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9 Social Media Marketing Etiquette Rules People Break All the Time

It never ceases to amaze me how often basic social media marketing etiquette rules are broken by successful and socially-adept-in-real-life professionals. I know we’re not perfect – no one is – and rules will be accidentally broken. The problem with breaking these rules is that you end up looking foolish at best and completely inept at worst.

When it comes to social media marketing etiquette, you want to be like the three women in the above photo: spreading happiness by listening and sharing.

You’re smart and successful, so let’s make sure that doesn’t happen to you. Here are the nine rules to keep in mind:

1. Don’t turn your social channels into the “me” show

This is the social media marketing etiquette rule I see broken most often. If you only learn one thing from this blog post, this is it.

We all know that one person who walks into a room and attempts to dominate the conversation. They also do it on social media – and so do a lot of marketing professionals, who should certainly know better.

Social media is not the “me” show. It’s about listening to, sharing with and helping others. It’s perfectly OK to post the occasional selfie or share exciting company news, but “me” content should never be your default.

2. Fight mean comments with honey

If your company gets attacked on social media, resist the urge to fight fire with fire. Instead, break out a big jar of honey. Be kind and helpful in your response and make it clear that you want to make things right.

Also remember: Some people are absolutely miserable and will complain about anything to anyone. If you have one nasty comment out of a thousand, it speaks volumes about the commenter, not you.

3. Respond to all comments – good, bad and neutral

When someone takes the time to leave a comment on your social media post, make sure you respond. Even if it’s just a “thank you”, acknowledge them. Show that you’re listening and being “social”.

4. Include a note when extending a connection request

For a while, LinkedIn made it all too easy to send connection requests without including a personal note. Now you are prompted to do so. Listen to the prompt!

It drives me nuts to get connection requests that make no sense. Why would I connect with a complete stranger from the other side of the world who isn’t even in my industry? (Answer: I wouldn’t, and I don’t.)

5. Don’t cold-pitch people

A few weeks ago, I got a lovely personal note in a connection request on LinkedIn. I accepted it and wrote back, thanking them for reaching out. This person then responded with a sales pitch.

No. Just no.

Even though this person had introduced themselves, they didn’t bother to listen for a need. Marketing and sales are about listening first, talking second – not the other way around.

6. Get permission

Before you start posting photos and tagging people, ask for permission. I’ve seen a lot of people set strict privacy settings on social media channels – both in-app and common sense. For example, not everyone wants to have their location or their kids’ full names shared with god knows who. Be respectful of that.

7. Don’t steal media

Just because a photo is on social media doesn’t mean it’s free to use on your own channel. A lot of photography and graphics are not royalty-free.

You can use a paid stock photo site (they are not expensive!), a free one (we like Creative Commons and Pexels), or a DIY graphic design tool (like Canva).

8. Be mindful when mixing in personal stuff

As Jessica on my team recently said, “It’s important to be human and ‘real’, but don’t bore people with the minutiae of your life.” Amen.

Did your sister just get married? Post a photo of you two that was taken at the reception. Drinking your daily cup of coffee? Nope.

9. Don’t use social media when drunk

No need to elaborate.

Got questions about social media marketing etiquette?

Shoot us a note – we’re happy to help!

Photo by ELEVATE from Pexels

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