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Social Media Style and Etiquette: How to Figure Out the Rules of Social Media So Your Business Thrives
NMC Account Executive Anna McDermott helped us put together this Social Media Style and Etiquette Guide for Business. We recommend you adapt these guidelines for your own organization so you can be politically and socially correct!
Social media for business is a different thing than for your personal life – the audience for your business profiles doesn’t want the same kind of information as your friends and family do, so it is important to change gears when using social media platforms for business.
Here are some helpful tips:
- Since you’re limited to 140 characters, brevity is key. You need to convey your message as concisely and clearly as possible. This means that grammar doesn’t need to be perfect. It’s completely acceptable to use acronyms and Web jargon like b/c or cuz for because, ur for your, thx for thanks, etc. But only use these abbreviations if you don’t have the space to write out the full words – otherwise it’s just lazy.
- Don’t always sell, sell, sell. You want to promote your business, but constant tweets about it (and nothing else) are the Twitter equivalent of only ever talking about yourself. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. What would you like to read about? Your tweets should be interesting, helpful, and something your customer will appreciate. If you only tweet company news or product info, you won’t gain many followers.
- Tweet links to articles of interest or pictures of your product being used in a funny or unique way.
- Use the @message option to join in conversations people are having about your industry.
- Tweet content unique to Twitter. Twitter is Twitter and Facebook is Facebook and the content should reflect this.
- With Twitter, you can ignore negative comments. If there is a negative tweet @you, instead of getting into a public tweet fight, you can take the high road and simply not respond.
- It’s okay to tweet the same info multiple times so you reach a broader audience and different time zones, but make sure there is diversity of tweets mixed in.
- If you have a business, you should have a Facebook page, not a profile; profiles are for actual people.
- Don’t ignore negative comments on your Wall. Respond publically, even if it’s to post that you are concerned and will email the commenter directly to get in touch.
- Don’t over share. While your friends may tolerate this behavior as part of your personality, do not tell the world about every little victory or annoyance your business faces.
- Be clear in your communication. Don’t write intentionally cryptic posts, hoping for questions and comments.
- Businesses shouldn’t whine – so don’t complain on Facebook.
- Fill out your online profile completely with information about your business. Some people will check to see if you’re open on Mondays by checking Facebook. Have your correct street address so people can “check in” with Facebook as well.
- Regular posts help encourage engagement. Come up with a posting schedule if you find drafting regular posts to be daunting.
- Don’t send out requests for app shares like games and birthday calendars. This is business, after all.
General Rules of Conduct for Social Media
- A good rule of thumb is to promote others more than yourself. That’s the social part of social media.
- Be nice: Never get into a yelling match on any social media platform with someone who disagrees with you or makes you angry. People are far ruder on social media platforms than in “real” life since they feel anonymous; but you’re not. You are a reflection of your brand. If someone voices their displeasure with your company, be understanding and show them you care about their bad experience.
- When angered by a post or comment, sleep on it. Don’t immediately respond.
- Never post when you’re extremely tired, jet lagged, upset, angry or have been drinking.
- Credit your sources: go ahead and quote away but say who said it first.
- Avoid constant self-promotion: Yes, you want to use social media to grow your business but no one wants to only read about how awesome you are – whether you are a real person or business. Offer information of value!
- Use auto posts sparingly, if at all. People can spot this and it makes you look a bit lazy.
Here is a PDF you can download and share with others. Please be sure to keep it on the NMC letterhead or credit NMC if you use it somewhere.
Feel free to share your thoughts with us. Does your company or organization use these rules? Have you ever been deterred from engaging with a Facebook page or Twitter account because the company didn’t practice the best social media etiquette?