Insightful takes on scaling your business

Social media etiquette 101 for businesspeople: The dos and don’ts

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Yessi Bello Perez
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Yessi Bello Perez

Senior Writer, Growth QuartersYessi leads the writing efforts at TNW’s Growth Quarters. Yessi leads the writing efforts at TNW’s Growth Quarters.

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Social media is ubiquitous. It’s part of our lives and it’s changing how brands and individuals present themselves and do business online.

Although I would largely argue that much of what I’m going to share in this piece is predominantly based on common sense, I think it’s important to remind oneself how you can maximize your changes of success.

With this in mind, here’s what you need to know about social media etiquette in the business world.

[Read: Here’s how to make your virtual meetings more efficient]

Your photo is important

The tech space is usually pretty tolerant — and while having a quirky profile picture may align with your brand — I would strongly recommend that you keep it professional.

Remember that if you’re contacting someone from your personal LinkedIn or Twitter, your profile picture is the first thing the recipient will see. And whether we like it or not, first impressions do count — even on social media.

Whose message would you reply to: Cigar Party Yessi or Power-Suit Professional Yessi?

Unprofessional looking photographs can lessen your credibility and your personal brand. They can even put some people off from contacting you to begin with.

If you decide to make do with a selfie, make sure it’s a clean photo of you facing the camera.

Try and leverage natural light if you can and always make sure you’re facing a window and not standing in front of it. Smile and keep the background as minimal as possible.

Remember that having an unprofessional or professional photo isn’t just about pose or scenery — it’s also about quality.

Avoid boilerplate messages

If you’re navigating social media to expand your network, you’ll need to customize all your connection requests.

Think about it: would you be more likely to engage with someone who clearly sends you a boilerplate message? I’m guessing you’d feel as annoyed as Cathy White!

Tell the person you are reaching out to why they should connect with you, especially if you’re trying to connect with complete strangers. Do you have shared interests, mutual connections, are you after a brand collaboration, or do you want to pitch your product?

You need to give the recipient some context about who you are and what you do.

More importantly, don’t reach out to people who aren’t relevant to your cause or objectives — you’ll save yourself some embarrassing rejections.

And whatever you do, please don’t spam people.

Keep it professional and adapt accordingly

It’s important that you pay attention to what platform you’re using to convey your message and keep it professional.

For example, if you’re reaching out to someone on LinkedIn, make sure you behave in the same way as you would in a professional or office environment.

If you’re DM’ing influencers on Instagram to collaborate with your tone can be a little bit more casual.

Overall, it’s best if you stick to professional channels or else risk being ignored and even blocked.

Avoid faux pas such as selling to strangers on Facebook or contacting people on their personal email addresses — this can often feel a little intrusive and it’s unlikely to go down well. So don’t waste your time!

A welcome message can go a long way

So you’ve reached out to someone online and they’ve accepted your connection request, but what next? Well, you should behave in the same way as you would offline.

Send them a customized message thanking them for connecting — herein lies the difference between adding random people and actually building meaningful relationships online.

It’s not a numbers game. If you want to generate interest among your new and existing connections on social media, it’s up to you to show interest in them.

There’s a fine line between being welcoming and annoying, though, so just be mindful and respect others’ time.

Add value where you can

If you really want to go the extra mile think about how you can add value to the people you’re already connected with.

By introducing mutual connections you’re not only nurturing your existing relationships but you’re also positioning yourself as well-connected individual.

Often, it’s better to focus on how your personal brand can help you build a business long-term.

Your reputation will extend to that of your business and it will benefit by association.

Engage with your audience

What is the point of having thousands of followers or connections if you ignore them on a daily basis?

If you get comments or messages, reply as promptly as you possibly can.

Look how lovely and professional I am! x

You need to be an active member of the online communities you’re part of. So, if you’re looking to build your LinkedIn network, publish relevant content.

If you’re hoping to grow your Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, or Facebook audience, give them content.

Similarly, if you want your presence to grown on Twitter, then tweet.

There really isn’t any science to this: you need to put in the time and effort before you reap the rewards.

Published June 24, 2020 — 07:52 UTC