Friday, 6 November 2015

Social Media Etiquette in a Professional Setting

So let’s start with the absolute basics…

With social media it is very easy to overlook the importance of etiquette and normal acceptable social behaviour. Because we cannot see the people and are not immediately affected by their displeasure, we can go too far with inappropriate online behaviour. 

Simply posting too many status updates on Facebook – no matter how interesting you think they may be – can have you losing friends very quickly. Being too friendly with someone you barely know can lead to you being blocked. The meaning of our words can be misinterpreted as there is no way to include our tone of voice in writing. An argument can get out of hand when differing opinions collide. Anything can and will happen in cyber space and we need to ensure we stay on the right side of the line.

Sometimes we over-share information, forgetting that social media is not our own personal journal, and people are not interested in knowing so much about our private and personal lives.
“If you suspect you’re over-sharing, then you probably are -- this is NOT your personal diary, even when it feels like it… As a general rule of thumb, if you wouldn't say it to your boss or hiring manager, please don't post it...” 
Tania YukiFounder and CEO of Shareablee in her post 5 Tips for Professionals Navigating Social Media

We need to remember that what we post is not for ourselves, but for others. We need to think about what they would like to read and hold back the things that are purely for our own interest.

Think about the annoying social media habits that you have experienced others use, and consider whether you are guilty of doing something similar.

So while all of this is important in a personal social media account, it is even more important to follow social media etiquette rules when using social media for professional purposes.

For a start it is very important to keep your professional and personal social media accounts separate. It is also essential to remember that the professional social media account represents the business/organisation you are working for, not the individuals who are contributing to the content.

Some good key points to consider:

  • Keep a regular online presence, provide interesting posts regularly – not just advertising your business/organisations services.
  • Do not overly exhaust your readers with too much content. Keep it simple, straightforward and to the point.
  • Choose your hashtags wisely, keep them simple and to the point. Do not overuse hashtags. Use most relevant key words only.
  • Avoid automatic messages, they are rarely received positively and most users will report an automatic message as spam.

Further resources:

This is a very good article about social media etiquette for businesses:

This article has some good general tips as well as good points specifically related to Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest:

This site provides a simple list of 12 key points:

Another simple 12 key point list specifically for professional social media accounts:

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