Social Media Etiquette: How To Present Yourself Online
In any social situation, there are etiquette rules that you learn and practice. How to act at home around your loved ones will vary from how you interact with your colleges, or at a formal event. Although social media does not provide face-to-face interactions, there are certain social media etiquette guidelines you should follow if you want to build a positive relationship with your audience.
What Is Social Media Etiquette?
Social media etiquette are guidelines that companies and individual users follow to promote a good reputation and a fun online experience. These are mostly unspoken rules to help you navigate how to present yourself, how to respond to your audience, and how to engage.
Social media etiquette is important because it helps you maintain your reputation in a very public space. Bad social media etiquette can fall result in terrible backlash from your audience.
Social Media Etiquette Blunders:
One of the biggest social etiquette mistakes companies make is overusing hashtags. Hashtags are an effective way to expand your post to a wider audience, but overloading them makes your posts look messy and annoying. They can also take away from the message you are trying to put out. Choose a few hashtags that you think actually pertain to your post, and use those!
Generating fake engagement is another easy trap to get caught up in if you are new to social media. You will more than likely see ads or get DM’s promising you a certain number of followers, or increased engagement if you use these cleverly disguised spam bots. Creating fake engagement can make you feel like you are more successful on social media, but in reality, it is hurting you and driving away your audience. Social media algorithms are smart, and should you choose to use these bots you could risk getting your content or account banned.
Bad-mouthing your competitors is a big taboo in social media etiquette. You want to promote your own products, and you can point out features that set you apart, but flat-out bashing competitors is a bad look on your company. Your audience expects you to be authentic and positive, so spending excess energy trying to tear someone down, instead of building yourself up, will drive your customers away.
If you see negative comments about your brand, do not rush to defend yourself. Take a deep breath, read why the customer was upset, and calmly offer solutions to resolve their issue. Do not put off responding to negative comments for an extended period of time, but do give yourself a moment to craft a thoughtful response. You want your customers to be happy, and lashing out at them is only going to escalate the issue at hand.
Be cautious when posting on certain platforms that you are on your business account, and not a personal account. Some social media platforms, such as Instagram and Facebook, make it very easy to switch back and forth between your business and personal accounts if you are an admin. Take a moment to ensure that you are posting to the correct account- as fun as you think your vacation pictures are, your followers are there to see your company’s products and updates!
The more time you spend running your social media accounts, the more social media etiquette will come naturally to you. Much of it comes down to being respectful and double-checking before you post or respond to customers. If you do break social media etiquette by accident, own up to your mistake and craft a genuine apology. Nobody is perfect, so own up to your mistakes and learn from them!