Social Media Marketing Etiquette: Top Do’s & Don’ts to Win Over Your Audience

5 min read

The average person today is estimated to see up to 5,000 ads per day, according to Yankelovich, a leading market research & analytics firm.

That’s a lot. This number isn’t limited to what we’re exposed to on the Internet, but it clearly shows that advertisements are everywhere, permeating every aspect of our lives. So if you’re using social media as a marketing channel, you’re not alone. Far from it.

Just think about how this adds up:

24 hours – 8 hours of sleep = 16 hours awake
16 hours x 60 = 960 minutes awake
960 minutes x 60 = 57,600 seconds awake
57,600 seconds / 5,000 ads = one ad seen every 11.52 seconds

How many do you remember seeing?

With so much noise out there, blasted at audiences everywhere, being heard becomes a challenge.

Follow these basic do’s and don’ts for marketing on social media to stand out from the crowd. You’d be surprised by the amount of people who forget the importance of basic netiquette!

Top Do’s:

1. Do be generous with your own knowledge and talents

Social Media Marketing Etiquette: Top Do's & Don'ts to Win Over Your Audience

In other words, be helpful. If you look at social media like a 1-way street, where you’re just constantly posting, posting, posting, and doing nothing but feeding content into the machine… get ready to struggle.

The internet is noisy and considerably more graphic than even Times Square itself in bustling NYC. There are so many people who do nothing but share their own content that the audience is constantly under threat of being blinded by the ‘flash’ of new posts coming from every possible direction. It’s like Beyoncé getting photo-mobbed by the paparazzi. Who can even begin to tell which photographer is behind which camera lens with all those flashing lights going off at the same time?

Stand out by presenting yourself as a helpful person who is ready to give tips, ask relevant questions, provide sufficient answers, and commend great work where you see it. Be recognized as someone who considers other people’s needs – not just your own – and you’ll start to see the effects in time.

2. Do engage

Social Media Marketing Etiquette: Top Do's & Don'ts to Win Over Your Audience

I know, I know, you’ve heard this word a million times already and you’re starting to get annoyed. But it’s important and worth repeating.What exactly does this mean? Well, if you were to host an event, you wouldn’t show your guests to the buffet and then go take a nap. Tempting as that might sound, common sense tells us this wouldn’t achieve very much, particularly in terms of generating and maintaining interest. Personally, I’m the type of guest who’d be pretty psyched to be left in solitude with a bowl of hummus and fresh crudités. At least for a while. If the host(ess) still didn’t turn up by the time the carrot sticks ran out, I’d probably take this as a cue to pull a disappearing act of my own.

Needless to say, the majority of your guests feel the same way. They’d expect you to stick around and make conversation. The same goes for the social media crowd. Granted, the web gives you access to a lot of people that you don’t know, but didn’t someone important say that strangers are just friends you haven’t met yet? It was either the great Irish poet Yeats, famed American entertainer Will Rogers, or international superstar Barney the purple dinosaur (I swear I’m not making this up. Either way, can’t go wrong, and it makes perfect Internet sense).

The point is, if someone engages with you and likes, follows, shares, or comments on the content that you worked so hard to create, show appreciation for their time by engaging with them in return. Be as liberal as you like, just do something and don’t leave them hanging.

Top Don’ts:

1. Don’t waste time and respond ASAP

Technically, this falls under engagement, but is important enough to merit its own section. Do respond as close to immediately as possible. Remember that not everyone gets notifications when you or someone else replies to one of their posts or comments. That’s why timing is crucial. Make sure they see it while they still care to. Ever heard of the 5-second rule?

This goes double if it’s a negative or critical post that isn’t directed towards you (meaning, it doesn’t contain: @Barney) but just casually (or scathingly) mentions you and your brand. A toxic comment left to fester in the vast and timeless expanse that is cyberspace can end up doing a lot of damage. Respond quickly and get a handle on the situation.

Social listening tools like Brand24 can help you track down any online mentions of your brand across various platforms so that you can do some damage control. Once you find them, roll up your sleeves, slide off that pedestal, and practice some active listening in your communication. With a little marketing/PR finesse, you can even turn those haters into your brand ambassadors. Situation handled. Like a boss.

2. Don’t delete other people’s comments

Social Media Marketing Etiquette: Top Do's & Don'ts to Win Over Your Audience

There is a difference between constructive criticism and Troll-like behavior. Let your audience be the judge of that. Leaving negative comments up and visible will present you in a transparent and unbiased light, which is overwhelmingly preferable to the ultimately unflattering afterglow of false perfection. In other words, your audience will appreciate you for being real with them.

Of course, this is provided that you actually respond to the negativity (except for the Trolls. Maybe don’t respond to the Trolls, that is, unless you have an amazing sense of humor). Respond to the critical comments and show your readers that you are (1) aware about any problems and (2) actively doing something about them and learning from your mistakes.

By being generous with your knowledge and time, actively engaging your readers, responding to comments and mentions quickly, and refraining from deleting other people’s comments, your audience sees that you value them and their time.

Basic etiquette in social media marketing is a key factor in success because it shows that you are someone who listens and also worth listening to.

Keep these do’s and don’ts in mind when you’re marketing on social media to cut through the noise and you’ll find yourself on the path to winning over your audience.

Have any useful tips of your own? Be generous with your knowledge and time and share them with us in the comments section!

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