For many friends of mine from a certain non-digital native vintage, the social platforms available can seem bewildering. Yet social media is here to stay and until we older folks expire our stay, we have to come to grips with it.

The platforms change all the time. There was ICU, then Friendster, then Facebook, Twitter and now there is Tik Tok, Clubhouse and who knows what else. All of us would have to figure out which platforms we prefer but I believe that there are some old but gold rules that still apply no matter how much technology changes.

One thing where the Covid-19 pandemic has left is mark is that  it has solidified the role of the social media in human interactions, including in business. The lockdowns and social distancing imperatives have pushed people to increasingly drop   physical social interactions in favor of virtual ones, online. Just as in social interaction in the real world, it is important to keep in mind that there are always guidelines, or etiquette, to follow to have a good and responsible interaction on social media. We should keep more or less the same etiquette on social media, especially when it concerns brands or companies. 

It is true that social media interaction could be seen as a much less personal form of communication but nevertheless, it remains no less important to be respectful of others and to ensure that everyone who interacts with your company on social media will see a respectable, professional business.

One of the pitfalls in social media interaction is that it is easy to forget that we are dealing with humans too, so just as in real life, there are certain behaviors that you will need to avoid and others that should always guide you when interacting on social media.

Social media can be a great tool to promote a brand or a company but it can also ruin reputations just as easily. Maintaining a high standard of social media etiquette will make your efforts to promote your company or brand so much more effective.

First of all, always think things carefully before posting or sharing, as what you post becomes a representation of not only you but also your business or company. Especially when sharing, make sure you always check out the credibility and track record of the account that shared the information. Make sure the company would not suffer from being associated with that source, as sharing content is usually seen as an endorsement of that content and the one posting it.

Another important golden rule that apply both in real life and online is, be nice to everyone, including any competitor. Slurring, badmouthing and spreading negative comments should never be the name of the game. On the other hand, also take time to think over carefully how you would respond to any disagreement, or even slur or negative comments, directed at your company or business.  

Always remember that not everyone shares the same opinion with you. You may think your arguments are solid and reasonable, but there would always be people who disagree or are not convinced. Acceptance of this fact should be reflected in your response. They should remain professional, not emotional.

It is important to also stay culturally and socially sensitive to protect your brand reputation and to keep the trust of your audience, 

Remember that in posting, you should prioritize the social networks where you know your clients or customers are.  It pays to know where your customers are whether they are mostly in Facebook, linkedin, twitter, instagram or any other social media.

Also remember that in the current digital era, visual is key in spreading any message. Be visual. It has been well established that the use of photos, infographics and videos can boost engagement.

The ability to provide good and interesting content is nice, but don’t forget that interacting with your customers or followers is also key. Online or in the real world, building connection is important. Do not forget to like or comment or reply to questions. Prompt interaction by using social media to look for tips or recommendations, show appreciation to anyone tagging you or sharing your post, either with a simple like or a comment, 

Also remember that no one like boasters, show offs or bullies. Just as a hard sell can become irritating and annoying to some, try to keep the number of posts directly related to the brand or the services provided by the company to a low level. Most of the content you post or share should be informative or entertaining and about topical issues in order to keep attention and followers.

Yes, it is important to keeping in mind and ensure good etiquette when playing the social media games but that does not mean that you could not or should not have fun in using social media for business! Be creative, be daring, experiment, but always in an intelligent manner. Try various communication styles, try using more interactive content such as polls or questions on specific subjects. But foremost, keep your communication friendly and conversational. Have fun!