Many businesses try to engage in social media but spend their time talking about their business rather than engaging with their community. They get poor results and can’t understand why their social media is ineffective.

There is one main point that these businesses have forgotten: social media is just that – social. It requires a certain etiquette and level of personality, just like any social situation in the real world. These social media communication guidelines will help you to respectfully engage your community and develop more meaningful relationships.

Do’s

  • Carefully consider your tone and etiquette. If you wouldn’t say it to your grandmother, you probably shouldn’t say it to your community.
  • Monitor replies and comments. Check at least once a day and respond promptly and constructively.
  • Remove profane or unnecessary negativity that conflicts with your social terms.
  • Be certain before you post something – once you publish something through social media, you lose a degree of control of your message.
  • Make sure that you have all the facts before you post. If you make a mistake, correct it quickly and visibly – doing so will earn you respect in your online community.
  • Keep it personal. People respond to people – so keep your channels personal and engaging.
  • Keep it fresh and interesting. Don’t drone on and on about your business – share things that people will find interesting. Share opinions and things that are inspiring or fun to encourage engagement.
  • Engage in thoughtful and respectful dialogue.
  • Steer clear of controversy, but don’t be afraid to encourage debate.
  • Use an editorial calendar to schedule content creation and publication more efficiently.
  • Post regularly, but don’t flood your channel.
    • Generally, Twitter users expect frequent updates so more updates can be made. However, don’t post just because you feel you have to – if you only have a reason to tweet once a day, then that’s all you should do.
    • For a Facebook page, an average of once or twice a day is reasonable. Over-posting will annoy your fans.
    • For a video or photo service like Flickr or YouTube, update according to how much content you have available.
  • Monitor when your posts get the most interaction and adjust your calendar accordingly. For example, if you are getting a good response in the afternoon or on Wednesdays, rather put your best content out then.
  • Listen to the responses to your brand. Use this knowledge to refine your approach and meet customer expectations.
  • ASK! Don’t be afraid to ask your community what they want and use their responses to better meet their needs.
  • Ask simple questions to increase engagement.
  • Leave your comments open-ended and allow space for users to respond and engage. Ask for opinions or favourites.
  • Make your customers feel special. Take the time to respond to their comments individually and personally.
  • Use different kinds of media. Videos and images are more visually appealing and often get better responses and more shares that plain text.

Don’ts

  • Do not take social media lightly. If you are going to engage in social media, you must commit to it and make the time to do it properly.
  • Do not publish anything you are not 100% happy with or sure of. Think twice, publish once.
  • Do not delete or ignore negative posts by customers. Deleting negative comments can make it seem like you have something to hide. Be sure to respond by correcting misinformation and giving a constructive public response. Then attempt to take the issue offline. Responding well to negativity will earn you respect in your online community.
  • Do not engage in arguments with customers. Be helpful and constructive.
  • Do not get angry or make an issue personal.
  • Do not publish anything private – once it is available online, there is little you can do to remove it completely. Search engines can turn up the data months or even years later.
  • Don’t hoard content and post it all at once. Rather spread it out over a period of time according to your editorial calendar.
  • Do not be unprofessional. Your business profiles are not your personal platform – swearing, highly-negative or offensive comments or posting obscene images can tarnish your brand’s image.
  • Don’t constantly sell. People use social media for fun and engagement, not to make purchases. Bombarding them with constant sales pitches and self-promotion will simply annoy them and damage your reputation.
  • Don’t hijack other people’s content and rebrand it as your own. Copyrights still apply on the internet. If you find something interesting that belongs to someone else, rather share it with your community, giving your input and directing them to the original content. Always attribute other people’s content.

What do you think? Are there any other Dos and Don’ts when it comes to social media? Have any questions? Feel free to ask us – we’ll do our best to give a good answer!

Drop us a comment, an or find us on Facebook!

Nicole Germond

Nicole Germond

Digital Guru at Refract Marketing
Nicole Germond is the Digital Manager at Chocolate Shoebox and is responsible for clients' websites, social campaigns, and brand strategies. Creating new, or building on to clients' existing marketing campaigns, she oversees and manages strategy implementation and maintains the client's online image.

Her specialties include copywriting, web design and development, social media, community management, email marketing, and digital media.
Nicole Germond

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