Social media is an essential business tool for any online business. With the average person spending over 2 hours a day on social media, it’s understandable that businesses want to go where their potential clients are.

And that’s great – if what you’re doing on those social media platforms is good for your business. When it comes to social media etiquette, there aren’t any hard and fast ‘rules’. There are, however, some bad manners coming into play – actions that are turning off potential customers. Here’s our top five social media etiquette ‘no-no’s’.

#1: Befriending anyone and everyone isn’t great social media etiquette

Numbers may count in business, but interaction and engagement hold more sway. With so many fake or spam accounts out there, you’re doing your business a disservice, if you’re not taking the time to check out details of a new friend request. At the very least, check they have a profile picture and read their about page, to see if you have anything in common with them.  Think about why they might be requesting to friend you and whether you know, like and trust them.

#2: Adding people to groups without permission

If you have a group that would benefit your followers, take the time to share details of that group with them. This gives them the option to join, when they’re ready. If you start adding people to your group, without their permission, you’re going to alienate your followers and get yourself a bad name. (When someone else adds someone to my groups, I always check with both parties that they did in fact want to be added.  Not everyone wants to be in a social media group.)

#3: Immediately PM’ing a new contact with a join or buy request

It’s ok to private message a new contact to genuinely connect with them or find out more about what they do. However, a practice of many MLM-type businesses is to immediately message new contacts, pleading with them to join a group or buy the latest product – and other businesses are starting to do the same. Remember, a new contact may be at the early stages of the know, like, trust process – give them time to get to know you!  (Please note I am not trying to upset my MLM followers, and I will say 90% of you don’t do this but there is a proportion who do and give the rest of you a bad reputation!)

#4: Constantly posting salsey posts

You have the chance to help a lot of people, but that doesn’t mean everyone is ready to take that help. You need to spend most of your time building your profile and sharing valuable content with your followers. This doesn’t mean you can’t post sales statuses or share your latest offer – but it does mean keeping it to about 20% of your overall posting content.  I generally work to the 80:20 rule or the 4:1:1 rule – if you don’t know what those are, please get in touch and I will share further details with you.

#5: Taking another person’s content and sharing as your own

Your followers want interesting and valuable content. Sometimes, you may see something that will benefit them, that someone else has posted. If you’re going to share it, hit the ‘share’ button on their post, to share it. Better still, add a comment giving your view or slant on it – but don’t copy the text and share it as your own comment, with no attribution to the original poster. If it’s a post that, due to the privacy of the post, you’re unable to share – ask them if it’s ok to share. Alternatively, you can add in a sentence stating it was originally shared by them, and tag them in it too.

Although there are no hard and fast etiquette rules around social media, it pays to keep respectful of other people. It’s your business that you’re protecting, so always remember your manners – regardless of whether that’s in person or online.

What would you consider to be bad manners on social media? Do you agree with my social media etiquette bad manners examples above or would you add more to the list? Why not share your thoughts in the comments box below!