As a business owner, you already have enough on your plate. You’re balancing the day-to-day of your personal life in addition to your business life, surprises come your way regularly and on top of this you’re trying to learn how to effectively set up your presence online.

Keeping up with your business can be a regular challenge but adding the task of getting started on social media and understanding the etiquette behind it can be overwhelming. Social networks are constantly evolving and keeping up with best practices and unwritten rules can be daunting.

When balancing your online to do, or not to do list, it takes time and application to fully understand how proper social media etiquette will apply to and benefit you in your online behavior.

Complete your profile: You can never change the first impression so ensure you are making a good one. If you only partially complete your profile you will automatically be appearing less professional and may not be taken as seriously, so complete your profile entirely. Choose a profile name/handle that easily identifies you and your business, and put some thought into your ‘about’ section. Your avatar should be your logo or a tasteful photo of yourself.

Keep it simple: Managing multiple profiles across numerous social media platforms can be time consuming, inconvenient, and ultimately not worth the hassle. If you choose to have a personal and professional persona separate from each other, be careful not to confuse your clients. Stay consistent with the type of content you are posting on your business profile so your clients know which account to follow.

You are what you share: As they say, common sense is not always that common. Please realize that whatever you share on social media will become a representation of you, your brand or your business. It is certainly important to have your own voice online, regardless of whether everyone agrees with you not. Be proud of who you are and what you stand for, just be aware of the image you are crafting as a result.


Get social on social: Understand that people are not on social media to be sold to, they are there to socialize and find value. So focus on providing valuable and helpful content, but also realize that interacting with your audience is a key ingredient in finding success. Answer questions, ask for recommendations, share helpful articles or industry information. Focus on building relationships and connections online just like you would in person.

Be authentic: Stuff happens. You wouldn’t be the first to run into an issue that causes controversy and criticism online. Don’t panic. One of the worst things you can do is try to hide from the issue. Rather than deleting comments, do your best to respond as best you can without becoming defensive. Do what you can to resolve the issue and keep your concerned followers in the loop when the issue has been resolved.

Socialize more than you sell: Yes, it’s true you’re on social media to increase your sales. However, your audience is not on social media to be sold to. The 80/20 rule, some would even say the 90/10 rule is best practice here. Provide your followers with 80-90% entertainment and information. The remaining 10-20% of your social media communication can relate directly to your products or services.

Proofread: Poor grammar and spelling errors can instantly reduce your credibility. This can easily be avoided by prepping your social media updates ahead of time and having a trusted source proofread your update before you post.

DON’T WRITE IN ALL CAPS: WHY ARE YOU YELLING AT ME? PLEASE STOP! You’re communicating that you’re upset about something. Stop using all caps.

#Don’t #Abuse #Hashtags: While many people use random cute sentences on the fly as hashtags, this is not actually how they are intended to be used. Adding an appropriate hashtag or two actually connects your posts to all other posts on the topic and broadens your reach. It’s a great way to categorize your topic and search out what others are saying on the subject. Still, don’t turn every word into a hashtag – that’s abuse and irritating to read.

Auto DM’s are tacky: Save twitter direct messages for one-on-one conversations with your followers rather than using it to send automated responses.

Keep an eye on the ever-evolving do’s and don’ts of social media etiquette but make sure as you do you continue to have fun. Keep your posts engaging and conversational, try new things, post different types of content, all the while keeping your business manners at the front of your mind.


What are some of the social media etiquette rules you live by? Share them here!

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