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Business Etiquette Tips for Social Media Engagement

by Samantha Pitchell, PGi Meetings Expert

Social media platforms, spaces and groups are fertile ground for forward, out-of-the-box thinking; fresh, off-the-cuff commentary; honest dialog and open lines of communications. They also present ripe opportunities for public blunders, embarrassing faux pas and costly misunderstandings. While social media spaces invite spontaneity, because they are public platforms, it’s important that a degree of caution be exercised when developing content for your personal and business blogs, Facebook profiles, Twitter handles, etc. It is important that you understand social media etiquette.

Social Media Etiquette Rule #1: Develop specific content for each of your platforms.

That means don’t simply tweet your blog posts and blog about your tweets. Your Facebook content should not repeat your Twitter activities, and vice versa. Each space should offer specific, fresh content with distinct value that is appropriate to the audiences of each. Define the purpose of each space, and your targets, and talk directly to those people about the things that interest them. Don’t expect the same folks to follow each of your accounts just because – offer a variety of value opportunities to a broader spectrum of viewers by diversifying your content. Keep people informed of what’s new with your brand and leverage assets in different ways: for example, if your company hosted a recent event, you could post a video about it on Facebook, create a new hashtag on Twitter and share memories and photos in a blog post. Don’t just recycle the same assets everywhere — share the right content in the right place.

Social Media Etiquette Rule #2: Be real.

Striving for perfection at the cost of being real, genuine and expressing some honesty and personality isn’t worth it. People will forgive an extra space or the mistake of an occasional misspelled word made in the excitement of posting a compelling message if the message itself is memorable, useful and worth their time to read and respond to.

The most expertly crafted wording will never outshine content that is timely, interesting and valuable. Too buttoned-up = boring. Save the marketing speak for your website. Social media means just that – human, friendly, thoughtful, engaging. Experiment with different emotions. A little humor never hurt. Open it up and invite guest content contributors from inside and outside your company to help keep the conversations lively, enrich the experience and bring in new followers.

Social Media Etiquette Rule #3: Don’t fear negative reviews.

Once you start communicating in the social realm, begin gathering a following, and engaging with the public, less-than-positive commentary is bound to find its way in to your spaces. You may be tempted to delete them, all of them, the second they appear. But this is a slippery slope and is not an authentic approach to social participation. Social media is designed for two-way communications. And everyone knows better than to believe any company’s product or service is 100% perfect 24/7/365.

Your business is bound to make mistakes and, for many, your social spaces are the quickest, easiest, most readily-available way for your customers to get in touch with you. To delete their posts is to deny them their voice and negate your opportunity to make amends, fix the situation and extend the customer relationship. You better serve your brand’s reputation by addressing their comments swiftly and by responding with effective customer service. Unless the content is libel or obscene, keep it and use the chance to create a constructive dialog. If you don’t listen to your customers, you’ll never make them happy.

Transparency builds trust. Humanizing your social persona makes it more effective. And diversifying your content keeps it interesting. Try these tips for better social engagement across your public platforms and let us know how they’ve improved your user experiences.

What are some of your tips for improved social media etiquette? What works? What doesn’t? We invite you to share your insights as to what makes or breaks lasting, fulfilling social media relationships.

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