Tuesday 3 July 2012

5 Do's And 5 Don'ts In Social Media

Social Media
An article on social media etiquette by James SP: Engaging in social media for the first time can be daunting, especially if you are trying to promote a certain brand or company. It can be difficult to get the tone as well as content right and there's no guarantee as to how other social media users will respond to your output.

I found this out the hard way when I was running a social media account for a Southern California car title loans company. At first the account got a lot of flack, with many users reinforcing the negative stereotypes about car title loans, payday loans and other similar short-term loan types.

Fortunately though, I was able to save the account from an untimely death by researching social media etiquette and by figuring out how best to respond in these tricky situations. I discovered that social media is no easy affair, but rather something that requires a great deal of skill and tact.

Based on my research and professional experience, here are 5 do's and 5 don'ts essential for success in social media:

Do Interact

Interaction is one of the most important elements of succeeding in social media. Interact as much as possible and don't let users' questions or queries go unanswered. Users will appreciate your feedback and feel more personally connected with your brand and with the message you are promoting.

Do Integrate Multimedia

Make your content interesting by integrating as much multimedia as possible. Experiment with sound bites and post links to videos or even create your own videos. Incorporating multimedia into your page will give your brand or business page a competitive edge, and help it stand out from the crowd.

Do Stay Calm in a Crisis

It may feel terrifying if you suddenly lose a huge number of social media followers or receive a bad reaction to something you posted, but all is rarely lost. Expect some unforeseen bumps in the road and be ready to deal with them in a calm and professional manner. Virtually all social media accounts receive some level of unwanted attention or negative feedback, but this doesn't have to stop it being a success in the long run.

Do Update Your Content Regularly

A social media account that isn't updated on a regular basis will often result in a loss of followers and a general lack of interest and engagement from its remaining members. Try to update your account several times a week or ideally on a daily basis. This allows you to see what works and what doesn't, and what tactics get the biggest response.

Do Be Concise

Keep your content as concise as possible. Don't hide the message you are trying to promote deep within your content, most will fail to see it. Use direct, concise language that immediately gets to the heart of what you are trying to convey. If you are unsure how to do this, look to sites and books that teach you which words and phrases work best in marketing and online.

Don't Post Personal Information

Feel free to post contact details for the company or brand you are promoting, but don't post your individual contact details. This isn't just dangerous, but will likely look a bit weird. Try and keep the contact information you post as professional as possible.

Don't Be Dishonest

Just like with online dating sites, it can be all too easy to get lost in cyber-world and publish social media content that is over exaggerated or even completely made up. However, social media users tend to be pretty savvy, and will easily pick up on your fibs. Of course you can write about your product or business in a positive way, but always be honest and avoid fabrication at all costs.

Don't Have Easily Guessable Passwords

Don't underestimate the power of social media hackers. Getting your social media account hacked or even deleted by these hackers isn't unusual, so make sure you have a password that isn't easily guessed. Also make sure you change your password regularly and don't send password/login details to other colleagues via unsecure networks.

Don't Let Just Anyone Write Your Content

A surprising amount of people have yet to realize the importance of good social media copy, and are all too happy to hand over posting duties to the intern with little supervision. Failure to effectively manage social media accounts is never a good idea, and neither is passing on its responsibilities to someone that is under-qualified. If you can't fit in writing the content yourself, put someone in charge that has experience writing high quality, professional copy.

Don't Publish Anything Iffy

If you want to publish something but you're not sure how it will go over with other social media users, check with your coworkers before publishing. The last thing you want to do is be blamed for publishing something controversial, so get a general consensus before you post anything that could be an issue.

As you can clearly see, managing and engaging in social media isn't as simple as it looks. Time, patience and a resilient attitude is required to make social media work. Take all of the above suggestions into consideration and social media will likely do wonders for your product or company.

Do you like this article? Do you have any social media tips to share? Please let me know by leaving your valued comments below.

Related articles:
Building Your Business With Social Media
The 10 Basic Rules Of Social Media Marketing
Top 14 Benefits Of Social Media Marketing
How To Use Facebook For Your Small Business
9 Tips For More Effective Facebook Marketing

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Until my next post on Friday, enjoy the rest of the week and Happy 4th of July (Independence Day) to everyone in the United States.


  1. Good advice here, I would think. I totally agree that if you want to publish something that you think might be potentially iffy, then run it by others lest you get yourself and the business into trouble. I have known this to happen before not only on a website but on a twitter and facebook thread too!

    1. Like you Claire, I have seen this happen and the consequences it can have on a business can be catastrophic not to mention hard to rectify.

      Thank you as always Claire for leaving a comment.

  2. Yet another great post on your blog.
    Very in depth and well informed. Most people seem to think social media is just sitting on Facebook all day promoting your business or product; when in actually, it's a far more personal and involving experience.

    1. I'm happy that you enjoyed the post Mili and yes, interaction is the key.

  3. Great article Derek. My no. 1 peeve it those who hound others to purchase their product, follow their cause or making it the end all of their work to have others 'follow' them, none of which you ever do; you are too ethical! Appreciate your work as always even though we haven't talked for a while.

    1. Thank you so much Elizabeth for your kind words. We must have a talk soon as it has been quite a while since we last chatted. Hope you are keeping well.


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