Social Media Etiquette

by Feb 21, 2015

Minding your p’s and q’s

Social media is like a huge big minefield if you don’t know the rules. But technically there are no “rules” aside from the ones the social media networks lay down in their terms of their usage. So what are these golden rules we are all expected to play by?

Well, most of the rules are the norms of social etiquette that we use in our everyday lives but tend to forget once we go online. You know, things like minding your manners and general politeness, basic grammar, spelling and punctuation and how to engage in conversation with others. But so many people seem to ignore this when they get behind the driving seat of their laptop or smartphone and they become keyboard warriors’ intent on sharing far too much information with an audience that probably isn’t really that interested. And when you are using social media for a business it’s even more important that you get your manners right and maintain at least some degree of a professional appearance.

Here’s a few basics to keep you on the path to social stardom with all your etiquette in all the right places;


Over sharing isn’t caring

Ok so we all know it’s good to share content, support other businesses with some retweets, but, think of your audience before you get all click happy with the sharing. Do you fans and followers want to see a whole load of content in their timelines that they haven’t signed up to that they aren’t interested in? Your audience will only support you for so long when you go on an endless stream of retweeting every tinker, tailor, soldier, sailor that crosses your path. Sharing is caring but over sharing is just spam! And spam belongs in a can and not on your timeline. So the next time you hit share think if it’s relevant to your audience? Will they benefit from it and appreciate you sharing this piece of information with them? Are you just sharing to show willing on some #hour your want to network on? Who is the share really beneficial too?

Bore off elsewhere

Guess what, nobody cares what you had for lunch. Or breakfast or dinner or any other run of the mill meal. Really? You don’t believe me? How engaging are those posts for you? Unless you are at some amazing venue that just served you the best meal of your life or the best cocktail or cake, then, please, this is one to keep to yourself.

Have you ever read a status update on Facebook and had to control your inner voice from screaming about how much you really didn’t care about what the updater was saying? Well don’t be that over sharing, boring person!

It’s all well and good to show personality behind your brand but you also have to remember that you are a business and since when did a business tweet their tea! Keep it fun and engaging but think of your audience. Don’t send them to sleep. And before I forget; do not over share with the personal stuff! I once read a personal rant on a business page that the owner posted about her ex-husband! Guess what? I never bought from that business, I unliked the page and I certainly wasn’t going to recommend them to anyone! Why? Over sharing on your personal page is bad enough but for a business it’s like breaking one of the Ten Commandments! Don’t ever do it!

Learn that you don’t construct a sentence with #hashtags

This is kind of like a pet hate, but so many people don’t actually know how to use hashtags ####. Basically for those of you that don’t yet know, a hashtag is actually a search term or keyword that enables other users to see everything posted about a subject. So if you are going to use a hashtag then at least check it’s relevant, ie try searching it first to see if anything else is posted about it. If you are the only person on earth posting #dumbblondestrikesagain then guess what, it basically means that you are the only person that’s interested in that subject! And an audience of one is pretty damn boring (refer back to point 2 bore off).

Also, this thing of constructing sentences using hashtags is kind of pointless and it doesn’t sit well with the grammar police. It’s just kind of #stupid #boring #and #just #shows #your #ignorance #to #what #a #hashtag #actually #is.

Do you see what I did there? Not exactly relevant hey?

Learn to use them or just avoid them.

Shut up and listen!

How can you hear your audience if you are just talking at them? You can’t can you.

Would you walk into a party where you don’t really know anyone, they are all just a room full of other invited guests, and proceed to talk really loudly about yourself, ignoring everyone else?

No you wouldn’t! Well at least I hope not anyway!

Treat your social media like being that party guest and learn to shut up and listen.

For example, if you are pumping out 10 sales related posts per day and getting zero interaction doesn’t that tell you something? No? How about nobody is listening! Try sticking to an 80/20 rule, in that 80% of what you put out isn’t sales relates or even about you. It’s about benefiting your follower. This might be in the form of giving away free content or helping someone with a quick question. That’s a benefit.

Now quit with the never ending sales posts!

If you’ve got something bad to say then don’t say it!

And this one is serious. Do not ever bad mouth someone or something to your fans/followers. Now this doesn’t mean to say that you can’t tweet a company that uses Twitter as its customer service platform and complain or ask about something. But don’t rant. Never rant!

Also don’t criticise other companies or even your competitors to your fans and followers, this really isn’t professional. Would you like it if they did it to you, plus it may just be a matter of personal opinion or taste that your comments are based on and not a general opinion. I recent read some comments in a brands Facebook group page that I found very unprofessional. Firstly they openly criticised another coaches programme. The other coach had been in business for about 15 years. The coach doing the calling was in business less than a year. Who would you rather put your faith in? The rookie or the veteran? I know everyone has to start out somewhere but calling out the enemy when you don’t really have the time served honour to do so isn’t a good move. I also noticed the leader of this group calling out a lot of people and belittling their opinion when it wasn’t the same as their own. Again not a good move and very unprofessional. Experience will teach them better but I’ve a feeling with attitude like that they won’t be around for very long anyway.

Likewise, stop spreading bad news! If there is a bad news story breaking then chances are it’s everywhere already so we don’t need you to share it some more. Remember to always focus your energy on the positive and the good. Sharing bad news is not doing that is it?

Just remember that the normal rules of social engagement etiquette also apply online; don’t be rude!

Have you spotted a social media etiquette faux pas lately that you’d love to share? Or do you see a rule being flouted and it really gets your goat? Get it off your chest in the comments box below or why not write your own blog post about what gets you annoyed in the world of etiquette rule breakers and share it with me?

If you like this post be sure to subscribe to keep up to date with all my news and posts and remember to go follow me on social media too. I promise to stick to the rules



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