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2 minute read | Business Development

Social Media Etiquette for Business Owners

Ryker Taylor

Written by Ryker Taylor

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In its infancy, social media was a new, exciting environment, allowing friends and family to connect in real time even if miles separated them.  Businesses, events, and groups realized a new potential and soon joined the fray.  And then the apps… so many apps…  Every week there’s now a new app, and occasionally one rises to the top significant enough that all feel the need to “be there or be square.”
Time has eroded behavioral standards that used to be in place.  In today’s forms of communication, distance has made it easier to lose common courtesies of the past.  The infant has become a teenager, and it appears that we need to review some rules in order to make the best of this ever-growing environment.
Enter “social media etiquette.”
Compukol.com defines it well:  “There are rules of ethics and etiquette for social media that must be followed. Ethics, by definition, is the concept of what is good, bad, right and wrong. ... Etiquette is a code of behavior within the context of our society. In social media, the right etiquette equals acting the right way.”
 
Compukol.com states, “Ethics, by definition, is the concept of what is good, bad, right and wrong. … Etiquette is a code of behavior within the context of our society.”
Why does a business need to know this?  Remember the old adage, “You never have a second chance to make a first impression.”  Social media is oftentimes the others’ first impression of you. It might be their ONLY impression if you do it wrong.
How can you get it right?  Let’s look at ten points to ponder when navigating the social arena.
(1)  Keep your personal profiles clean.  If someone is interested in your business page, odds are that they will check out your personal profile as well.
(2)  Separate business from personal.  People viewing your personal page want to see personal things. Potential customers on your business page don't need to see your most recent meal. They are there for business. Don't confuse them.
(3)  Be self-centered in small doses.  If the nature of social media is to share things that are going on in your own world, then it’s good to intentionally practice self-control.
(4)  Don’t overshare.   Safety reasons aside, the business implication is that your posts reflect your business.  Keep it professional, short, and sweet.  Get to the point.  Fewer words are more likely to stick.
(5)  Don’t bash previous bad encounters.  Keep shaming and bashing offline.  There’s no place on your profile for this, even if they deserve it.
(6)  Respond to comments quickly.  Sometimes there’s a momentum within conversations that you don’t want to lose.  In addition, a client can easily go elsewhere if they have to wait for your response.
(7)  Don’t blast out a bunch of hashtags.  It can be distracting and look a bit desperate.  Keep it simple.
(8)  Don’t post anything when you are not in your right mind (emotional, intoxicated, or tired) even if it means you’re going to miss one post in your "schedule".
(9)  Try to offer value in every post possible.  Give people a reason to pay attention to your posts.
(10)  Always give credit.  This gesture reinforces a positive work ethic and provides your client with additional resources (offering more value, see #9).
Psychology Today says that we lose our inhibitions online because others seem distant.  As in any etiquette protocol, sometimes it’s more about what you should NOT do.  Pause before Posting.