested in creating quality content, as such, if you are reposting, always give credit to the owner of user generated content. Some content creators may prefer if permission is asked prior to reposting their work, so ask first. When sharing, include their correct handle in the post and make it clear that it is not your work. By following these tips, it shows that you respect the content creator and it also fosters community building. Most importantly, this will reduce the possibility of your brand being accused of plagiarism or being sued for copyright infringement.
9. Be consistent with your posts but don’t overdo it
Set a schedule for when you post and the frequency.. Your audience will become accustomed to your post patterns and even check your page if they’ve missed a post. However, if you decide to increase the frequency and volume of your posts, be mindful not to overdo it. Too many posts may appear spam-like and could make some people hit the unfollow button. If it’s a campaign that requires sharing a lot of content, try using other features such as stories, chats, groups or IGTV or fleets in addition to regular posts.
10. Make your brand relatable
What is your brand’s personality? How are you interacting with your audience? Do they trust your brand? The tone of your social media posts will give your audience an idea of your brand’s personality. Your tone may change based on the platform, audience being targeted and the objective that you are pursuing. However, the overall tone of your brand should be consistent and engaging. If your brand comes across as ‘stiff’ or unrelatable based on your interactions with your audience and tone, you could lose followers. Customers are more likely to buy from and remain loyal to people (brands) that they trust, so let your brand’s personality shine through!
We hope you’ve found this run down of social media do’s and don’ts helpful. Experiment with your brand’s social media, find what works for you, and have fun with it!
Carolyn Lee is a Content Feature Writer at Yello Media Group. Her love affair with stories and writing started as a child and blossomed into a career that has taken her to the UAE, Trinidad and Tobago and the US in a variety of roles. A life-long learner, she also dabbles in social media management, website content development and other forms of content creation.