Learning to navigate the rules of business and professional etiquette in different situations is a big part of any entrepreneur’s education. The rules for managing a business dinner are different than for a presentation or a casual networking event, and the smart entrepreneur needs to be prepared for each.
Similarly, different social networks offer different opportunities – and different social expectations. This infographic by Toll Free Forwarding offers insights into the etiquette that some of the bigger social network users expect from businesses like yours, to ensure you take the right steps when working with these platforms.
Facebook, the world’s largest social network, offers access to 757 million daily users, each of which has an average of 250 friends. Over half of Facebook users (58%) identify as female, and the most active country of use is Canada.
- Facebook users are fine with multiple posts daily, as long as they’re spaced out over several hours. However, they expect a response to every comment, no matter how good or bad the comment is.
- Hashtags are uncommon on Facebook, and just one per post is sufficient. Facebook is a relaxed environment, so keep the 80/20 rule in mind – entertain first, sell second.
- One big rule is not to post to another business page with a request to like your page unless you’ve cleared it in messages first; that’s a fast way to get considered spam.
- You should refer to your business in the first person plural, as in “we are happy to announce….”
- Finally, be sure not to blatantly ask people to like your status unless you’re using likes as a polling option. Keep entertaining content flowing, and make people feel welcome.
Twitter is a more nimble social platform beloved of journalists and musicians. With 100 million users daily (64% of whom identify female) and a large number of “power users” who are constantly plugged in (46% use Twitter at least once a day), Twitter is a great resource for your brand. A few rules to keep in mind:
- Feel free to use hashtags, but don’t go overboard – it can look obnoxious if a post is primarily hashtags.
- Try to respond to questions and comments as quickly as possible.
- When making your own posts, don’t use all 140 characters – leave room for people to retweet.
- Don’t feel the need to follow everyone who follows you. Just follow the most relevant ones.
- Stay positive; negative posts can turn people off.
- Avoid the temptation to overshare and get personal. Twitter streams are like drinking from a firehose; make your content valuable or people will ignore it.
- Use your logo as your avatar. People need to be able to quickly and easily identify your brand and your posts.
Google Plus is a network that offers a longer-form posting format for its users, 63% of whom are male and tend to be involved in the tech sector. When working with Google Plus, keep this etiquette in mind:
- Always +mention users when you comment on their posts so they’re notified.
- If you share a clever post you found through some other user, shout them out for it using h/t (which stands for “hat tip”) so they get credit for it.
- Be sure to add your own commentary to any post you share.
- Group your followers in circles so you can properly target who sees your relevant posts.
- Google Plus allows for proper formatting, so take advantage of it to allow for clear reading.
Instagram is the visually driven social network, built on sharing photographs. You can reach 75 million daily users who collectively drive over 1.2 billion daily “likes” of photographs that have been submitted. When using Instagram:
- Don’t ask for follows or for people to use your hashtags; let it happen organically. Be patient!
- Avoid “overgramming” (making too many posts at once and filling up people’s feeds). Space your posts out.
- Keep your posts safe for work, and be sure you avoid the stereotypical selfies, food shots, and family pictures.
- Drive engagement by offering engagement of your own. People are much more likely to reciprocate than to initiate.
- Go wild with the hashtags! The golden number of hashtags on a photo is, believe it or not, 11.
- Pick a unique and relevant them and stick with it.
LinkedIn is the “business network”, with 120 million daily users who collectively showcase 1.2 million products and services. Many users maintain their LinkedIn account as a stand-in or supplement for a resume and use it when job hunting, but there’s more to the service than that.
- Treat LinkedIn as a professional space and ensure your posts are relevant to your business and provide valuable information.
- Take connecting seriously; personalize your requests and let people know why you want to connect.
- Similarly, be sure you send a welcome message once you’ve connected with someone, to strengthen and build the relationship.
- On the flip side of that, do not send mass requests for connection, or for recommendation or endorsement. Make these interactions precise and valuable.
- Groups are places to share information that users will find valuable, not places to promote your business or advertise.
- A LinkedIn page should represent you, the person, so use the first person “I” when speaking on the platform. You are presenting yourself as an informed, articulate participant in your field.
Pinterest is another visually driven platform, with 16.1 million users – of whom a full 80% are women! Pinterest has its own unique “rules of the road” to follow:
- Always be sure to link back to your original source when sharing, and to give credit where it is due.
- In the same vein, try to pin directly from the original source to better accommodate the drive for proper crediting.
- Use images that are high-quality, nothing too low in resolution or too poorly shot.
- Stay relevant! Do not use content that has nothing to do with what you’re linking to just to chase clicks. This is spam!
- Don’t overwhelm followers and re-pin for an hour straight. If you have a lot to re-pin, use a scheduling tool to space it out.
- If you’re going to join a group board, leave a comment with an @mention directed to the creator in order to say hello.
In some ways social networks are the new watercooler, but they’re a lot more valuable than that when used properly. Keep this guide handy for when you’re engaging with followers across the social platforms and you’ll be sure to put your best foot forward each time!
This article was written by Louis Foong from Business2Community and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.