Navigating through the ever-changing social media landscape can be daunting for business owners if you manage your own business social channels. With weekly app updates, retweets and new filters, it can be quite intimidating to hit that “post” or “send” button. There’s no denying that word travels fast, especially online – and it’s especially important to realize that the days of “bad publicity is good publicity” are long gone. Companies and businesses owners can be greatly impacted by what they post and when they post it.
Social media is a powerful business tool that should be leveraged to create an extension of your online business store. To make things a little easier, we’ve gathered some social media etiquette tips to keep in mind as you grow your social media presence.
- Plan a week of posts in advance. Facebook allows you to plan your posts in advance. We recommend you do this no more than five to seven days in advance. Any longer and your posts may not be timely. However, you should be logging in as often as possible to ensure posts are still appropriate (and check for comments or messages). Be sure to include a mix of feel-good posts and industry news along with your product highlights. No one wants to be constantly sold to. Keep that in mind as you plan your posts.
It’s important to respond to each customer request with a polite response. You want them to feel heard.
- Respond to every one of your clients’ messages and comments. Customers will often reach out via social media to correct an order, express a sentiment or simply to connect. It’s important to respond to each customer request with a polite response. You want them to feel heard. It’s best to address grievances directly and publicly. An engaged business owner could avoid a future negative review and may ensure the retention of another loyal customer.
Ask before reposting. Most Instagram users would like to have their work recognized by brands. However, they are still the owners of their images and it is best practice to ask them for permission first by commenting below their image or sending them a DM (Direct Message) for permission to repost. A good way to encourage Instagram engagement is to reward the user who has used your products in their images or tagged your store location with a coupon code or a small amount gift card. However, this is not required! Many users will gladly let you share their image.
Always, always give credit. Tag the user whose image you are using by either tagging the image itself or including them in the description. Even if you’ve received permission by the user to utilize their image, they still want to be credited with a tag on their photo.
- Click the hashtag before you decide to participate. Twitter has a plethora of trending hashtags that seem to change by the hour. Before you decide to jump on a certain hashtag bandwagon, be sure to click on it and read what others are tweeting first. It may contain subject matter that you did not initially expect.
Scheduled quotes or images could be interpreted as insensitive or inappropriate if certain events have transpired in the Twittersphere.
- Schedule cautiously. Twitter is very much a real-time social media channel. If you’re utilizing a software to schedule your tweets, they might not jive consistently with what’s trending on Twitter in that moment. Scheduled quotes or images could be interpreted as insensitive or inappropriate if certain events have transpired in the Twittersphere. If a major national or international event has occurred, be sure to log in to Twitter or the management system you use to post on Twitter to ensure your scheduled posts are appropriate.
Check your timing. When you utilize Snapchat to share a photo, you can choose to display it anywhere from one to 10 seconds. Set the number of seconds so there’s enough time for users to recognize what’s happening in the image; however, 10 seconds is usually too long for a single static image.
Focus on quality. If you’re sharing a video, be sure the visual is clear. Use a steady hand or a phone mount. If there’s sound, be sure it’s not muffled and that you can be heard without distractions in the background. It’s also good practice to shoot your videos in portrait mode, not landscape mode, as Snapchat users are accustomed to holding their phones in portrait mode while utilizing the app. If you switch between the two, your viewership could drop.
Get creative. If you’re in the process of growing your Snapchat following and you’re not sure what to post, try mixing in snaps of your behind-the-scene processes, new product launches or sneak peaks. Offer a coupon or discount code exclusive to Snapchat followers to encourage a following.
- Don’t pin spam. When pinning a new pin, ensure there’s no warning reported by Pinterest or click through it to make sure it redirects to a legitimate website. You want your audience to trust you so don’t pin anything that might lead them to an inappropriate website. Even though Pinterest does have a great capability of detecting spam, many sites still fall through the cracks.
Even though Pinterest does have a great capability of detecting spam, many sites still fall through the cracks.
- Pin a variety of pins. Only pinning your own products that direct to your own website will not appease your audience. Instead, mix it up with quality pins related to your industry – and don’t forget to personalize the descriptions.
To sum it up:
Before hitting that post button, go through this quick checklist:
- Does this content provide value to my users?
- Does this align with my business and audience?
- Did I question this content, even for a split second?
Remember that people use social media to spend their time, not necessarily waste it. Everything you share should offer some sort of value, even if it’s as simple as sharing a meme or a cute GIF for amusement. Have fun with your social media! However, as our moms would say, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Happy posting!
Have any questions about social media ettiquette? Feel free to ask them in the comments!