Social Media Guidelines … for professionals

August 19, 2013

Untitled-1 copyFollowing social media guidelines are an essential part of your social media presence no matter how big or small your company.  Guidelines help to deliver your strategy, be consistent, meet goals and portray a professional profile.  They will also assist in continuity when you outsource, hire an agency or take on new staff.

With the constantly changing face of social media, your guidelines need reviewing on a regular basis however many principles will not change”

12 Social Media Guidelines


1. Be consistent

Engage, share and create content on a daily basis.  It is better to be present a little and often than to blast your news feeds once a week.

2.  Be helpful and sincere

If your only goal in social media is to sell, you will fail.  Treat your connections with respect, go out of your way to be helpful and be sincere … it will shine through in your updates.

3.  Solve problems

By knowing your audience and the challenges they face you can solve their problems.  Set up alerts and searches for questions you can provide answers to.  Share content that will educate, interest and assist your audience.

4.  80/20 rule

Adhere to the 80/20 rule in your posts.  Of the content and updates you post, 80% should be sourced within your industry.  Share and comment on content which is not your own.  Promote industry leaders (thus elevating your own profile) and give them the credit.  Only two of every 10 updates should link back to your own site.

5.  Complete your profiles

There is nothing as unprofessional as a profile not showing information about you or your company. An incomplete profile shows a lack of attention to detail.

6.  Think before you post!

If unsure about how I’ve worded something or replied to someone I will delete and start again.  Never post something you don’t want your co-workers or clients to read.  Never post something you wouldn’t say offline.  Scheduling your updates gives you a chance to look at your posts with fresh eyes before they go live.  I often edit scheduled posts!

7.  Proof read, always

Typo and grammar errors look as bad on social media as they do on your website.  A badly spelt update is not something you want your audience to judge you on (or notice you for).

8.  Keep profiles separate

Keep your professional and personal profiles separate.  Bear in mind that many professionals will Google you, search on LinkedIn or better yet … find you on Facebook before they meet you face to face.  Be aware of what you want to portray both personally and professionally.

9.  No badmouthing 

“If you have nothing nice to say, say nothing”.  No badmouthing colleagues, competitors, clients or connections … ever.   You will only look unprofessional.

10.  Complaint resolution

Respond to criticism or complaints quickly and positively.  Move the conversation offline in order to deal with the issue in detail and to the satisfaction (if possible) of the person or people involved.

11.  Blocking comments

How you deal with negative or unprofessional comments will only strengthen your position and online image.  Often unfair, unrealistic or unprofessional comments will bring others to your defense.  Social media is just that … social.  If you take the ability to engage away you are taking away the most powerful aspect of social media.

12.  Be relevant to the network

Be relevant to the network you are engaging in and don’t post the same updates across all channels.  Your audience will not be the same so neither should your message be.  For example, you may have written this post about social media guidelines for professionals and want to share across LinkedIn, Google +, Twitter and Facebook.  The posts could be tailored for the relevant networks as follows:

  • Facebook “Have you ever had something nasty posted about you on social media?”  YES or NO
  • LinkedInHow important are social media guidelines?  Do you or your company have a list of documented guidelines available to all staff?
  • TwitterBe consistent, be sincere [link] Social Media Guidelines … for professionals @yourvaconz”
  • Google + [note: due to the SEO value of G+ I will often post more of the content than I would on any other channel.  Rather than a catchy title or summary you can go into details and use your key phrases on this network]

Your Turn: I have no doubt missed many important guidelines.  The 12 above are important to me, what guideline is at the top of your list (and it doesn’t have to be on mine … I’d love to add yours to this post!).



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