From a young age we are told to be polite, listen, say please and thank you and generally respect those around us regardless of their socioeconomic status. So why is that so many people get their social media etiquette all wrong?

In this post we are going to cover the social media etiquette do’s and don’ts that will allow you to make better use of your time and develop deeper, more meaningful relationships.

How to Get Your Social Media Etiquette Right!


This is your opportunity to find out exactly what your customers are really saying about you, what they want and more important, remedy any issues that they may have with your products or services.

Set up a social media listening post where you can monitor your brand and find out exactly what is being said about you and who is saying it. Also, listen in on what the key influencers are saying and what people are saying about them. The more information you have, the better positioned you can be!

Do Make Time:

It’s not a quick process. Look at the people in your offline social circles, those that you hold the closest. How long have you known them? How much time have you spent together doing things you loved, things you hated doing, time together just doing nothing? All of this time added cumulatively is a long, long time and bonds strong relationships.

I am not saying that you can’t develop strong relationships online in a short period of time. What I am saying is if you want advocates for your brand then 10 minutes exposure once a week is not going to cut it. If you want to receive the benefits of social media then be prepared to give.

Read Social Media Marketing for Small Business – 7 Time Saving Tips that will show you exactly how to make the most of that precious time.

Don’t come across like a broken record:

This ties in with listening and in fact gives a great opportunity to drill home the point that social media etiquette is more about listening than speaking, ranting, shouting or advertising your latest product.

Say something new, say something different, be opinionated, share content that inspires you, infuriates you, makes you laugh and you will find that many people out there will respond with their opinions and open up conversations with you.

Keep Track of Your Engagements.

If the message, conversations and tone of your social media voice is not stimulating engagement then don’t continue to allow that message to fall on deaf ears. It is a waste of time.

Back track and see where and how conversations where started and without trying to recreate the wheel see if you can reignite those flames or by using the same style of approach spark further social media engagement.

Do respond in a timely fashion:

If you left a voice message with a company for someone to call you back, how long would you wait before you started thinking that you were being ignored? 8hrs, 24 hours, 3 days? Think long and hard because if someone interacts with your business, asks a question or makes a comment then you need to react quickly. That message may be from one person but there are millions of others just eavesdropping in the wings.

Don’t be afraid to let go of your content:

Image by admitchel via Flickr

Once you put something out into the social media spectrum you have little or no control over where that content ends up, what shape it takes and the message that it amplifies.

Be aware that people will take your company video, re-edit it, and take the mickey out of you. You are operating in a different world.

Do Take care of how you represent yourself.

The web is infamous for satire and very easy for building high levels of feedback. Negative comments can snowball. If you make a mistake, you may be ripped to pieces by other web users.

Remember barriers to entry are low but the standards expected are very high, so you must plan your campaign. Just pushing abject material out into the ether will not win over the hearts and minds of your potential audience.

Don’t take social media lightly:

Here today, gone tomorrow is not an attitude that you can afford to take when it comes to developing a social media community. Updating your online status twice in a 2 hour period and then once over the next week is not good practice.

Make a commitment to sit down for an allotted period each and every day to respond to people, ask questions and share great content.

Don’t highjack other peoples’ subject matter.

Don’t take somebody else’s content, change the title and brand it as your own. That is not the way to go about things. This process is what is known as “scrapping” and is the scourge of many content creators on the internet.

Instead, add a comment to the piece and share with your audience or drop the content creator a line and ask if it would be ok to use the content providing you attribute it correctly.

Most people who create content do so with the intent of it being shared. Share it and attribute it.

Don’t ignore negative comments.

Not everybody will like what you do or say online but rather than seeing it as a negative see it as a great opportunity for your business to highlight the ultra responsiveness and efficiency of your customer service.

By showing the social media community that you do actually care about your clients’ experience you will be turning a soft cost (customer service) into a living breathing entity.

Don’t Sell Sell Sell

Social media networks are not a direct sales tool. Social networks are a place where you can develop a community of people who are interested in your brand and what it has to say. Not everyone in the community will spend money with your business and that is ok. Because if they like what you say and they share it with other people then more and more people will become aware of your brand and grow to like you.

Using social media for business is about getting people to like, know and trust you. The more you communicate and have two way dialogue, the more you will humanize your brand and start to grow a reputation in your niche.

A rule of thumb when thinking about social media etiquette is this: if you wouldn’t do it in the real world, while standing on a crowded bus, in a restaurant or a convention then don’t do it!

What rules do you follow when it comes to social media etiquette? Add your own advice in the comments box below!

Main Image by Nateone via Flickr