Is there such a thing as social media etiquette?

A few months ago, we sent out a tweet briefly describing our services. A twitter user replied a few hours later describing their similar services along with our post. Rude. Has that ever happened to you?  Have people hijacked and/or spammed your posts before? Although it is not explicitly written as “social media law,” there is such a thing as social media etiquette.

Imagine that you’re a door-to-door salesperson posting flyers that describe your services and you are personally answering any questions along the way. Another salesperson, who offers the same services as you, drops by the same neighborhood and places their flyer over yours. The competition may be “fair game,” but it is not a fair game when they place their ad over yours.

To avoid potential negative press, here are nine golden rules of social media etiquette (list provided by Charlotte Varela’s Virally Blog):

  1. Don’t “air your dirty laundry” – Be professional when you write. Don’t post grievances about colleagues, acquaintances and clients for everyone to see. No one wants to see/hear that.
  2. Don’t be ignorant – Self-explanatory.
  3. Don’t constantly push sales – No one likes it when salesmen follow and hover around you offering their help. This concept applies to social media too. Keep it at a minimum.
  4. Don’t let your page go stale – Visitors can “permanently tune out” if you have nothing to offer. Think about the window shoppers. Imagine what they’d like to see at first glance.
  5. Don’t spam people – As mentioned before, don’t hijack someone’s post to deliver the same message, but for your own benefit. You have your own social media platform.
  6. Don’t link inappropriately – Varela says it best: “Posting social media updates that only link back to your homepage will only serve to infuriate your following and make your brand look hopelessly unprofessional.”
  7. Don’t use bots to gain followers – Manually follow people to ensure that every follow would be interested in your content. Besides, this technique is more personal.
  8. Don’t run competitions that clash with guidelines – In general, make sure you are aware of social media rules and guidelines!
  9. Don’t stuff with keywords – “Keyword stuffing is considered as web spam. Keep it real and just write.”

Want to make sure you’ve got the hang of it? Here are some other great resources to watch what you write and how you write:

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