small business social media manners

As you know, we manage small business social media communities for several industry leaders and time-starved entrepreneurs worldwide.

Considering I spend a bucketload of time on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram, I get to see a whole lot of small businesses’ social media “bad manners” in action.

Yep, the Mom in me gets all riled up when bad manners are on display, whether that’s Manini or a business.

Let me preface the etiquette guide by saying that it is NOT a rant in any way. Just a few observations because sometimes, we don’t know any better. We seem XYZ doing something and think it’s okay to do the same.

So, here’s a look a good social media manners for brands and entrepreneurs:

1. Respond to Customer Service Requests and Questions ASAP

According to Jay Baer, 42% of customers expect a response to their complaint in 60 minutes or less. And yet, I’ve seen brands and businesses not respond to complaints, questions and general feedback for days. Yes, days.

With all the brouhaha {love that word!!Makes me feel very British!} over Facebook’s falling reach, Twitter’s lowered engagement and Google+’s ghost town like appearance, I’d expect businesses to up their social media game and that means, responding fast.

Think about it, when a customer walks into a store and makes a complaint, does the manager or supervisor simply walk away and not respond? I think not. So, let’s not do this on social media as well.

Now I can see how this may be a problem when you’re a one-person team. In that case, I’d recommend having a system where you spend less time creating social media updates and instead, spend more time responding and engaging with your community.

2. Don’t Send Mass Requests from Your Personal Profile

So, if you have a massive sale coming up or a mega event, and you want to spread the word about it. Great!! But please don’t use your personal profile to tag people without their permission or worse, post on their profiles or send mass direct messages.

I always say, be social instead of do social. You hate the junk mail that clogs up your mailbox, don’t you? Why would you want to put your community through that online?

Good manners mean asking for permission. So, share on your page or your website about your mega events and have people confirm that you can send them details about those via messages or emails.

3. Don’t Spam People’s Feeds with Sales Links, Photos or Posts

While I’m all for posting regularly and having a consistent social media strategy, I’m also all for not being the ONLY person talking all.the.time.

Flooding people’s feeds on Pinterest, Facebook, Linkedin or Instagram with TONS of posts, links, photos is a big no-no.

Space your posts out.

Create a social media calendar and use it.

4. Don’t Ask People to Like Your Page or Follow You

Would you tell your friends to send you a gift just because you sent them one? I think {and hope!} not!!

Then… why would you do that on social media? I’ve seen and had SO many business owners message my client pages or Twitter profiles, saying “Hey, we’ve liked you… go ahead and like us back. “


This is no good for two reasons:

1. You’ll get someone who is NOT your delight-to-serve customer liking your page or following you and then, not engaging with you at all.

2. Other businesses view you as sort of, for lack of a better word, desperate. So, let’s not do this. Mmkay?

5. Take, Take, Take

As a mom when I take Manini to playdates or to the playground, I often observe kids who only want to take from the others. Their toys, their swing, even, their pets. Not judging anyone here but someone needs to teach those wee ones the art of sharing.

As a small business entrepreneur, if you’re only taking but not giving, sorry to say, but you’re putting bad manners on display.

Like Manini says, “Sharing is caring.” {Sidenote: am sure she’s picked this from the purple dinosaur!}

Let your community see you care about them, share things that they’ll appreciate, value and want more of. Yes, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, be social, stay social.

What do YOU think are some of the small business social media etiquette no-nos?

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