Social Media Etiquette

Written by Jane O’Keefe

Being a parent I’m always teaching my children manners. Always use your manners say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’. If you don’t use your manners don’t expect anything in return for your request. Don’t demand things of people.  In the Social Media space, is social etiquette as simple as using your manners and not making demands on people? The short answer is no, there is much more involved.

If anything we need to be extra careful when it comes to Social Media etiquette. When communicating in the social media space, people can’t see you and they don’t know the tone you are using.  As a business it’s essential to use Social Media Etiquette, here are 10 tips to improve your Social Media Etiquette:

1. Listen to your audience
What are your followers posting, tweeting? Can you help them with your knowledge? Do you have a blog or information you can share with them?

People like to be associated with people and organisations that share the same outlooks as them. It is very easy for a follower to unfollow you if they don’t think you are like-minded and don’t represent what they want to be associated with.

Listening to your audience is a great way to network and let the audience know you are interested in the same topics and issues as them and that you are linked due to your like-mindedness.

2. Be present
Don’t post a question to your followers and expect them to answer, participate in the conversation yourself and be prompt with your response/s. Do not reply to a response hours or days after your follower has posted the reply. Social Media requires immediacy and this is a great opportunity to engage with your audience and gain followers along the way.

Responding and being present to your social media shows that you are involved with the community.

3. Be yourself
Don’t try to be something you are not. In social media people respond very well to people and businesses that are authentic. It can be easy to open a Social Media account and start posting messages only to find you aren’t getting the response you had anticipated. You then decide to change the direction of your messages to hopefully please the audience.

This is a flawed strategy; don’t change to please your audience, as you may be targeting the wrong audience for your business! Remain consistent with your social media presence and be yourself. It may take time to build your audience and gain the momentum you would like. It’s vital to develop a personality or identity that accurately represents you or your business. Your social media account is about building relationships with people in your like-minded community.

4. Talk more about others than yourself
You may think why would I want to endorse someone else? In the social media space just like friendships we want to know the other person’s interests and beliefs and the hundreds of other things they might like and think beyond their immediate circumstance.  This is part of developing your relationship and its much more interesting for your listener.

5. Thank your followers
Every person and business that follows you is critical in your social media community. They are helping build your community of like-minded individuals.


If you gain a new follower or someone shares your post or retweets it, or if they respond to a tweet or post – thank them. Just like in everyday life ‘thank you’ goes a long way. Be personal, try and thank them individually, it’ll mean a lot more.


6. Read the tone of your language before you post
Are you talking about yourself again? Are you yelling at your audience with capital letters? Are you complaining about a competitor?

Social media is a space for you to share information with your like-minded community. It’s not an outlet to complain to your audience about your frustrations about your competitors, discuss politics or talk about how great you think you are.

Before you post, think about how your message can add value to your followers. Speak to your followers how you would like to be spoken to – in an informative and respectful manner.

7. Don’t be repetitive
If you have a new blog post on your website let your audience know but don’t keep telling them. It will become old news too soon if you tweet three times during the day about your new blog.

If you have more than one social media account don’t post the same message to all of them. Chances are they, like, are following you on your other social media accounts and will receive the same message several times. Don’t saturate the message; you don’t want any excuses to let your followers unfollow you.

Be original, creative and alternate your messages across your Social Media accounts.

8. Respond to your followers in a professional and humane manner
If a customer has contacted you via a social media account this is a great opportunity for you to gain your customers approval and their network along the way.

If they have contacted you for empathy then show them empathy. This is your opportunity to win them back if they are unhappy. If you are able to solve their problem let them know instantly and how you can solve it and make their life easier. Sometimes it’s not about solving their problem but lending them a sympathetic ear.

 9. Share information
If you’ve read an article or website which you think can add value to your community share it. Let your community know about what you have found.

Make sure you give credit where it’s due and link it to the source of where you found the article or website. You may gain yourself a new follower along the way.

10. KISS
Last but not least a good marketing principal KISS


That’s right, be short with your messages and have one key message in there. No one wants to be bombarded with posts, tweets that have too many messages, information and hashtags.

You may have already noticed if you post a long post on Facebook your response isn’t as high compared with a shorter post. If you post a couple of questions in one, or have more than one message in your post or tweet it makes it very confusing for your audience. They won’t know which message to reply to first. If your audience needs to think about their answer before they respond chances are they probably won’t.

Overall use your common sense when it comes to social media etiquette. Always conduct yourself online the same as you do in person everyday.

Do you have any other ways to improve your social media etiquette? Let me know I’d love to have a conversation about it!

Article written by Jane O’Keefe, Marketing Director at Defining Social Pty Ltd. This article is of general information only and will not be liable for any loss or damage caused.


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