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

It can be hard deciphering what works and doesn’t work when it comes to the beast that is social media marketing. This beast can be your best friend or become your worst enemy just as quick.

Thanks to social media, businesses rely on the opinions of customers now more than ever before. So how do we tame this social media beast?

Well…you don’t. But you can learn to ride the waves. Here’s a quick guide for navigating through the treacherous waters of social media marketing.

The DOs

Set clearly defined goals.

Setting goals provides focus, both big picture and on a smaller scale. Big picture goals can be broken down into smaller, specific tasks. Completing each task builds momentum towards reaching a bigger goal.

Keep these goals S.M.A.R.T.,

Specific: This is your why. Your purpose.

Measurable: Making sure a goal is measurable means making sure there is a clear point in which it is achieved. Rather than saying, “I want to increase sales,” think more along the lines of, “I want to increase profit margins by 10%.”

Achievable: Breaking big goals down into smaller, more manageable goals can make a huge task seem a little less intimidating.

Relevant: Be realistic with your current resources. Avoid setting yourself up for disappointment with unattainable, far-fetched goals. Reach for the stars, by all means! But keep it simple and gain momentum from there.

Time-bound: Set a time limit for your goals. It’s also a great way to keep goals organized. For example, having goals separated into days, weeks, months, years, etc.

But remember, goals don’t work unless you take the time to review, reflect on, and renew them.

RELATED: Questions to Ask Yourself When Starting a Business

Engage engage engage.

Have a call to action to encourage participation in posts. Reply to comments. Comment on other profiles’ posts.

There are lots of ways to create an open line of communication between you and your audience, just be sure you’re doing it.

RELATED: More Ways to Engage Your Followers

Be authentic.

Engagement is great but without authenticity, it can come off a little spammy.

If you really love a post tell them, but don’t force yourself to comment on everything you see just for the heck of it.

Sure, be kind and professional. But most of all, be real.

Listen to your audience.

Social media is a great tool to get to know your audience. Monitor their feedback. Ask them questions and take their answers into consideration.

Showing your followers that their opinions matter is a good way to turn them into loyal customers.

Consistently update profiles.

Review, revise, repeat!

As you become an Instagram algorithm whisperer and influencer marketing guru (thanks to this blog and your keen business sense) chances are you will pick up on some strategies to optimize your social media profiles along the way.

Take advantage of this newfound wisdom and update accordingly.

Post regularly.

This might be obvious but it’s even more important with the evolution of the Instagram algorithm. A decrease in activity means a decrease in exposure to a larger audience.

Consistently post a variety of content, from pictures to videos to stories to boomerangs to whatever they come out with next.

RELATED: Social Media Content Ideas for Businesses

Measure results.

How do you know if something is working or not unless you’re measuring the results? Take advantage of the business insight tool on Instagram.

Find out when your target audience is most active online. Figure out who your target audience is if you aren’t sure. Instagram insights can tell you what percent of your followers fall in specific age ranges.

Take the time to learn basic social media analytics and you’ll have even more ways to measure your progress.

RELATED: Our Favorite Apps for Social Media Analytics



Blast generic messages.

“Get yours today!”

“Hurry before they’re all gone!”

“Take advantage of this exciting offer while it lasts!”

Boooooring. If people know anything about marketing, these cheap, fear-of-loss tactics rarely work anymore. Actually, they have a tendency to backfire when used in excess. It gives off a virtual door-to-door salesman vibe which is a quick way to get a virtual door slammed in your face.

Having a call-to-action statement is effective, but that doesn’t mean it has to be a generic, gimmicky one.

You can ask about their favorite holiday memories. Or their first experience visiting your restaurant. Focus on THEM and building relationships. The rest unfolds organically.

Use pompous language.

No one likes feeling like they’re being belittled. Using superfluous language doesn’t make you look smart. It makes people lose interest before they finish reading the first overinflated sentence.

Write how you speak rather than getting too hung up on perfect grammar and vocabulary.

Sure, correct spelling is nice but so is keeping the attention of your followers.

Be pushy.

Please for the love of all that is decent, do not blow up DMs or repeatedly tag followers in promotional flyers on social media. It sucks and no one likes it.

It makes sense to post content promoting your business but there are few ways to get blocked faster than when you start getting all spammy on your followers.

Spread yourself too thin.

Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, Whatsapp, Pinterest, Snapchat, Youtube, Linkedin, The list goes on and on.

It can be a lot for one person, or even a team, to manage. If you are juggling managing a business AND your social media, we suggest focusing on 1 to 2 platforms, 3 MAX.

Focus only on promoting.

Why did you start a business? Paying the bills is nice, but is that the only reason?

How does your product or service benefit others? Do you donate a portion of sales to a charitable cause? Are you involved in your local community? What are your company values?

Most of the time when people follow business pages, they don’t always want to hear about the latest product or promotion. They want to see behind the scenes what the company is all about. And social media is the perfect opportunity to do just that.

People pay attention to authenticity and originality. Do you and your followers a favor by thinking outside of the box when it comes to your social media content.

Delete negative comments.

Let’s face it. People like to talk smack online. Something about a screen and an entire virtual world separating them from you suddenly makes them very bold when describing their experience.

Negative comments and reviews come with the territory of being a business owner. You can never make EVERYONE happy. But unless they are profane, vulgar, or threatening, Don’t ignore them. And definitely don’t delete them!

Respond with humility and professionalism. Genuinely try to understand their point of view. Take the opportunity to improve as a business.

Potential customers scoping out reviews will have much more respect for a business who takes criticism gracefully and owns up to a mistake rather than one who gets defensive and ignores potential issues.

Social media can be a finicky beast.

But try not to sweat it too much. At the end of the day no matter what you post or don’t post, word-of-mouth advertising is still the most effective way to keep your business booming.

Trying to figure out how to encourage customers to tell their friends and family about your business?

We can help with that.


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