Social Media Etiquette

Just like any other social or business forum, it is important to exercise good manners on Facebook and indeed any other social networking site. It also helps to always remember that what happens on the Internet, stays on the Internet.

Here are a few areas, which you need to pay special attention to in order to avoid getting caught with your social media pants down:

your appearance
You might venture out of the house in your flip-flops and with your morning breath to get a packet of milk at the local kiosk. But you certainly would not get into your car and drive to the supermarket looking a hot mess. You never know who you might bump into right?

Think of social networking sites as way bigger than your local supermarket. Think of it as one of those busy hot spots bang in the centre of town; the ones where you are likely to meet one of your biggest clients, or your boss.

The avatar you use for your profile says a lot about you and you never know who’s ‘listening’. I would stay away from those photos of little babies giving the finger, or women falling out of their bikinis or you doing a keg stand. Work with half decent photos.

Following and ‘friending’
Don’t be shy about following and ‘friending’ people who you know or who you would like to network with, but realise that no one is obliged to follow you back or accept your friend request. So going on a tirade about it or making a public plea to them makes you look weird.
Similarly, don’t be shy about ‘unfriending’ people or ‘unfollowing’ them. But remember that they will eventually find out what you did. There is no need to make announcements when you are about to purge friends, just go ahead and do it. In fact, it is so irritating to hear someone go on and on about purging, that some of your friends will beat you to it and get rid of you first.

Updates, wall posts and promoting
There is a difference between spamming your friends and followers, and giving relevant, helpful updates. Post content that highlights your personal interests and areas of expertise. This does not include facts about sitting on the loo, throwing up, getting drunk, or private plans with a Facebook friend. Save these for emails, phone calls or a lunch date.
Leave room for retweets. Using up all 140 of your characters to promote a product or cause on twitter makes it difficult for anyone to retweet and help you spread the word.
Be strategic about how often and when you post promotional information. Consider your target audience as well as time zones.

Link, Like, Share
Many times when you write a blog post, you will look for similar topics online and possibly use some of the information or images you get off blogs and websites. It is good practice to credit the author or artist or photographer.
Share, like, tweet about and comment on blog posts that you like. Show your appreciation for other bloggers and their work.
When you share links to other people’s posts, they are more likely to do the same for you.

At the end of the day, all you need to remember is that one, the people and companies that you interact with on social networks are real. And two, being part of a social network makes you part of a community and this comes with certain responsibilities.

What other goofs do people make on social media? Please share you thoughts.

Top 10 Facebook Etiquette Rules by Tom Miller
A Beginner’s Guide To Facebook Etiquette by Buttermouth
Facebook Etiquette: 10 Rules for Better Socializing by Christopher Null, PCWorld
Facebook Etiquette: Five Dos and Don’ts by C.G. Lynch, CIO
An Insider’s Guide To Social Media Etiquette by Chris Brogan
The Ultimate Social Media Etiquette Handbook by Tamar Weinberg

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