Social media etiquette has been the need of the hour with the emergence of various social media platforms in the modern world. Since this are the etiquettes to be followed online, they are also known as NETIQUETTES.
■ SOCIAL MEDIA ETIQUETTE & IT’S IMPORTANCE
▪Social media etiquette refers to the guidelines that companies and individuals use to preserve their reputation online.
A single silly mistake can not only spoil your reputation professionally but also in your personal life.
▪Etiquette helps with the hard part.
Most articles about social media focus on how to handle platforms. But most missteps in social media happen because of how we handle our audiences. Etiquette provides the framework for tackling this “people part.” Without it, you’re flying blind in all those platforms.
▪Etiquette helps you bounce back from mistakes.
No matter how great your manners are, inevitably we all make mistakes in social media. That’s because people are weird and unpredictable. It’s impossible to flawlessly communicate with everyone all the time. But knowing where points of confusion commonly crop up can help you improve your chances of doing it more successfully, more often.
▪Etiquette makes you a better supporter of your peers.
There is no one “right way” to do social media and no one does it perfectly. Knowing other people are also making mistakes makes the whole playing field less intimidating. Our collective imperfection also makes us less likely to jump on the blame bandwagon and start pointing fingers when mistakes happen.
▪ Etiquette helps you be more empathetic.
While your goal in using social media is undoubtedly important, don’t forget you are communicating with people who have goals, too. Using proper etiquette forces you to put yourself in your audience’s shoes, which ultimately gives you a better understanding of their wants and needs.
▪ Etiquette helps you focus on the bottom line.
Posting personal info to a professional account, accidentally sharing private information publicly or inadvertently insulting an influential supporter are all etiquette mistakes that can create a social media firestorm. Will those type of mistakes end your career or company? Maybe not. But they will distract you from the business of being awesome and that can affect your bottom line.
▪Etiquette makes you more productive.
In spite of its popular appeal and easy access, social media is complicated and complex and only produces strategic results if you use it strategically. You will need a variety of tools at your disposal to do this strategic work. Etiquette is one of those tools.
▪ Etiquette makes the social web a better place.
Sure pleases and thank yous seem like little things that don’t matter a whole lot in the grand scheme. But there is a lot of rudeness, trolling and bullying on social media these days. Using good etiquette is one way you can help collectively tip the scales back in the direction of people being nicer to each other.
▪ Good etiquette feels good.
As Maya Angelou once said, “Just do right. Right might not be expedient. It may not be profitable. But it will satisfy your soul.” Social media etiquette is social media done right that feel right.
■TIPS TO IMPROVE YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA ETIQUETTES
▪Think before you post. Ask yourself how a post could be taken out of context, double- check that it’s error-free and ensure you’re posting on the right account.
▪ Understand the platform you’re posting on and the conventions of that platform. On Twitter, for example, you can post several times a day, while the same behaviour might be considered spammy on Facebook. On Facebook, hashtags are widely considered #annoying so #DontUseThem #ever .
Speaking of which, don’t use too many hashtags even on Twitter. Recent studies have shown that hashtags play little role in increasing the virality of your tweet and can impede understanding. When you do use them, ensure that every letter of a new word is capitalized. (I.e. #GoTeamGo not #goteamgo)
Don’t auto-post from Facebook to Twitter and vice versa. Though auto-posting might save you some time, no one will read a Twitter post that gets cut-off mid sentence or a Facebook post with @ tags.
▪ Strike the right tone: If you post in language that’s too stiff and formal, your organization will look aloof and out of place. If you’re too casual, you will look unprofessional.
Don’t disguise your intentions. Be up front whenever you promote something you have a vested interest in.
▪Use correct grammar and spelling.
Don’t sign your posts, unless you’re
a) posting from a Twitter account that’s handled by multiple people or
b) Mark Twain/ Oscar Wilde/ Ghandi or some other famous quotable figure.
Don’t use Capslock (no one likes being shouted at) or go overboard with exclamation marks/emoticons. Unless your team has just upset its arch-rival with 1 second to go at the Olympics/Paralympics, you probably don’t need more than 1 exclamation mark per sentence.
▪Respond to questions and comments promptly.
Don’t let social media accounts fall idle. It reflects poorly on your organization. If you’re strapped for time, use some of the many post-scheduling devices such as Hootsuite to schedule some content.
▪Use blocking or banning only as a last measure. Your social media channels should be a place for healthy debate. If someone is speaking negatively about your organization, politely respond to their concerns and encourage them to contact you by email to follow up. If someone is being harassing or using threatening language, however, feel free to block and ban them.
▪Be careful with humour. If something will offend even 1 person out of 100, don’t post it. Humour can backfire more than any other posting type.
▪ While it’s okay to share something from another organization’s page, ask before you share something from someone’s personal page.
▪Vary your message. If you want to increase the visibility of a big event with multiple posts, change the language and tone of each post.
On Twitter, shorten your links using a link shortener like Ow.ly or go.gl.
▪ Many people who work in social media for sports organizations have an existing relationship within the sports community (i.e. a former athlete) and may have friends there. Be mindful of the distinction between your personal and professional social media life and keep your tone professional when engaging with your real-life friends on your organization’s social media channels.
▪ Above all, be genuine. Traditional business communication methods can come off as wooden and hollow on social media. Ditch the passive voice and the stock phrases and speak directly to your audience.