Social Media Magazine

The Miss Manners Guide to Social Media Etiquette, Part 2: What to Do

Posted on the 26 January 2012 by Kpcreative @kpcreativeltd

Last time we talked about three no-no’s of social media. To recap, those were:

  • Plagiarism is bad, so don’t steal other people’s posts.
  • Don’t follow just to get people to follow you.
  • Don’t unfollow just because those aforementioned people didn’t follow you back right away.

Now that we’ve covered what you don’t do, it’s time to discuss what you do do. (Yes, do do. Any Friends fans out there?) Without further ado, we’ll dive right in.

The Miss Manners Guide to Social Media Etiquette, Part 2: What to Do

If you're on social media, it's time to get social! (Image: SXC

1. Socialize… Really, you’re supposed to.

It’s called social media for a reason: Because you’re supposed to be social! You aren’t the only one out there posting (hopefully) important information. Your fans and followers want you to read their stuff, too. You take the time to pick out the best information to share, and so do they. Take some time to go through other people’s tweets and Facebook posts every day, sharing a few with your own followers (remember to give the original poster credit!) and writing thoughtful comments on others.

You don’t have to post solely about business… In fact, you shouldn’t. This is a chance for you to let your sparkling personality… well, sparkle! Show interest in your fans’ problems, interests, and opinions. Ask your followers questions and share short anecdotes. Post funny videos that have nothing to do with your company. The more you act like a real person, the more you show that it’s not all about you, the more likely people will interact with you, too. That means more website hits, blog subscribers, and ultimately more clients.


2. Be polite.

Remember what your parents said: Please and thank you are our friends. They didn’t mean that literally, of course (who has friends named Please and Thank You, anyway?). If someone starts following you, shares your post or writes on your wall, show your appreciation. That doesn’t mean you should respond each time with a “Thank you for following me” or “Thanks for sharing my blog post.” Not only is that boring, but it’s obvious you didn’t put any thought into your response.

If people are sharing your posts, they must find them interesting. This is a great way to start a conversation (read: interact). Ask them what they found most interesting or helpful, recommend another resource for more information, even commiserate with them (something like “I know, can you believe that?”). Show them that you appreciate their loyalty and want them to stick around.

And don’t forget about our other friend, “Please.” If you want some kind of reaction — for someone to answer a question, to share or retweet your post, to respond with their opinions, etc. — please say please. When you want something from your social media friends, just ask… but remember to be polite! A little please and thank you can go a long way.


3. Give the people what they want!

Your fans and followers have connected you for some reason, right? They want something from you — be it knowledge, a connection, or free stuff. So give it to them. Give the people what they want!

What they want depends on your focus and what kind of audience you’re attracting, but suffice it to say, it should be something useful to them. Useful, or free. Free stuff always works wonders (but more on that at a later date).If you spend at least 80% of the time giving something to your audience, and the rest of the time sharing information about yourself or your business, I’d say you’re in pretty good shape. It’s those people who are constantly pushing their products and services on you: Every single tweet is “Visit my website” or “Buy this wiggidy gidget.” (In fact, that is my No. 1 reason why I won’t follow someone back.) Guess what? If you’re going to push your wiggidy gidgets on me all the live-long day, I am going to un-follow you. And I’ll probably un-fan you, too, because I am just that irritated.

Bottom line is, remember it’s not all about you — it’s all about them. That’s what customer service is all about, right?


The Miss Manners Guide to Social Media Etiquette, Part 2: What to Do

Energize your followers by asking them to do something, even if it's as simple as clicking "Like." (Image: SXC

4. Create calls to action.

We know that everyone wants something, and you’re no different. You want to get something out of social media; otherwise you wouldn’t be there in the first place. Deciding what you want to get out of social is the first step — before you even set up your Facebook page or send that first tweet.

Once you’ve decided what you want, and you’ve got some fans and followers who are happy with your content, ask them for something. It may be as simple a request as “Please RT!” or asking them to connect with you on Facebook too. Ask them questions, invite them to share their own Facebook or Twitter pages, encourage them to post pictures or videos and interact. (But don’t forget our friends, Please and Thank You!) You might be surprised at the response you get. Sometimes all people need is a nudge in the right direction.


5. Respond… and do it quickly.

The Miss Manners Guide to Social Media Etiquette, Part 2: What to Do

If your fans & followers are engaged, they're going to talk to you. Talk back! (Image: SXC

If you’re smart (or lucky) enough to have an engaged community, then you’ve got it made in the shade. If a particular post resonates with your fans, they will want to start some kind of conversation. Make sure you are involved!

Now, I know you’re busy and probably can’t be on your computer or smartphone 24/7 (psshaw!), but don’t ignore your fans for long. They’ll get bored and leave. In a world of instant gratification, it’s all about timing, and if yours is off, your fans will quickly lose interest. Make a commitment to yourself and your community that, barring a natural disaster or some kind of epic event (which, of course, you will later share with your followers), you will respond to questions and comments within X hours. (You fill in the blank on that one.)

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