We’ve talked about the FTC rules for social media, but today, we’re going to give you the unwritten social media rules your friends secretly wished you knew. And yes, they’re different for different platforms, so listen up, kids.
If you’re on Facebook, here’s the deal. Never update your status unless you have something actually important and interesting to say. Finding the cure for cancer in the subway would be really cool – post that. Don’t post that you went to the gym twice today. No one cares. All those miscellaneous thoughts you have belong on Twitter (except the gym thing. That belongs nowhere). Facebook also has stories, like Instagram and Snapchat stories, except only sad people use Facebook stories. Don’t be a sad person.
Re-sharing things on Facebook is fair game. You see an article you think is cool? A cute puppy video? Go ahead and share the heck out of it. If you want to send someone a message, do it in messenger. Don’t write on someone’s wall unless you’re trying to attract the attention of more than the person who you are talking directly to.
As for hashtags, Facebook isn’t really the place for those. You can maybe get away with using one generic hashtag. You can use more if you’re being blatantly ironic. Facebook is great for organizing and talking to people directly. Use it primarily to make events, groups, or direct messages (“DMs”).
Remember all those miscellaneous thoughts you wanted to post on Facebook but didn’t because you listened to me? This is your time to shine! Post them all on Twitter. You can also use all those hashtags unironically. Hashtags are more important on Twitter because of the character limits in posts and because of the sheer volume of tweets. Hashtags both categorize what you are saying so that other people can find it, but also categorize what you are saying you don’t have to waste characters on a long introduction.
You can also retweet people and favorite other people’s tweets to your heart’s content. People like knowing that you think their thoughts are correct. Twitter is also a really good way to interact with major companies’ customer service. If you tweet “@Delta I’m really upset about this thing that happened at your Atlanta location,” or “@Chipotle you guys left the guac off my online order,” the odds they’ll respond and handle the situation are high.
Instagram is where you post the best version of yourself – think aesthetic, but no obvious filters. It is common for people to have two Instagram accounts, one public account that is more polished and one private account that is less professional for just friends. If you’re going for sheer likes here, it’s okay to use a million hashtags. It’s like wearing a provocative outfit out and about – you’ll receive a ton more attention, but your family and friends won’t approve.
Instagram stories are more “business casual” than Snapchat stories. Again, Instagram is where you post your best self, so yes to biking with friends and latte art, but no to tequila shots. Try not to post more than 5 stories at a time, because your friends will be annoyed and skip watching them altogether. Also, if someone DMs you on Instagram, they’re trying to date you. #facts
Snapchat is where the dumb side of you lives. No makeup, drunk, cat selfies, whatever nonsense – go crazy. Here, filters are fair game. Bring on the puppy filters! You can take non-artistic pictures that didn’t make the Instagram cut and post them to your story or send them to friends. Photos and messages disappear, so it’s good for having dumb conversations that you wouldn’t want people reading.
A lot of new companies post a new feed every day. This was briefly a good idea when only companies like Cosmo and the Washington Post were doing it. Now it’s everyone from Vice to Food Network. Between you and me, if we were placing bets, I would wager that Snapchat hit its peak and is now dying a slow and painful death.
So there you have it – the comprehensive road rules to being awesome on social media. Happy posting!