Everyone who's anywhere on the internet knows that Social Media is, and has been, one of the most important ways to market yourself, your brand and your business. Working with Social Media full time for quite a while, I've seen some great posts and some posts that make me cringe. (The latter is more the case, unfortunately!) Now while Social Media is one of the best (free) ways to market and promote, that's only the case if you're using it correctly. Let me share some of the do's and dont's of Social Media Etiquette that I've compiled over the past few months. So without further adieu, let's get to the...
Engagement with followers/customers
I feel that on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, engaging with your followers, customers and target audience is very important. It shows that you care enough about what they write, shows that you care about their feelings/opinions and makes them feel like you are giving them individualized attention. It also shows that there is a person behind the screen/brand.
Replies to any inquiries or messages/posts directed towards you should be answered as quickly as you receive it. Don't let the messages/posts sit ignored or dormant for too long or the client/customer will feel like you are neglecting them or just too busy to care about what they said or how they feel. Customers are more inclined to buy from companies that they trust or feel like they've built rapport with, so do your best to reply as soon as you humanly can.
I also feel like it's important to share a lilttle bit of your personal self with your followers. Did you find a great new restaurant that you want to rave about? Did you get an award or have a personal accomplishment? Is it your birthday? This will also make the customer or client feel like there is a person behind the user name. Just don't spam their feed and your timeline/page with a million pictures of Fido, your new labradoodle. (No matter how adorable Fido may be!)
Hashtags are all the rage, I know. They're actually a great way to target the specific searches through the Social Network's 'search' function and to get your content or posts seen. Like ice cream or chocolate, you should only use hashtags in moderation and only use hashtags that are relevant to what you are writing about. #Don't #Do #This #With #Every #Single #Word.
Use one or two relevent hashtags in your posts, not 10. You don't want your post to seem like spam.
Make your hashtags brief. Use #cupcake instead of #cupcakesareamazing. That's probably self explanatory, but I've seen some long-winded hashtags so I felt that was worth mentioning.
Don't know what hashtags you may want to use? Look on the trending box on Twitter to see if any are applicable to what you're writing about. If you don't see any that make sense, use a website such as hashtagify.me or hashtags.org to see trends, what's popular and to monitor frequently used hashtags. (Have I said the word Hashtag enough yet?)
Direct Messages and Messages in General
Messages are a great way to connect with your followers and customers, but only if they are used appropriately. Use messages/direct messages to connect with your customers only if they post something that needs a personalized and private response, if they message you first or if you need to reach out to them individually. DO NOT use an auto-DM or message service every single time someone follows you. I hear from many people that will make them want to unfollow you right then and there. Don't spam their inbox with group messages or DMs with promotional content either, you don't want to seem desperate for business. (Even if you are desperate for business!) Let your content and posts sell your brand.
I feel this needs it's own headline because I disagree with what LinkedIn suggests. LinkedIn suggests that you only add connections that you know. Isn't LinkedIn for networking? I'm not sure that you can network by only adding connections that you know personally. I suggest that you add connections even if you don't know them personally but...(There's always a but) when you're requesting that connection, tell them WHY you're sending that request and only add connections that have the same interests, work experience or connections that are within your industry. Personally, I feel that when you're sending a request without an explanation to someone you don't know, they will wonder why you want to add them.
Since LinkedIn is a more professional setting than (say) Twitter, Instagram or Facebook; it's more important to keep your posts industry related. While it's ok to post something more personal on Twitter, I don't think anything off business topic should be posted on LinkedIn.
Remember that when you are posting from your business account, your voice and tone is the only thing you really have to sell what you are writing. While you may post sarcastic, rude-sounding and negative things on your personal Social Media accounts, it's not appropriate to do so from your business accounts. Make sure your content is clean of sexual innuendos, curse words and insults...about anything. Didn't we learn from Vodafone, Chrysler and Red Cross? And just a reminder, for the love of Pete please remember to look at what account you're posting from before you post? Especially now that Twitter allows you to manage more than one account from your phone. You don't want to accidentally post a personal tweet from your business account. (Even though it's happened to the best of us...) As the saying goes; You are what you tweet.. What?! That's not how the saying goes?