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Eight Dos and Don’ts of Social Media Etiquette

Eight Dos and Don’ts of Social Media Etiquette

In this day and age, proper etiquette is more than just sending thank you notes in a timely fashion or using the correct fork at a fancy dinner. For the business world, etiquette is all about respect for your customers, your colleagues, your business and your brand – online and off. This means that who you are online is a direct reflection of who you are in business. To help navigate this new era of etiquette, we’ve put together this list of dos and don’ts for social media.

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-DON’T use your personal account for business, and vice versa.

Your friends don’t want to be bombarded with you constantly trying to sell them something, and your customers don’t need to hear about the party you went to last weekend. We recommend setting up a different account or page for all of your business news and being very careful to keep the two separate. If you have personal friends who would have an interest in your business, it’s very easy to invite them to like your page.

-DON’T send out random game requests.

Suppose you are on your lunch break, playing Candy Crush for the 8,000th time and you desperately need another life. Think before you send out that mass game request. Is your boss going to get one? What about that potential client you friended on facebook last week? Even though you’re “off the clock”, sending time-wasting notifications to business associates looks very unprofessional.

-DO acknowledge all customer comments, positive and negative.

Unanswered comments, questions, and complaints in public forums like facebook and twitter can be detrimental to your brand. Sometimes simply liking, favoriting, or retweeting is all that is needed to let your customers know that you heard them and that you appreciate them. A thumbs up can go a long way!

-DO praise in public, admonish in private.

This goes for your interactions with other brands, and with your own customers. If you have something good to say about another company, by all means, shout it from the rooftops! Every business loves great referrals! However, when/if you have a negative experience with a brand, take it to a private message. If someone has a public complaint about you or your brand, it’s best to discuss that issue privately as well. For example, a great response to an irate customer can be as simple as “I’m sorry you had that experience. Would you mind providing your email address so that we can discuss this further?”

-DON’T like your own status.

It’s just silly. Don’t do it. If you are the administrator of your business page, be sure to double check those facebook settings before clicking “like”!

-DON’T spill big news online before addressing the involved parties in person.

Whether it’s a pregnancy, a promotion, an illness, or an engagement, it’s very easy to step on people’s toes via social media. Your boss doesn’t need to find out that you’re expecting on social media, just like you wouldn’t want to be told via twitter that you got turned down for the big promotion.

-DON’T use it as a personal diary.

Today I had salad for lunch and then some chocolate cake. Tonight I am going to do laundry and I might mow the grass. I think I’m coming down with a cold. Little Sally scraped her knee…. Are you bored yet? The entire internet does not need to know about every single facet of your daily life. Keep it simple, relevant, and interesting.

-DO censor yourself.

There’s a difference between being yourself and watching what you say. If you wouldn’t say it in front of your boss or your grandmother, keep it off of your social media!

Can you add any more hard and fast social media rules? Leave us a comment with your favorites (or your pet peeves!)