Social media has changed how people interact. The use of social media has pervaded all aspects of our lives whether personal, work or business related. The ideas shared, the opportunities available for business and the depth of knowledge has made social media the go-to place for everything.
Networking sites like Facebook and Instagram command such great audiences that companies are utilizing them to advertise their products, while sites like YouTube have opened up business avenues for entrepreneurs.
It is therefore important that as we utilize these platforms we embrace some basic etiquette that will make the social media space pleasant for the users.
Social Media Etiquette
Separate personal and business accounts
It is important to separate your personal and business account. Interest may be in the products you are selling, but not about the personal relationship problems that you have decided to post on social media.
For your business account, make sure all information that is relevant to your business is there including contact details, business location, hours of business when you respond to queries amongst other important information. Let your page be professional, avoid personal information like your hobbies, unless it ties into the business, marital/relationship status among others.
Pictures and videos posted should be relevant to the business. Keep the weekend outing pictures for your personal page.
Avoid the #hashtag curse
Have you ever tried to read a post and it is so full of hashtags that you honestly lose track of what the post is about. Hashtags should make it easy to search posts relevant to a topic. But some people fall into the curse of using it for every other word. It makes your work hard to read. Keep the use of hashtags to the minimum and relevant.
If you have nothing nice or positive to say, do not say it.
People on social media can be mean. Some people, better known as trolls have made it their life purpose to upset people by posting inflammatory and controversial messages online. The more popular sites; Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are rich breeding grounds of trolls. We have seen the ugly side of trolling, suicides are on the rise due to cyberbullying with the demographic getting younger and younger.
If trolls are attacking your business page, react quickly. Do not go head to head with the trolls, you will not win. Anticipate issues that might make trolls attack and prepare appropriate responses.
Do not unwittingly become a troll by engaging them. If you find an especially obnoxious person, you have the option of blocking or unfollowing them. After all, you can get every day more Instagram auto followers thereby making sure you do not lose your audience base.
Engage with your audience
Engaging with your audience is especially important for business pages. You will lose your audience very quickly if you ignore their questions or comments.
If someone follows you, return the favor and follow them as well. Share content that you feel your audience will enjoy. By carefully researching your audience you will be better placed to understand what might be of interest to them. The more you share the more visible you will be. Use Search Engine Optimization to ensure you always come up in searches, but more importantly, share value-driven content. Leave the drama to the trolls.
Avoid provocative content
Unless you are in the adult entertainment business, posting naked pictures or sexually explicit content might generate conversation on your page but it reduces your moral standing. It will not add any value to you or your business.
Political or religious commentaries are controversial topics that are also best avoided. Use social media for good. If your post adds no value or could harm your business, then avoid it completely.
Use appropriate humor. Not everyone may understand or appreciate your brand of humor especially when it touches on belief systems. You do not want to earn the ‘jerk’ label.
Be consistent with your posts.
Keep the audience engaged by being consistent with your posts. Generating content can be difficult, but if you plan well and schedule your posts, you will find it easier to handle the demand for content. No one will follow a dead page or someone who promises content and does not deliver. Research well, break down the posts into biteable chunks and you will not have a problem generating content.
Do not over tag people
If you are like me you don’t want tags to inundate your notifications. Like the hashtag curse, some people have the tag curse. Even a simple good morning will earn you a tag. This can be extremely annoying. Let your tags be relevant, for instance, if you know a particular social media friend likes traveling and there is an interesting trip coming up, then, by all means, tag them, but if the person cannot stand trips, tagging them will only cause irritation.
We do not need to know everything.
Have you ever come across those people who share EVERYTHING? Annoying right? Unless you are doing a food blog, I do not need to know what you eat every single day. Unless we are both vested in your relationship, we do not need to know what you did with your boyfriend, how much you love him, how he is the best thing ever since sliced bread. Please keep some information to yourself otherwise you will start seeing your audience numbers shrink.
Social media is a good platform to promote yourself and your brand. Many people have built successful businesses out of their online presence. One thing you will realize about these people is that they are very cautious about how they use social media. You will not find them annoying people with irrelevant posts that add no value. You may argue that controversial people have large audiences but a profile of the audience will mostly consist of idle equally controversial people.
Observe social media etiquette and watch your brand soar to great heights.