Social Media Etiquette for Businesses
4 min read

Social Media Etiquette for Businesses

Social Media Etiquette for Businesses

By: Nikith Deo


Social Media is a powerful tool for businesses. While in some sports you can win by playing dirty, with social media marketing it is best to follow basic etiquette. This ensures that you don't end up posting something controversial. Here are a few helpful tips to follow to improve your social media etiquette.

Social Media Etiquette Tips

1. Research your followers before interacting with them

It's important to know WHO is interacting with your content on a daily basis. Ask yourself WHY someone would visit your social media page and think about WHAT they would want to see. Knowing your audience can help you determine what is an appropriate tone to use while posting. Once you know enough about your audience you can confidently interact with their content. Liking, commenting, and sharing are a good start!

Here's an example of Eggo humorously interacting with a follower. They know their audience. They can get away with posting things like this.

2. Address negative comments quickly

Nobody likes negative comments, however, the quicker you address them, the better you look. The more gracefully you address the negativity the better you look. Responding to negative comments shows that you care. If you ignore them, your followers will think you are not committed to making a change. Agorapulse and Talkwalker are two tools that you can use to monitor any mentions of your brand on social media. This way, you can stay updated about what people are saying and respond to any negative comments in a timely manner.

UPS did a great job addressing this negative comment, especially when the issue was not their fault. Notice how they made their point while remaining cool even while being called incompetent.

3. Post to add value

Don't post just for the sake of posting, unless your audience allows you to get away with it. Fast food companies can get away with frequent nonsensical posts because they are not expected to provide any value other than nourishment. For most other businesses, this is not the case.

According to CoSchedule, here’s how often you should be posting on different social media platforms:

  • Facebook – 1 post per day
  • Twitter – 15 tweets per day
  • LinkedIn – 1 post per day
  • Instagram – 1-2 posts per day
  • Pinterest – 11 pins per day

These numbers are the maximum number of posts you can get away with, NOT how many you should be posting each day. One tweet that adds value is more powerful than 15 that are meaningless.

Ellevest did a great job here of posting something that adds value to their audience. You can tell by the comments that this post was appreciated.

4. Don't add too many hashtags

Posts with too many hashtags look unprofessional and spammy. Try sticking to 2-3 hashtags max per post. Any more and you appear overly desperate. If you have branded hashtags, on Instagram you can include those as part of your post and include any additional hashtags as a comment.

Here's an example of including extra hashtags in the comments. Impactkitchen got away with using 11 hashtags in a post! However, you only see 2 as part of the actual post. This way they are not detracting from the post content and still look professional.

5. Play Nice!

Some companies, like those in the "#chickensandwichwars", can get away with roasting each other on social media. These are exceptions! Many brands that post roasts end up in sticky PR situations. These are best avoided by staying out of any drama. Don't insult competitors or other brands on your page and don't post links to your business on your competitor’s pages.

Here's an example of Wendy's and Popeyes feuding on Twitter. Both companies are gaining publicity from doing this and probably won't sue each other. Even if they end up getting sued, they probably have enough money to defend themselves.

Only play dirty if you can handle the consequences.


Following social media etiquette rules keep your brand looking professional on social media. As marketing agencies, there's a good chance that you won't be able to get away with some of the posts fast food companies make. Be sure to keep these tips in mind for the next time you post on social media.

About the Author

Nikith Deo is the Digital Marketing intern for Sparrow Marketing. He is a senior marketing student at San Jose State University.

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