Prior to social media, potential clients would often make buying decisions based on recommendations from family and friends. As long as your business generated positive word of mouth, new clients would arrive with enthusiasm and approval.
Today however, social media has changed the way potential clients seek information and validation about your products and services.
Instead of seeking word-of-mouth from family and friends, potential clients will also perform a search online to find out as much information as possible about your business, your products and services, and other client’s experiences.
Some of this information will be gathered from your website (which you have total control over), but much of it will be gathered from social media.
Your business’s reputation on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are critical to the future success of your business. How you interact with your clients and colleagues on these platforms can establish you as the “go-to expert”, and your business as a “trusted authority”.
This shift in the way potential clients seek out information to make buying decisions has formed a new area of expertise: “Netiquette”, “Techno-etiquette”, or simply “Social Networking Etiquette” is the new skill to develop if you want your business to get a positive reputation online.
Here are some tips to get you started.
Facebook Etiquette Tips
A Facebook business page is where you can offer potential clients a taste of what their experience and interaction with you might be like. It’s a fantastic place to answer questions clients may have, and offer valuable tips and advice that will make them want to try your products and services.
Managing a Facebook business page requires organisation, strategy, and an investment of your time. You may not see results immediately, but if you persist and continue to post content that your audience can benefit from, results will come.
Here is a screenshot of the Executive Impressions Facebook page.
Here are my top three etiquette tips for Facebook.
1. Post content on a regular and scheduled basis.
All businesses should have a social media schedule. In your social media schedule, at a minimum you should aim to post on your business Facebook page at least once a week. This is a minimum amount you should aim for. Personally, I would recommend you to post at least 2-3 times in a week. That way you keep your audience engaged and they don’t forget about you. What do you include in your posts?
2. Take care of basic spelling, punctuation, and grammar.
Whether you’re interacting with others in-person or online, you must remain professional in all your interactions. Before you hit “post” or “schedule”, double-check your spelling, grammar, and punctuation in your posts. If you pick up an error once you’ve hit “post”, then use the “edit” function to correct that error.
3. Reply to each person who takes the time to comment on your page.
Responding and thanking each person who interacts with you in a positive manner will show not only that person, but every member of your Facebook community that you are responsive, thoughtful and hold your clients in high regard.
Twitter Etiquette Tips
Twitter is a fantastic social media platform to connect with others and expand your social media presence in a rapid way. It allows you to easily spread your expertise and knowledge in 140 characters or less to people from all corners of the globe. In my experience, information spreads much faster on Twitter than on any other social media platform.
I often use Twitter to share quick etiquette tips to my followers. As a business owner, you can use Twitter to share tips and advice about your products and services, answer questions your customers may have, and spread word about upcoming events or new products and services that you offer.
Here is a screenshot of the Executive Impressions Twitter profile.
Here are my top three etiquette tips for Twitter:
1. When people Retweet (RT) your tweets, thank them.
If people love what you have posted on Twitter, they will often pass your Tweet on to their followers through a Retweet. This is a warm gesture and should be followed up with a short “Thank you”. Try something like “@[username] Thanks so much for sharing!”
2. When you share information or links from another website, credit the source and the original author using an @mention.
People love to know that their knowledge and expertise is being shared on Twitter. They highly dislike finding out their work is being shared by others and they’re not being credited for it. Intellectual property is a hot topic online. Respect the time and energy people put into their work and always credit the creator. How do you credit appropriately? When you share somebody else’s work, graciously acknowledge that person with a message such as “Great read via @[username]”, or “@[username] loved your article”.
3. Use the Direct Message (“DM”) function for private messages.
If you have something private to say to somebody on Twitter, such as exchanging e-mail addresses or a question you don’t want to be public, it’s best to send a DM instead. Likewise, if somebody has sent you a DM on Twitter, they probably want to keep the conversation private, so make sure you respond using the DM function, too.
LinkedIn Etiquette Tips
LinkedIn is a online professional networking platform where you, as a business owner, can showcase your professional experience, expertise, interests, and you can even share professional updates and industry news with your connections.
LinkedIn is a fantastic way to stay connected with those you meet at networking events. LinkedIn operates on a higher level of trust than Twitter and Facebook so it’s important to make sure your profile looks professional and trustworthy.
Here is a screenshot of my LinkedIn profile.
Here’s my top three etiquette tips for LinkedIn:
1. Use a professional profile picture of yourself.
People who see your LinkedIn profile may be thinking about becoming a client of your business. With a professional profile picture, you will make them feel confident in your ability as a service or product provider. It’s not necessary to invest in a professional photographer. Simply put on a business shirt or a business jacket, and have a friend take a photo for you. Avoid photos that were taken at a weekend party or at the beach.
2. Personalise your message when you send somebody a request to connect.
Whenever you request to connect with somebody on LinkedIn, LinkedIn will automatically fill out the message area in your request. You should always delete this automatic message and write a short personalised message yourself. Write something like, “Hi [name], I enjoyed speaking with you at the networking event yesterday. Let’s connect on LinkedIn. Best, [name]”.
3. Share industry articles you think others will enjoy.
This is a great way to start interacting more with your LinkedIn connections. Sharing industry information and knowledge is greatly appreciated in the LinkedIn community and can really enhance your relationship with those whom you’ve only met briefly.
Social Media Etiquette Golden Rule
I’d like to leave you with my golden rule of social media etiquette: if you don’t want to see your post appear on the front page of your local newspaper, then don’t put it online.
Click to Tweet: What goes online, stays online, and will be forever accessible.
Many people have been highly embarrassed or even fired because of inappropriate posts on social media. No doubt this will continue to happen in the future, but please make sure that it does not happen to you.
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