Social Media Etiquette

When it comes to posting to your social media accounts I get the same questions all the time. Questions such as how often should I post? When is the best time of the day to post? Should I link them all together? The answer to all of these questions is the same, it depends. I know how everyone loves to hear that answer so the following is a brief discussion on how to post to your social media feeds, whether it be Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or any of the other social media websites you may be involved in.

To start off, I would make sure you are involved with those four at a minimum. These are the bare minimum for today’s current state of affairs. If you wish to do more, feel free based on how much time you have to dedicate to your social media campaign, however these are the only four that I feel have a broad enough reach to justify the time commitment required to do it right. Speaking of linking accounts I do not recommend linking your accounts. There is nothing worse than seeing someone’s twenty tweets a day clogging up my LinkedIn home page. I have to scroll through pages and pages of “tweets” to see what I am really trying to see when I am on LinkedIn which is the career updates of my colleagues. However, if you choose to use one of the social media platforms not a part of the ‘Big 4” (SnapChat/Pinterest), then feel free to link them to one of the big three so that your posts show up there too. It’s an easy way to add reach to your campaign, without having to do any additional work other than the initial set up.

The most important thing to remember about social media is that in essence it represents “permission based marketing.” These people have given you permission to “market” to them (and here’s the important part) “within the confines of the accepted practices” of the medium. With Twitter, it’s ok to post 10, 20 or 30 times a day. This is a huge no-no with LinkedIn. In Facebook, it’s ok to tell everyone you love Joe’s Coffee shop on 3rd Street but not so much with LinkedIn. You do not want to ruin the trust that your followers/friends/colleagues have given you when they granted you their permission to market to them with social media. Even if they don’t “unfriend” you they will still block your messages so that your messages do not appear in their feed anymore. That is the worst thing because you might think you have 300 Facebook friends but in reality only 20 or 30 are actually seeing your posts and that just ruins everything.

So here are the 3 No-No’s when it comes to social media posting. As long as you avoid these three common pitfalls your posts should be safe from being blocked by your followers.

THE OVERPOSTER

Do not be an over poster. Nobody wants to hear every single thing you do all day unless it’s interesting. “Just ate lunch, it was tasty,” is not a good Facebook post. It’s fine every once in awhile but some people give an every hour on the hour update of what they are doing and it just annoys everyone so you end up getting blocked. There is only so much room on someone’s screen, and if it is all getting taken up by your meaningless, or repetitive boring marketing messages, you will get blocked. “Please like my new fan page” ten times a day is also a no-no.

When it comes to Twitter you can post much more often but the same rules apply. If you post the same tweet over and over with just one word changed, people will block you. It’s ok to promote and send meaningless tweets because they don’t last long, but if you exceed the generally accepted communication practices you will get blocked. Also if you post twenty tweets in a row all at the same time so someone’s entire feed only shows your tweets, you’re going to get blocked. Just make sure you are posting regularly and following the PITH method for content. (See article here)

THE SELFISH POSTER

People are followers, friends and contact’s because they want to interact with you, not so you can be a one way street when it comes to updates and messages. If you never comment on someone else’s posts, don’t expect them to comment on yours. You should spend more time focusing on other peoples messages than you do on your own. I estimate a split of 70/30. For every 3 posts you make on Facebook, you should make 7 comments on other people’s posts, Your Twitter ratio can probably be flipped 30/70 and LinkedIn would be more acceptable at around 50/50 but either way, you need to be commenting on other peoples updates and being involved in the conversation that is going on in the social media world.

You can’t be that guy at the party that interrupts a group of people talking about a movie they all just saw and ask someone what kind of dog they have. Nobody likes that guy. Don’t be that guy. You have to enter the conversation already going on, if you want to be involved. Remember it is called “Social” media. The same social etiquette rules apply in real life as in social media.

I recommend 2 practices when it comes to posting on other peoples comments. If you see a post that nobody has commented on, either like it or reply to it. You will make the recipient feel better if nothing else. It’s almost embarrassing to post a joke or interesting tidbit in your feed and then have everyone ignore it. So be the nice guy and respond to it. It will go a long way. The other extreme is to reply to posts that are getting a lot of action. This way your reply is seen by a greater number of people. If it is a PITH post, you may just get some more followers and friends as a result of posting to active posts.

THE HERMIT/LURKER

If you are going to run a social media campaign, either do it or don’t. It’s not something you can kind of do every once in awhile. If you haven’t posted in months and then all of a sudden you add a post, asking something of your followers, not only will you not get any response, you will get a negative result. Can you imagine if you showed up to a long lost friends house after several years and asked to borrow their lawn mower? What, no hey, hello, how’s it going? I haven’t heard from you in years and the first thing you have to say to me is can you borrow my lawnmower?

That’s just not how it works, you have to be involved. You have to be a part of the community. You need to make consistent, relevant posts to the conversation that is going on already before you are allowed to start your own conversation. Lurking in the shadows waiting for a slow minute to ambush your followers just isn’t the way to go. If you are trying to get back into the swing of things, start with liking a few posts, or “retweeting” some other tweets, to raise your level of involvement. You could also start by “friending” a few new people and then starting a “Hey, long time no see” conversation with them. Then start to work your way into the conversation and being a part of the community. When you are a regular contributor to the community, your marketing messages are welcome and expected from your followers as long as they are relevant. People enjoy helping you succeed, and will go out of their way to help promote your services. But remember the golden rule when it comes to your social media campaign. (Yes, the rule Golden Rule, no clever variations here)

So there you have it, the 3 Social Media No-No’s. As long as you avoid these common pitfalls, you should get great success from your social media campaign. Now that I’ve told you “How” to post, if you feel like you need some guidance on “What” to post, take a look at “The PITH Method. The simple guide to making great posts.”

 

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