Hello friends and patients! I don’t know about you, but this whole social media thing seems to be getting out of hand. Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, Instagram, Google +…who can keep them all straight? I decided to do some research on some good guidelines for us to follow when it comes to what goes where and why. So here you go!
Social media can be an important part of your organization, brand, or personal identity. Twitter, Instagram and Facebook have a large reach, and failure to understand the proper etiquette for these platforms can be damaging and embarrassing. It’s a lot of info, but here are some rough guidelines for your social media repertoire:
1. #Don’t #Abuse #Hashtags
Although they’re a convenient way to tag your posts for others to find it, overuse of hashtags is irritating and can come across as spammy. Limit your hashtags to a maximum of three per tweet and only use hashtags that are specific to cities, topics, or events. Avoid using hashtags on Facebook: they don’t work. Facebook currently doesn’t allow for hashtag searches, so they serve no purpose and can irritate your readers.
2. Avoid Posting to Name-Drop
Sending a tweet full of twitter usernames or Facebook friends looks like you’re bragging about how many people you know. Mentioning a few people for a good reason is fine (i.e.: thanking someone or announcing a speaker), but don’t tweet a list of 10 people you just saw at a party. Your followers aren’t interested.
3. InstaDumping is Not a Good Idea
On Instagram, vine or similar sharing sites, try to space out your posts so that users’ feeds aren’t flooded with your content. Over-posting in a short period of time can be tempting when you are
on vacation and find a brief pocket of WiFi access, but don’t assume that your users are interested in having to scroll through 25 beach photos in a row. Curate your best photos and post a maximum of three at a time.
4. Keep Private Messages or Potentially Offensive Content off of Someone’s Facebook Wall
Everyone has different comfort levels regarding what goes on their Facebook wall. Don’t post something potentially private on a friend’s wall unless you know they are comfortable with it being public.
The same goes for links to content that could be considered offensive or polarizing. Just because you and your friends are strong supporters of the Extreme Anti-Vegan and Pro-Bacon Initiative doesn’t mean that they want all their friends or co-workers knowing about views they share in private. Sure, they can delete the post later or adjust their privacy settings: but it’s better to err on the side of caution and share privately.
5. Don’t Post Public @replies
If you’re talking specifically to one person, keep it that way. The whole world doesn’t need to eavesdrop in on your discussions. Tweets like “Hi @username it was great to see you the other day!” aren’t interesting or useful to your followers (See point #2).
If you are having a long back-and-forth conversation on twitter, take it offline to email or DM so that mutual followers aren’t having their feed filled with your conversation. While it may be interesting to you, chances are it’s just clutter to everyone else.
6. Avoid Posting Private Screenshots of Emails or Text Conversations
Screenshots of funny texts or notable emails have become a trend. When you are texting or emailing someone, the assumption is that it’s between the two of you. Posting a screencapped conversation without the other person’s consent is invasive and potentially detrimental to your relationship, whether personal or professional. When in doubt: ask.
7. Twitter is for Tweets; Instagram is for Photos. Resist Cross-Posting
If someone is following you on Instagram, they want to see your photos. They don’t want to see screenshots of messages on notepad, text conversations, or blurry shots of a book passage you’re reading. Use Instagram for photos and leave messages in the text field or for twitter.
Cross-posting a few Instagram shots to Twitter is fine, but make sure you add a relevant caption and you aren’t posting every upload. Chances are that they are already following your Instagram account, so posting twice is redundant.
8. Add an Introduction to Friend Requests
There’s nothing more irritating than a Facebook or LinkedIn request from someone you don’t remember meeting.
If you want to add someone you’ve only met a few times, give a brief introduction and a reminder of when you met. If you haven’t met someone yet and would like to connect, have a good reason and send a message or e-mail before requesting a connection.
As a general rule, save Facebook requests for people you know socially and don’t be offended or persistent if co-workers or business relationships don’t respond to your requests. Everyone has different social media rules and boundaries and they may prefer to keep Facebook for close friends only.
Taking the time to understand social media etiquette and the differences between platforms will ensure follower retention and engagement. Whether it’s your personal account or the voice of your business: ensure you’re following good etiquette and putting your best foot forward!