Social Media Etiquette

Social Media Etiquette

Did you read about the owner of a diner in Maine who yelled at a child in her restaurant and then filled her business’ Facebook page with expletive accented posts defending her actions? My gosh, I hope not. It was crazy. I swear, not all Mainers are like that. Sadly, though, it did make national news in the US.

Social Media Etiquette

While this is an extreme example of poor social media etiquette, it is something that we all need to be on guard about. We’re all human; we all get mad or impatient or lazy. Here are three pitfalls to avoid as you try to conduct your business social media pages courteously:

Taking Controversy Too Far

Controversy gets views. How many times have I seen that in business advice articles? That viewpoint might be a little too bottom line for some, but in perhaps nobler terms, controversy can open good and important discussions if thoughtfully conducted. Controversy is not the enemy, and indeed, it can keep people engaged with your business. What you don’t want to do is get emotionally involved in a controversial subject on social media, especially when it’s your business page. Personally, I would gravitate towards topics about which I haven’t yet formed a strong opinion. This can help prevent the discussion from being disingenuous or becoming my soapbox. Also, stick to subjects of interest to your target audience.

Marcy’s Diner may be known to a lot more people since the controversy over the screaming toddler; people who are annoyed by the noise of children may even consider this good press and decide to check it out. Since I rarely go out without my children and my children are not always well behaved, I will not be going there. Not all views are good views.

Failure to Respond Appropriately

The biggest thing that businesses do that annoys me as a consumer is a failure to respond at all. If you post questions and start discussions, someone needs to be following them. If you are a very small business, that person might be you.

What do you do if you get a bad review? Certainly most business owners don’t attack the reviewer, but plenty of them don’t respond at all. A positive response trying to correct the problem goes a LONG way.

Taking Without Giving

I’ve written before, briefly, about offering customers lots of good content before asking them to do (ahem, buy) anything. When it comes to social media, focus on having an interesting, beautiful, funny page or thread. Tell stories–particularly with service related businesses, I love to read about customer success stories; these bring healthy attention to the business but are interesting and focused outward rather than inward. Do NOT fill your thread with post after post of things you are selling. I’ve certainly been guilty of this. I’ve certainly been the victim of this, too, with many well-meaning, hard-working friends trying to sell me things.

In the end, etiquette online and in person is not that different, though there might be certain associated conventions that come and go with ever-changing culture. Be kind. Treat others as you want to be treated. Be patient. Be there.

What etiquette tips would you add for use on social media?

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