There’s a few universal rules of the road when engaging on social networks. Here’s a few quick Do’s and Don’ts that will make your experience better when you start to engage with people and businesses using social media.
Social Networking Etiquette: Do’s
Have a voice:
Be very clear about what type of message you want to send people through social networking. Decide on whether you are actively engaged in social networking discussions, a connector, or an observer. Remember, you’re
building a reputation online around people whom you know very well, are acquaintances with, or don’t know at all—and these people will make judgments about you based on what you have to say and how you respond.
Add social media links to your marketing:
Make sure that anything you do online is reciprocated offline. This means that you should include your social networking links on promotional items, business cards, your company website, press releases, and basically
anywhere that you want to create a potentially lasting connection.
Post often and consistently:
Once you engage with a social network, make the commitment to be on it consistently.
Encourage discussion by asking questions:
Take the time to come up with thought-provoking questions that can engage your connections or followers into having a conversation. In many instances, you may end up being a moderator and just leading a discussion that many of your connections jump into.
Repost valuable content:
One of the kindest things you can do on a social network to show someone you’re listening is to share their content. But make sure it’s good content that is worthwhile.
Social Networking Etiquette: Don’ts
Don’t be a spammer:
It is inappropriate to use your social media profile as a platform to spam other users. Sending out unsolicited ads and messages is a no-no and can become very irritating to other users. They may end up blocking your profile
or reporting you. Be careful about crossing the line. For example, posting a link to your website on a completely unrelated but popular Facebook page or in the middle of a Twitter or LinkedIn discussion just doesn’t make sense and should be avoided.
Don’t have one-way communication:
A quick way to lose followers and connections is to talk about yourself all the time and to sound like a sales ad. Remember, this is “social” media, so consider lightening things up and talking less formal and more
conversational. Don’t make every post about you or your business. Pay attention to others and listen for opportunities to jump into conversations in a more strategic and directed way.
Don’t use bad grammar:
Just because it’s social media, it doesn’t give us a pass to use improper grammar, misspelled words, or talk to people and abbreviate words the way we would through text messaging. If you are representing a brand or
personally branding yourself, lay off the shorthand and type your words out.
Don’t abandon your social networks:
When you’re first approaching social networking, it’s tempting to follow every fad and trend of a social network. And with new social networking sites being released all the time, it’s tempting to jump from one to another
seeking new ways to make connections. Don’t do it. Pick a social network you really intend to be active on, get good at that first, and then branch into other social networks over time.