Your Guide to Social Media Enlightenment – From Trending Topics to Innovative Startups
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Social Media Etiquette Your Mom Taught You

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Guest post by Kelly Gregorio

As a child, Mom taught you the importance of please and thank you while reminding you to mind your P’s and Q’s.  Today, the same lessons that molded you into a respectable adult can be used to your advantage online. Below are 5 finger-waggings translated into social media etiquette that you would be wise to put into practice from this point on. Why? Because your mother said so, that’s why.

Dress Appropriately for the Occasion

When representing your business online, do not let your avatar arrive in the form of your logo.  This is commonly seen throughout Facebook and Twitter, but just because everyone’s doing it…

For a fresh idea, post a company photo of your team standing near your logo, or wearing company t-shirts.  This will allow for a personal connection, while still affording followers the opportunity to recognize your brand.  Above all, always supply your online audience with completed profiles and organized pages that have been cleaned behind the ears.

Use Discretion When In Public

Anything you post has the potential to be seen by your partners, clients and competitors. When your co-workers start commenting on your happy hour photos, you have a problem. Consider separating yourself from potential indiscretions by having separate personal and professional Facebook accounts.

By keeping things separate, you can have both a social media life and a powerful, professional marketing tool. All you need is a new email to make a professional account (and perhaps adjust your personal Facebook name to something less searchable like your middle or maiden name). Hey Mom, I’m not saying I’m doing this, I just know people who are.

Chew On Things with Your Mouth Closed

Just because you have a profile does not mean you have a platform to rant your every viewpoint. It’s not fair for innocent followers who are not interested in your politics to be forced to listen. If you feel so passionate about something that you must share, create a group or fan page. This way, consenting viewers can participate only if they want to.

Another tip: do not post angry, over-tired or stressed-out updates. You are passing this type of energy onto the rest of the world, and it will make people not want to follow you. You’ve heard this throughout your childhood and it’s time to put it in practice, post something nice or post nothing at all.

Don’t Sweep It Under the Rug

Your posts or tweets that stir up unanticipated controversy make it so temping to just hit delete. But remember that what you do on any online platform becomes instantly public. The likelihood that someone has already seen the controversial conversation will put a question mark over your character if you attempt to erase all evidence. The best practice is to remove the post, but follow up immediately with another post focusing on clarification, an apology, etc. Just remember to be humble and honest when washing your hands clean.

Use Your Words, Wisely

Be mindful of your type’s tone. USING ALL CAPS GIVES OFF THE IMPRESSION THAT YOU ARE YELLING! See?

Also remember that without body language or facial expressions it is hard for audiences to always grasp sarcasm or dry humor in simple black and white.

Shy away from setting up an auto-DM (automatic direct message) on Twitter.  Allowing an auto-DM to “greet” new followers comes off as spam-y and reeks of a pushy sale.  Another tip: be weary of linking your tweets to your FB posts automatically.  A lot of the time a Facebook post will not translate well over to the character-limited Twitter.  Automated actions can make you look lazy, or worse, can make your platforms appear as if they are run by robots, and momma didn’t raise no robots.

What type of social media etiquette do you practice?

Kelly Gregorio writes about relevant topics that affect small businesses while working at Merchant Resources International, a merchant cash provider for over 10,000 small businesses. You can read her daily blog at http://www.cashprior.com/blog.

Photo credit: Super Bay

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