Social Media Etiquette for Small Businesses

We currently live in a world where social media has become ubiquitous in our daily lives. From the tweets of Donald Trump to the senseless Facebook postings of teenagers, social media can be either a blessing or a curse. What you post on social media will stay with you forever.

The most significant thing to keep in mind when it comes to social media etiquette comes in the form of a quote by Warren Buffett “it takes 20-years to build a reputation and only 5-minutes to destroy it.” Keep this in mind when you’re about to post to social media.

When conversing with people face-to-face we expect there to be a basic level of etiquette. Imagine being introduced to someone through a mutual friend and that person instantly starts gossiping and ranting about something they saw on the morning news. Would you want to continue that conversation or find a way to excuse yourself politely?

If I was in this situation, which I have been in before. I will politely find a way to excuse myself. The following are 5 essential tips for proper social media etiquette.

Aside from the obvious aspects of social media, maintaining an updated profile and separating personal accounts from business accounts, we’re confident these tips will help put you on the path towards social media stardom.

1. Social media is an extension of who you are.
Have you ever noticed the way people act in real life is almost identical to the way they act on social media? Social media is an extension of who you are and what you represent. Something strange happens to our brains when we are on social networks. Our logical thinking gets bypassed, and we begin operating from a subconscious, emotional, and somewhat primitive mindset. If you are embarrassed by some of the things you do in real life, be careful because you will more than likely do these things on social media networks.

2. Interact with your audience.
Nothing is more frustrating and rude than speaking with someone and being ignored. Social media is the same way. According to econsultancy.com, 53% of customers asking a question of a brand on Twitter expect a response within an hour. 72% of people lodging a complaint expect a response within an hour. Don’t make the mistake of giving people the cold shoulder on social media, respond appropriately to everything. If you don’t have the time to do so, hire someone to do it for you.

3. Avoid Spamming
We all remember having a regular phone line in our homes during the 80s and early 90s and getting those spammy sales calls around dinner time. It’s annoying and a great way of turning people off. We’ve also received unwanted emails and social media messages. People can spot spam from a mile away. When conducting yourself on social networks be of value to people by offering advice and information they can use, versus attempting to get someone to try a product or service. When done correctly, people will buy from you when they are ready.

4. Don’t be greedy or needy.
We are not little children that need attention 24/7. We’re all adults with busy lives. You can avoid the trap of appearing to be needy and greedy on social media when you provide value and listen to your followers. You should avoid chasing people around and asking for shares and likes. It seems simple enough, but it still happens. If you post something of value and your followers see it as valuable, they will share it.

5. Avoid politics, religion, and sex topics.
We have been told that when at a bar, restaurant, or with friends in social settings to avoid the topics of sex, politics, and religion. It’s sage advice because these topics tend to turn into passionate colorful discussions that may not have a favorable outcome. If someone posts something on your social media account related to any of these topics, politely ask them to remove it and if they don’t remove it yourself. The last thing you want your restaurant or furniture store to be associated with is sex, politics, or religion.

 

Social media can be seen as a double-edged sword. It’s a communication channel allowing you to reach more people outside of your physical geographical area. How you choose to use it is entirely up to you. For better or worse, social media networks are here to stay, and more are coming online every day. By using common sense and treating people how we would like to be treated go a long way, especially on social media.