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A Visual Guide to Social Media Etiquette

By Rebekah Radice

13 min read

With the advent of technology, social media has become the order of the day. We turn to it for increased exposure while decreasing our bottom line. Not only does it allow for greater customer service, but improved brand awareness. Yet, social media etiquette and bad behavior can derail the best of intentions. Whether it's a mishap or a devastating mistake, each can happen in the blink of an eye and with the push of a button.

So how can you protect your reputation and avoid a debilitating setback? Below is a visual guide to social media etiquette. They're simple rules to follow for each of today's top networks. Plus, grab the real-life business examples and the handy Infographic!

Proper social media etiquette can help you build better relationships. But what exactly is social media etiquette? It's a set of rules or customs for each social network that customizes and personalizes the experience. It makes it both enjoyable and valuable. Ready to add it to your brand? Let's get to it!


Facebook Etiquette Do's and Don'ts

  • Don't make your fans feel unimportant. If someone takes the time to comment or ask a question, don't ignore them. Instead, try to respond to every comment, even if it irks you.
  • Always remember the opinions of others matter. You never know, you might turn around a negative situation or gain respect with your timely (and appropriate) response.
  • Use hashtags wisely and sparingly. One or two relevant hashtags make sense, however, any more than that feels spammy.
  • Know when to post for maximum engagement. Pay attention to your analytics and note when your fans are most active.
  • Always provide value. Be informative and entertaining, don't spend the majority of your time spamming your feed with promotional content.
  • Your goal is to be a resource to your fans. Find their need and fill it daily.

Skittles has brought the brand alive through a fun, witty, and quirky social media persona. They're completely in tune with the needs (and wants) of their community, providing an interactive and highly engaging experience.


Twitter has changed the way businesses communicate with consumers. Don't want to pick up the phone? No problem! Twitter gives anyone easy access to your brand. It can also become a landmine of bad etiquette situations if you're not careful. Here's how to navigate those situations and keep your business top of mind.

Twitter Etiquette Do's and Dont's

  • You only have 280 characters to share your message. Keep it concise, but useful.
  • Be quick in responding to comments and questions. Monitor your mentions daily.
  • Avoid going on negative rants, keep it positive and upbeat. No, this doesn't mean you can't have a bad day. However, every day shouldn't be a bad day shared across Twitter.
  • Are you tweeting for business? Don't make the mistake of only posting business content. Find a balance between business and personal tweets.
  • Be accessible and interactive. People want to get to know the person behind the brand.
  • Don't spend time posting all day without actually listening. Listen to what's being said about your business. Now respond in a conversational and authentic way.

I'm always impressed with the team at Sprout Social. As a company focused on providing a robust social media management tool, Sprout Social walks the talk. Just browse through their Twitter stream and you'll see how interactive and responsive they are.

Great question! We have long answers. You can like a page but not follow it. In this case, you aren't seeing posted content from the page, but still considered part of the page's audience.

What can you learn from paying attention to your Twitter followers? How can you consistently show you care?


YouTube can provide rocket fuel to your already established online brand. With a tie to the world's largest search engine, testing the marketing waters just makes sense. But as with all social networks, YouTube has its own set of etiquette rules.

YouTube Etiquette Do's and Dont's

  • Don't create content for the sake of it. Be strategic in the type of video you create. Align topics with your business objectives.
  • Make sure to collaborate with others. This builds a sense of community, expands your reach, and drives awareness.
  • YouTube offers a lot of features. Use everything available to you. Tag, add thumbnails, write a detailed description. Give your videos the opportunity to be found and get seen.
  • Always respond to comments. You've posted a video. Great! Now keep the conversation going.
  • Don't treat YouTube as a standalone channel. Integrate it into your overall marketing strategy.
  • Don't forget that like any other social network, you must be consistent. Create a content schedule and stick with it.

Laura Clery is a YouTuber that gets her audience and has zero fear giving them what they want. Even during a pandemic, she's successfully pivoted her content to bring humor to an audience desperately seeking comic relief.


They say a picture is worth a thousand words. If that's the case, then Instagram is where it's at. Whether you're a lifestyle blogger, designer, engineer, or foodie, Instagram has an audience for you. So how should you use it for your business without making a whole bunch of etiquette faux pas?

Instagram Etiquette Do's and Dont's

  • Never ask people to follow you; leave them to their own initiative. Instead, work on the image you want to project and let followers naturally connect with you.
  • Be considerate and limit your number of posts. Nobody wants your content to fill up their entire feed or add to their long list of Stories.
  • You get what you give. Engage with other people's photos and give them a reason to engage with yours.
  • Use hashtags where appropriate, but don't use hashtags that aren't relevant to your content.
  • Get interactive! Comment on other posts, ask questions and share valuable insight. It's not a relationship if it's only one-way.
  • Be consistent with your visual brand. People should know it's you as they move from one social network to the next.
  • Be strategic and tailor your content to the network and your audience.
  • Stay on topic. If you try to be everything to everyone, you end up with a brandless voice and message.

Mel Robbins knows this better than anyone else. She stays on topic, remains focused on her mission, and always speaks to the needs of her audience.

View this post on Instagram

I might not know you personally, but I am very clear about what’s holding you back. You have a habit of doubting yourself. Aren’t you so sick and f*cking tired of doubting yourself? Aren’t you exhausted by how often you hesitate, second-guess, question or doubt your worth? It’s time to break this pattern. By recognizing that self doubt is a pattern, you can break it. It doesn’t matter if you learned to doubt yourself because of your mother, your father, a bully, a sh*tty boss, or a toxic girlfriend- how you got it is less important than how you’ll break it because patterns aren’t personal, they’re just patterns. I believe that if you break a pattern, you free the person. Imagine if you started cheering for yourself... Imagine if you DID that thing you wanted to do… Imagine just how liberating it would be.

A post shared by Mel Robbins(@melrobbins) on Jun 1, 2020 at 2:30 pm PDT


As the Internet buzzes about with social media activity, identifying what sites provide the best networking opportunity is simply a mouse click away.LinkedIn, the largest online professional network is an excellent resource for job seekers and brands alike. But be careful. It has etiquette rules to follow like the rest mentioned above.

LinkedIn Etiquette Do's and Dont's

  • LinkedIn is a professional setting, so keep your posts professional.
  • Use search terms and phrases that are industry related to get found by the right people.
  • Fill out a complete profile. You never know where your next opportunity might come from.
  • Always send a custom connection request and then follow-up with a well-crafted welcome or thank you message.
  • Resist the urge to send mass requests for recommendations or endorsements. Be specific and ensure who you ask has the knowledge to endorse your skills and talents.
  • Contribute as much as possible in LinkedIn groups. They're a great place to build relationships and raise awareness.

Viveka von Rosen, author of LinkedIn Marketing: An Hour a Day and founder of Linked Into Business offers this advice via social Media Examiner.


I don't know how this one didn't make it to the Infographic, but Pinterest definitely tops my list as a go-to visual network for business. Avoid Pinterest pitfalls and newbie mistakes with these simple Pinterest etiquette rules.

Pinterest Etiquette Do's and Dont's

  • Do pin all of your content. From blog posts to videos, add your proprietary content to relevant boards.
  • Share other people's content to your boards to create a diverse and rich pinning experience for your followers.
  • Do complete the description for every pin and make your pin "searchable."
  • Don't ever edit the link when pinning other people's content. Make sure content links to its original source.
  • Space out your pins so you're not spamming follower news feed with an immense of amount of content all at once.
  • Do follow other relevant pinners that are consistent in their efforts and pay attention to their best practices.

One of my favorite brands to follow is Ben and Jerry's. Each board creates a visual correlation between brand and product and an easy way for followers to repin their tasty pins. As a dessert lover, their "Yummy" board is a must follow. I mean, who doesn't love all things ice cream? Especially when it mixes ice cream with cookie dough into an ooey-gooey sandwich. 😍

Final thoughts

While the word "etiquette" might sound a little old-fashioned, it's still an important component in your social media interaction. When we follow certain rules, we make everyone's experience better. Not only does it make everyone's use of social media more enjoyable, but it eliminates the often messy outcome associated with breaking the rules. What have I missed? What social media etiquette rule would you add to the list?

Grab the infographic

Social Media Etiquette Guide

A Visual Guide to Social Media Etiquette - An infographic by the team at TollFree Forwarding

Embed a visual guide to social media etiquette on your site: copy and paste the code below

<span class="mceItemHidden" data-mce-bogus="1"><span class="mceItemHidden" data-mce-bogus="1"></p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><p><<span class="hiddenSpellError" pre="" data-mce-bogus="1">img</span><span class="hiddenSpellError" pre="img " data-mce-bogus="1">src</span>="https://rebekahradice.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/social-media-etiquette.png" width="540"></p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><p>A Visual Guide to Social Media Etiquette - An <span class="hiddenSpellError" pre="An " data-mce-bogus="1">infographic</span> by the team at <a href="http://www.tollfreeforwarding.com/blog/social-media-etiquette-guide/">Social Media Etiquette</a></p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><p></p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><p></span></span>

Updated: June 2020.
Rebekah Radice

About Rebekah Radice

Rebekah Radice, co-founder of BRIL.LA, has traded narcissism for purpose. When not driving growth, you'll find her tricking family into thinking she's Emeril Lagasse - likely covered in marinara. The spotlight was fun, but impact is better. These days she's using 20+ years of brand brilliance for good.