Social Media Etiquette for Businesses

A social media presence is more than helpful for today’s businesses—it’s imperative.

Platforms like Facebook, Yelp, YouTube, and Twitter can expand your reach, reflecting your brand’s personality, uniqueness, and sometimes, lack of professionalism. Here are some major DOs and DON'Ts of social media etiquette to help keep your business from misbehaving on the social media sphere.


Ignore customer feedback. According to Forbes, 50 percent of customers allow one week for their questions to be answered before giving up on a brand. The lesson? Don’t leave customers hanging, whether their question comes in the form of a Facebook comment or an email. Take the example of California Tortilla. According to its marketing director, the taco chain fields 100 comments each week through email alone, not to mention Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, or the company blog. And each message is responded to—at the corporate level.

Battle it out. Such is the route Amy and Samy Bouzaglo, owners of Amy’s Baking Company in Scottsdale, Arizona, notoriously chose to take. After ranting on Gordon Ramsay’s “Kitchen Nightmares,” the couple continued their tirade on Facebook, calling customers “punks,” “fools,” and “trash,” among other insults. They later stated that their Facebook account had been hacked, but the bottom line is: no matter what type of heckling your business receives, attacking the public will only diminish your street cred. It certainly put a dent on this business’s image.

Awkwardly solicit. The best way to earn rave reviews is through great customer service. Asking for reviews directly can make customers feel put upon, and may even lead to suspicion. In fact, Yelp has a filter for fishing out solicited reviews, particularly for small businesses. There are better ways to go about it. These include placing the Yelp logo on your website and newsletters, sending thank you emails with a link to a customer survey, or offering a check-in reward for customers that find you through an online review.


Share inside jokes. Oreo does a noteworthy job of maximizing social media’s potential to engage with users. What’s the company’s secret? One important aspect is spinning current, buzzworthy news into their creative marketing campaigns. For instance, during the half-hour Super Bowl blackout, their tweet, “you can still dunk in the dark,” went on to be retweeted over 14,000 times.

Own up. After receiving a one-star Yelp review for poor service and overcooked salmon, Samovar Tea Lounge in San Francisco did more than respond. The business also apologized for the mistakes, explaining reasons why the food and service might have been off and seeking ways to resolve the issue with the customer. This encourages others, including the negative reviewer, to keep the restaurant on their radar, potentially writing a more positive review in the future. At the same time, responding clearly to naysayers points out the holes in those less-than-fair reviews.

Get interactive. In order for your online listings to be effective, they should also be up to date and thorough. Check your pages to make sure that your business address, contact information, and other information are accurately listed. Photos help increase customer trust in your business, and if really want to get their attention, use videos! Seastar Seafood Restaurant and Raw Bar in Bellevue, WA, for instance, responds to Yelpers via YouTube. This makes engagement that much more personal, and powerful.

Revel’s social media integration allows business owners to stay engaged with customers and respond to feedback in real-time. With push notifications from Yelp and Foursquare and the ability to tweet directly from your point of sale, staying in touch with customers is easy and broadcasting updates is free.