Social media etiquette for brands: the do’s and don’ts

T

here is a big misconception people often have when it comes to social media for brands and businesses.

For some reason, many assume the rules of social media — and thus, the etiquette — are drastically different when posting from a business account. While there is subtle truth to that, the general rules of social media are the same for everyone. It is time to get familiar with the social media etiquette for brands.

In this article, we will share with you five do’s and don’ts of social media for brands and explain the reasoning behind them.

Though this article aims to help social media managers of brand and business accounts, they also hold true for private users as well, so if you are trying to build your personal brand and are in need of tips on how to adjust your social media strategy — be sure to read on!

Social media etiquette do’s:

Find a brand voice – and stick to it

This one is vitally important. Before you start tweeting, uploading your photos to Instagram or sharing updates on Facebook — make sure you’ve given a lot of thought to what your brand voice should sound like.

Are you a large, serious company? Are your followers equally serious business people? Your brand voice needs to reflect that. Not everyone can get away with posting memes, .gifs and emojis on their social media, but not everyone is supposed to, either.

If your social media team consists of more than one person, make sure each member of the team is on board and fully understands what the “personality” of your brand is like.

Hashtag responsibly

Hashtags are an important part of every single social media site these days so it is somewhat rare to see brands opting not to use them in their social media posts, but it happens.

It shouldn’t, however — there is absolutely no reason not to use hashtags in your social media posts. Hashtags are an asset and you should make the most of them — just remember to not go overboard! This means you should feel comfortable hashtagging most of your social media posts, just remember to make sure to do it responsibly!

Use only hashtags that make sense in the context of your tweets. Trying to jump on the bandwagon of trending hashtags isn’t a great idea unless you are posting content that is actually relevant to the discussion. Also, be aware of the customs of the website you are posting on. Your tweets don’t need more than three hashtags, but your Instagram images can benefit from using fifteen to twenty of them. To hashtag correctly you need to learn what works on each of the social media networks you are using.

If you are not sure which hashtags to use with your posts, check out or in-depth article on the subject, ”A hashtag a day — Popular hashtags and how to use them”, in which we explain how you can easily find relevant hashtags to tag your content with, as well as give you some tips on which tools you can use to get even more out of your hashtag strategy!

Engage your audience

The worst thing you can do on any social media website, whether you are posting from your personal account or an account you manage for your company, is constantly broadcast to your followers rather than engaging with them.

It’s simple, really. Nobody likes a brag and you surely don’t want your brand to be like one of those people who only ever talks about themselves. When we meet such people in real life, we tend to avoid them — and we do the same exact thing online.

If your goal is to build a loyal following of people who care about your brand you can’t merely broadcast. You need to engage.

How? It really isn’t so difficult! Merely remember to treat your followers as people — not just potential customers. You can do this by:

    • Resharing their content
    • Commenting on their social media posts
    • Answering any questions they may have
    • Liking and favoriting their posts

All of these come naturally to the majority of social media users, so why do some brands fail to do it? Who knows! One thing is for certain, brands who practice engaging with their audiences receive more engagement and more growth than those who don’t.

Experiments with times to post

Many social media “ninjas” and “mavens” will claim they know the perfect time of day to post on any social media. There are countless of blog posts and articles available online, each of them suggesting specific hours in which you should be posting on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and other social media networks.

Don’t go ahead and blindly trust those.

As it stands, there is no one “perfect time” to post. It is simply impossible to blanket every industry and the entire world under the same timestamp. So — take matters into your own hands.

Spend a couple of weeks posting at different times of the day and see how much engagement you get with each post. Very soon you will see what works for your brand and what doesn’t.

Provide value

Whatever your social media strategy is — always remember to provide value to your audience. Don’t half-ass your social media efforts and always make sure to listen to your fans and followers. Pay attention to which content they seem to respond the best to and make sure to deliver plenty of it.

Do your followers love behind the scene photos from your office? Share more of them! Perhaps they enjoy reading good articles? Curate educational and helpful articles on the topics relevant to your niche. Do they have questions about your product or the industry you are in? Do a Q&A, or write a couple of articles answering those questions. As long as you provide value, your social media reach will grow at a steady pace.

Social media etiquette don’ts:

Don’t automate everything

As your social media accounts grow (or perhaps — in order to get them to grow) you will get to a point where you will consider automating some of your social media activities.

Be it scheduling posts or using an IFTTT recipe, sooner or later you will come to a point where automating some of your social media tasks will just make sense. Soon after, once you’ve tasted the sweet benefits of automation you might be tempted to go ahead and automate everything.

When you feel yourself coming to this point just stop, take a deep breath… And don’t do it.

Automation is great, but when we automate too much of our social media — it stops being, well, social.

Automated DMs (Twitter Direct Messages) are a prime example of automation going too far. There are many apps out there that can help you send out automated messages to each new follower you gain on Twitter. But just because you can — should you?

We advise against it. The majority of Twitter users dislike this practice and won’t even read auto DMs. Those that do will more often than not be annoyed by them.

Going overboard with automation is bad form. It’s as simple as that.

Don’t be negative

Whenever possible, try to avoid being a Debbie Downer. You don’t want your followers to associate you with bad news or bad attitude. Be cheerful and approachable — and you will see people happily engaging with your brand.

It is no accident that the top 10 most popular hashtags on Instagram are all overwhelmingly positive words, after all!

Don’t copy/paste across networks

So you’ve crafted a witty Tweet and you decided to cross-post it to Facebook as well. Or maybe you’ve taken a cool photo and you posted in on Instagram. And Snapchat. And Pinterest, and of course — Facebook!

That might not be such a great idea.

While it’s perfectly understandable you want to share your quality content across all of your social media sites, doing it without tailoring it to fit each individual network could result in some grumpy followers. Instead of delighting your audience with something interesting you could annoy them by forcing them to see the exact same post on a couple of different channels, all on the same day.

When sharing something on different social media sites, make sure you adjust the content and copy accordingly.

Don’t tag for no reason

Tagging can be a great way to call attention to your photo or an article, and as long as your tag is justified, most people will be thankful for the nod. On the other hand, mindlessly tagging heaps of people is spammy and won’t net you any love from the people you’ve unnecessarily tagged. Quite the opposite — it will make you look pushy, rude and as if you have no idea how the feature should be used properly.

Save your tags for people who have in some way or the other contributed to the content you are posting. If you are sharing an article, it is okay to tag the person who wrote it. Less okay is tagging 12 random people to a photo you are sharing on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook for no reason other than to get them to pay attention to you. It’s childish and will reflect badly on you and your brand.

Don’t buy followers

Don’t ever do this. It is the number one mistake many people (and brands!) make, and it is utterly ridiculous. Why? Mostly because nothing valuable really comes from it.

While your follower count might get high — your engagement rate will still be low and that is exactly what you don’t want!

Engagement is a social media metric you should care the most about. On Facebook, pages with low engagement rates are destined to slowly die off, as Facebook algorithm favors pages with high engagement rates. On Instagram and Twitter, the number of followers you have means nothing if they are all fake accounts who will never like, share or comment on your posts. And are you aware how easy it is to spot fake followers thanks to web apps such as twitteraudit.com?

If you need more convincing not to buy followers for your social media accounts, here goes: Buying followers and likes on any social media network is against the terms of service, and could get your accounts terminated if (or rather, when) found out.

To wrap it up

Your social media followers are your assets. They are the fans of your brand, your past customers, your brand ambassadors and even potential future customers! Treat them with respect they deserve by following the social media etiquette tips we’ve provided in this article and you will see your audiences responding favorably.

We know you must be eager to try out the tips we’ve shared with you today. Go on, try them out! Let us know how these tips worked for you. You can Tweet us @WalleryAppHQ.

Let’s get social!

Ines Anić

Social media expert at Walleryapp
Interested in all things social, Ines is our go-to person when it comes to new trends in social media. When she isn't blogging for Wallery she can usually be found gaming.
21 articles

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