Social Media Etiquette – Is Your Small Business Doing it Right?

Social Media Etiquette - Is Your Small Business Doing it Right?

Like with every medium of communication, social networks have their own unique set of rules. But, this has not always been the case. In the early years of social networks, no one knew exactly how to behave. Everyone was fumbling in the dark. But with time, etiquette on everything from flirting to friendships has developed.

Rules on how business should interact with their clients have also developed. But although social platforms dictate most of these rules, businesses can still get it wrong. If you are a business in need of advice on online social etiquette, here are a few tips that can be of help.

1) Share Valuable, Shareable Information

Social media is a good platform to promote your products and gain valuable feedback from your clients. But, always remember who you are targeting if you are to have an effective campaign. Do everything in your power to only share information that is valuable and engaging to a specific audience.

A good way to begin is by asking whether the information you are sharing fits your business goals. Also, is it shareable? Next, get the information from several sources, format it correctly and most importantly, post it at the right time.  The best time to post varies depending on the social media website you are using, but experts agree on the following:

  • The best time to post on Facebook is between 1 and 4 pm – with Wednesdays being the best day.
  • Posting at 1 pm will get you the most clicks, while posting at 3 pm will get you the most shares.
  • Posts published on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday tend to get the highest levels of engagement (most likely because people have more free time).
  • The worst times to publish social media posts are on Friday and Saturday after 8 pm.

That said, it is important to analyze your data and share posts based on your specific audience.  The above are the averages, but this does not mean these are the best times for you to publish – especially if you advertise to an international audience.

2) Avoid Automated Messages

A while back, Alex Howard of TechRepublic conducted an experiment on the effect of automated messages on social media users. He sent a few hundred such messages to his followers and then waited for their response. The few who responded said they treated Howard’s messages as spam.

Although automation saves time, many users frown on it. It is too impersonal and has the potential of reducing the number of your followers. If enough of them report your messages as spam, your account can also be suspended.

3) Be Quick to Respond to Comments

Interacting with your audience is just as important as promoting your products. So, if users post their comments, be quick to respond. Sometimes, this requires having a team to monitor your social media accounts. A team also has the ability to evaluate which comments are worth responding to quickly, especially if they are negative.

Finally, be sure to resist the urge to ignore negative feedback while only responding to the positive. You will lose disgruntled customers to the competition if you fail to address their complaints. A PR disaster could be looming.

4) Be Professional

Using your social media account to slander the competition is unprofessional. You may think that you are ruining their reputation when in actual fact, you are ruining yours. Instead of slandering rivals, keep tabs on their social media accounts. You learn a lot about them this way.

Also, try to establish a professional online relationship with them. This improves your reputation in the eyes of their audience, gaining you many future customers. But when rivals call you out, do not keep mum, your audience – as well theirs – is watching. Make a timely response to their comments but in a professional tone.

5) Use Hashtags Sparingly

Although hashtags give you greater visibility in social media circles, they are distracting when paired with every word in your post. Thus, make sure that the hashtags make sense with your post and only use one or two rather than a whole load. An effective alternative to hashtags is geo-tagging. By tagging a photo with a specific location, your brand can easily engage users in that area.

Conclusion

Social platforms have revolutionized how business is conducted today. They have made communicating with clients and potential clients easy. But as you go about your business using these platforms, ensure you share only valuable and audience specific information. Always respond to comments quickly and be professional. Also, avoid using too many automated messages; this practice is tantamount to spamming your users. And finally, keep the hashtags to a minimum.

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