Social Media Etiquette: Three Tips

ME! LOOK AT ME! OUR BRAND IS AWESOME! MY PERSONAL BRAND IS AWESOME! IT’S ALL ABOUT ME! If this is your current social media branding strategy, it is time for a change, and this is the article for you.

Social media can be a drool inducing outlet for marketers today.  Unobstructed access to the masses and a platform upon which I can blast my message directly to them?  GASP! Can this be true?

Hold your horses!

One of the key pieces of knowledge I have picked up along the way is that social media is a conversation.  Can you remember the last time you had a conversation with someone and all they did was talk about themself?  How enjoyable was that conversation?  Did you look forward to hearing from them again?

The same holds true with social media etiquette. Some out there suggest that for every ten posts you publish, only two of those should be promotional in nature.  The other eight should be industry relevant material, sharing/retweeting other’s posts or commenting on what others have shared.  I like this strategy, and here’s why.

  1. Social Media is a network.   If you are not supporting, cultivating and actively building your network, it won’t grow.  It also means your posts won’t be shared as frequently and you will bore your fans, followers, readers, etc.  Sure, a brand’s number one goal is to drive consumer preference and increase revenues, however, the best brands achieve both these goals while maintaining a real conversation with their customers.  So share other’s posts, respond to your fans, followers or readers, and share frequently.
  2. If you aren’t reading other’s posts, you’re missing out. As we’ve discussed before, social media is a free and incredible tool for capture real time trends like consumer sentiment, consumer preference, industry trends, etc. If you are only posting your brand’s message and walking away, you might as well not even post.  You will miss out on massive amounts of actionable marketing data that can assist in changing brand messaging, identifying new consumer trends, learning what your brand is doing well and maybe not so well.  Most importantly you can make real-time changes in your brand’s promotion without having to wait 3 months for survey data. This is important for individuals looking to build their personal brand and for product brands.
  3. Attention spans are short and immediate gratification is powerful.  Reader’s attention spans are shrinking, and they are bored easily. If you post the same pre-schedule message over and over, or a slightly different variety of this message you are not engaging your audience. Instead you’re are blasting out a message exalting your excellence, which as I mentioned before, is a horrible strategy for engagement. There is a growing trend in social media towards what is known as micro-blogging: super short posts that an audience can quickly grasp and then move on.  Need proof?  Remember the days when blogging in the traditional format was the only outlet for reaching consumers?  Then came Facebook– shorter posts, but still the ability to type unlimited characters.  Next we saw tumblr and Twitter– most of these posts are images with very short text (140 characters or less for Twitter) or either an image alone or short text.  Then came Pinterest.  Who needs words? Just show me a picture of something delicious and I’m hooked on Pinterest “pinning-away” for an hour without looking up.

Every brand will have its own goals and metrics for success, and will use its own strategy to get there. Some will do better than others.  I hope you are able to incorporate these tips into your daily social media routine and I would love to hear from you!  Did they work?  Has your follower engagement increased?  What do your Facebook insights look like now? Keep me posted!

6 thoughts on “Social Media Etiquette: Three Tips

  1. Excellent overview of the need for brands to not only speak like adults but provide value in the message. Consumers are growing consistently wary of brand intervention/listening and future efforts will need to respect the idea of dialogue rather than a selfish pitch. I went a little further than the #smchat in my recent blog post, available here (

    Have a great day!


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