Social media etiquette for businesses

Catriona Pollard

Catriona Pollard
Director, CP Communications, which provides specialist PR and social media strategies that achieve positive media coverage, increased brand awareness and improved sales results.

On social media you might not be able to see the other person you are talking to but that doesn’t mean you can forget to use your good manners. When communicating with other people on social media it is important to remember that the normal rules of communication etiquette apply.

When using social media for business purposes it’s extremely important to create a good relationship with your followers because they are your existing and potential customers. You don’t want to risk losing a potential customer because you made an inappropriate comment on social media.

Here are some tips for proper social media etiquette.

Always be professional. If you are using social media as a business then you need to ensure that your communication is always professional. Before posting anything stop and think about whether the tone of the post is suitable for your customers or clients. Ask yourself the question, ‘Would I say these things in real life to a client or customer?’ While it can be tempting to become over-friendly with followers online, think about your type of business and how casual you want to come across. You can still be conversational and friendly on social media, just remember to be professional.

Always listen to your followers. You need to listen to your followers and interact with them. This means that you can’t just post information and promotional material, without responding to your followers’ posts.  Whether they have asked you a question through Twitter or made a particularly interesting comment on your blog, people like it when they know the person on the other side of the computer screen is paying attention and not just posting things for them to read. Social media is a two-way conversation, just like in the real world.

Always post relevant content. The content you post on social media should always be relevant and interesting to your followers. It should also add value to the conversation you are participating in. Your followers will be happy to have a conversation with you when you post content that they can connect with.

Never criticise others. The comments you make on social media can be accessed by a large number of people. If you make a negative comment about a business, customer or client it is likely that they will see it. Talking about another business, customer or client in a negative way online will alienate people and give your business a bad reputation. Always be polite and respectful to others and in return, you will be treated with respect. If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.

It is important to always be polite on social media and remember that it’s just the same as having a conversation with someone face to face.