The 14 Social Media Etiquette Rules You Are Breaking

Most people have a decent understanding of proper social etiquette around other people. There are just things you don’t do. It could be seen as rude, it could be disrespectful, and most people don’t want to offend someone in their daily social interactions. It’s the same way on social media. There are certain actions that are considered inappropriate and poor social media etiquette, so you should do your best to avoid breaking those etiquette rules yourself.

Businesses who break social media etiquette rules can sometimes get more flak for it than the average social media user. Because users have an understanding of why businesses are using social media (to market their business) social media users hold them to a higher standard if they are going to coexist in their online social space. Therefore social media etiquette for business is essential to your business’ reputation and the success of your social media marketing campaigns.

That’s why we’ve put together this list of 14 social media etiquette do’s and don’ts for people and businesses to keep from stumbling into a social media faux pas.  

The 14 Social Media Etiquette Do’s and Don’ts:

Social Media Etiquette Do’s:

  1. Make small steps to personalize social media post comments, replies, and messages.
  2. Try to use proper spelling and grammar to ensure the message is clear and easy to read.
  3. Always apologize for any mistakes made in a social media post. It’s okay to make mistakes, but it’s not okay to ignore them or act like they didn’t happen.
  4. Like any social media posts that you choose to share. Yes, I know that you are conveying that you appreciated the post by sharing it, but it’s a small polite gesture to also like the original post.
  5. Engage with comments on your posts. If someone took the time to comment on your social media post, return the favor and engage with them. Engagement is the whole point of being on social media.
  6. Include photos and videos! People love pictures, GIFs, and videos so if it’s relevant for your social media post to include a visual addition then don’t hesitate to do so.
  7. Use hashtags and mentions in your social media posts. Just keep in mind that any hashtags or mentions you use need to be relevant to your post. And keep the number of hashtags to a minimum, 1-5 hashtags at most.

Social Media Etiquette Don’ts:

  1. Post multiple times within five minutes to an hour. Posting many times on social media within a short period of time comes off as odd, possibly a cry for attention, and reflects poorly on the user posting.
  2. Write each message ENTIRELY IN CAPITAL LETTERS. There is a certain way people interpret online text when they don’t have the ability to hear the message in the tone or style the author intended. So when a message is in all caps, most online social media users interpret that as yelling or screaming. And even if you are intending to shout every word of every message you post on social media, there aren’t many people who want to listen to a person shout all day.
  3. Telling people to like your post or follow your page in your social media post. It is tasteless to tell people to do something on social media, such as share your post, or like your post, when it’s their choice to like or share a post on social media. 
  4. Replying with the exact same message to multiple social media posts. If on a personal social media account someone responded to congratulations for a birthday, new job, or engagement with the same “Thanks so much!” for each of the 10+ comments, it comes off as less genuine. If a business replied to multiple customer grievances on social media with the same “We’re sorry you’re unhappy with your experience.” for each comment, it would not only appear less genuine, it would also likely aggravate the customer further.
  5. Deleting friends or followers because they said or posted something that was different than what you believe. This also applies to deleting any comments or posts by other social media users that you didn’t like. This is especially important for businesses because there are many tools out there for tracking social media and what would look worse, that your business received a rude comment on a post, or that your business deleted the comment?
  6. Buying social media followers. This is pretty self-explanatory. It is sleazy to have to buy followers on social media and says a lot more about the business than a business’ follower count on social media ever could.
  7. Using social media posts to push your products or services on people. That’s not what social media is for. When brands, businesses, and even consumers share social media posts that are overly salesy, it’s a huge turnoff for their followers. 

For the most part, social media etiquette is common sense just like face-to-face social norms. If you think about what you’re planning to post on social media and feel it could come off as rude, impersonal, or offensive, then it probably will. What are some of the social media etiquette rules that rub you the wrong way? Let us know!

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