23 Feb 2012

Social Media Etiquette: The Dos and Don’ts of Posting on Business Accounts

by Ninja Suzy

Social media etiquette for business - Am I doing this right?

When I work with clients on their social media campaigns, I think like a customer: What would I like to see on their page? What would turn me away? What would I actually comment on or engage with? These are the principles that will ultimately make a company’s social plan successful.

Companies who do social media the right way will find their fans becoming evangelists for their brand or website, and they will see more shares and retweets of their content. Here are some helpful tips on posting updates to your social media accounts:

  • DO post personal things about your company. Sure, sales and press releases are important, but why not post pictures from your company outing to your Facebook page? Making a personal connection with your fans will build trust and make your business seem more human. Your posts should have a voice – there’s nothing worse than a totally unengaging Facebook page with generic posts devoid of personality. Your fans (or would-be fans) will see right through it.
  • DON’T autopost frequently, especially on Facebook. The occasional autopost is fine, but studies have shown that updates posted through a third-party API see up to 88% fewer likes and comments. Twitter is much more forgiving with autoposts, but ultimately you want to be monitoring and updating your social accounts in realtime. Social media is about two-sided conversations – too much autoposting means you could be missing out on great discussions with your customers.
  • DO start weekly traditions to encourage engagement. By posting fun, interactive content on the same day every week, your users will have something to look forward to, and it’s almost guaranteed to engage your users. Own a car repair company? Try “Name That Car Tuesdays” by posting a photo of a car’s headlights. Offer business consulting? “Small Business Saturday” will keep your fans interested. Not only will you be honing in on your users’ interests, you’ll also be tapping into their innate desire to compete and interact with like-minded fans.
  • DON’T post too many links to your website. Follow the 80/20 rule – 80% of your posts should be resourceful or inherently valuable to your readers, and 20% can be self-promotional. I know it’s tempting to post nothing but new features on your website or old blog posts, but users are following you because they are fans of your company and what you represent. Ask questions, post engaging topics, facilitate conversation amongst your users. There’s only so much they can say about your quarterly earnings.
  • DO tag other companies, publications, and people in your posts. When used correctly, tagging another company in a Facebook post can forge a connection and even lure fans of that page over to yours. The same goes for mentions and @replies on Twitter. Just don’t abuse this feature. What started out as a great way to acknowledge or publicly appreciate another page has become a way to spam accounts with nonsense. As long as the page you’re tagging directly relates to your post and all tagging is done with discretion, it should be beneficial.
  • DON’T ignore negative feedback. Sure, it’s easy to delete complaints or the comments of a dissatisfied customer and pretend it never happened, but posting an honest, well-worded response will mean much more to your customers. Of course, extremely inflammatory, hateful, or untrue criticism should not be perpetuated, but any merited criticism should be addressed. There’s a saying that goes with social media – social media doesn’t make a company look bad, it just makes the bad things in a company more apparent.
  • DO familiarize yourself with hashtags in your industry. Hashtags are an amazing way to connect and share with like-minded users on Twitter. Spend time listening to people in your industry to discover the right hashtags to use and the appropriate times to use them. Feel free to monitor the Trending Topics hashtags on Twitter – but participate ONLY when appropriate. I doubt many companies have much they can contribute when #ImABelieberForever is trending. Not sure what a particular hashtag means? What The Trend, tagdef , and Hashtags.org are helpful in identifying useful hashtags.
  • DON’T publish the same exact post across multiple social media accounts. Each social network has different functionalities, audiences, and posting techniques. You know why Twitter is unique? You can only write 140 characters. You know who lets you write more than 140 characters? Facebook. Take the time to craft two unique messages for two unique social networks and understand the nuances of each – try to keep the #hashtags and @twitterhandles off Facebook and make sure your tweets that clock in at 140 characters or less.

It may seem like a complicated world to dive into, but overall, social media can be an incredible boon to your company and help you stay connected with your customers and important people in your industry. Take a look at companies that are doing social media the right way – and learn from the ones who are doing it wrong:

Comments

  1. Rick Noel February 23, 2012 at 3:30 PM

    Solid advice all the way around. I wouldn’t expect anything less form the Internet Marketing Ninjas! I agree that social media and getting to know each channel and its associated nuances is very important.

    I do not currently use autoresponders for twitter follows and for the ones that I follow back, I write a personal message that is reflective of the having viewed their profile page so that I can personalize the DM to them which is a great way to stand apart.

    The 80/20 rule you mention is golden and a good way to fill gaps when time does not allow for content creation, while adding value to your networks beyond your own content. Let’s face it, sometimes the best content is not our own and no need to create content where excellent content already exists.

    A few tips that I would ad would be to leave room at the end of your tweets so that when some RT, they can do easily and also, once in a while, if you ask for a retweet, studies have shown that those tweets are more likely to be retweeted.

    Right now, like many Internet marketers, I am immersed in G+ as I feel strongly that over time, it will reshape the search and social markets, and in some respects, already has. G+ has a strong, engaged user base, platform with great features (Circles and Hangouts to name two) and allows your content to be returned in the personalized search results based on your G+ social graph ala the recent Google Search, Plus Your World update.

    It will be interesting to see how/when G+ takes a bite of out twitter and facebook market share. My advice is if you are not on G+, the time to do so is NOW.

    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Jim Boykin February 24, 2012 at 1:01 AM

    Nice Job Suzy, great suggestions…and yes, Rick, I agree, G+, the time is NOW.

  3. twitter_siyathomas88 September 17, 2012 at 2:04 PM

    Valuable information shared. Very important points to keep in mind while doing social media, I am glad I stumbled here. I used to publish same post to the multiple social networking sites which comes under Don’t, thanks for mentioning it otherwise I would never come to know about it.

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