It’s hard to avoid social media these days, but if you’re late to the party you could find it hard to get up to speed, what with hashtags, likes, retweets and followers. As with every form of communication, social media comes with a few rules of engagement you should follow, especially if you are using social media for your business. Usually, you’d pick these up over time, but what if you want to represent your business in a professional manner right away?
To keep you on the straight and narrow from your very first post, I’ve outlined 5 lessons to social media etiquette…
Lesson one: #Don’t #Hashtag #Every #Word.
If you’re really, really new to social media, you might not know what a hashtag is at this point. To put it simply, hashtags are a way to track keywords or topics. Sometimes, you’ll come across people who hashtag every single word and I can only imagine it’s because they don’t know what a hashtag actually is. You’ll see from time to time people hashtagging words like #Is or #And or worse yet, hashtagging every word in sentence making it near impossible to read. So, put the feelers out to find what sorts of words or phrases are relevant to your business, and use them as and when they’re relevant.
Lesson two: Share credit.
The more you use social media, the more you’ll start looking for relevant content to share on your profiles, unless you’re sitting on a gold mine of original content. If you are sharing content that someone else has written, don’t take credit for it. Make sure you acknowledge the author by mentioning them in your posts. If you can tag their Twitter handle or username, even better. Whether it’s an article, blog post, infographic or some research findings, always reference where you found it.
Lesson three: Keep your boring statuses to yourself.
If you use social media in a personal capacity, I’m sure you’ve seen a few statuses that you couldn’t care less about. You know, check-ins at the gym five times a week or a picture of every single meal a friend has eaten. Just as you try to keep your personal profiles interesting, you should do the same for your business profiles. Keep your updates relevant to your business, industry or to the interests of your customers. Oh, and have a think about what works on what platform. What works on Facebook might not necessarily go down well on LinkedIn.
Lesson four: Be social.
Forget about social media for a second and think about a normal day in your business. Who do you talk to on a daily basis? Clients? Customers? Suppliers? The clue is in the name when it comes to social media… You’ve got a chance to actually be social and build relationships on these platforms. Whether you want to engage with existing clients or customers or find new ones, social media gives you a platform to start a conversation. It can be easy to get caught up in your own content, sharing what you find interesting and not really listening to others. Take the time to follow relevant accounts or like relevant pages and browse your news feeds and timelines for content you like. If you’ve seen something you like share it, or drop the author a message and get the conversation going. You’ll be surprised what can come off the back of a social media conversation, provided you were involved of course.
Lesson five: Don’t bad mouth anyone.
Again, this is probably something you’ve experience in a personal capacity. You may have had bad customer service and took to Twitter to complain or shared a little too much information about your personal life and lived to regret it. If you’re having problems with a customer or a supplier, it’s best not to air your dirty laundry online. Once you hit that send button, you’re words are out there in the socialsphere for all to see. Keep it professional and deal with any issues offline… Unless of course someone has made a complaint about your business over social media. In that case you should have a process in place to respond.
So there you have it, five lessons to keep your social media Ps and Qs in check.