With social media, you can connect with business associates quickly and creatively. But this communication mode is not without risk. A thoughtless post can offend customers and other business partners and damage relationships rather than build them. By following a few ground rules you can be confident your comments and posts will be appropriate ones.
1. Check Your Messages for Grammar and Spelling
Your co-workers and business partners evaluate your communication skills so don’t send a message until you check it for grammar and spelling. This is easily done if you prepare your social media messages in a Word document before making them public.
2. Consider the Possibility that Your Message Might Offend Someone
Before you send a post, consider who has access to your profile and if it will matter to you that you shared this information with a certain person or business. If you cringe at the thought of your boss, client or employee reading and sharing your message, it’s best to delete the message.
3. If You’re Feeling Needy, Disguise It
Refrain from asking Twitter followers to retweet a tweet or Facebook friends to like a page. Instead, make the effort necessary to find an enticing way to accomplish those tasks.
4. Share the Observations of Others
A key benefit of social media is that it grants immediate access to a diverse group of people willing to share their expertise. So share the posts and tweets of others, rather than limiting your content to your own commentary. In the process, give credit where credit is due by including their network handle and name in your message. Also, by sending a ‘thank you’ to those whose work you enjoy, you might create a valuable connection.
5. Ask May I Before Tagging
Because a photo is a flattering one of you, doesn’t mean it’s an equally flattering of others. So be considerate and don’t post photos and tag friends if the photos are ones the other subjects are unlikely to share with others. And never relay a conversation on your Facebook wall without asking permission of all involved.
6. Limit Your Use of Hashtags
A hashtag is a way to group your tweets and posts of similar content so those in need of information about a particular topic can find it. But refrain from creating a hashtag for multiple words in a post.
7. Don’t Use the Automated Direct Message Tool – Ever
If it’s worth saying, it’s worth saying well and to a specific person or group. So never send automated direct messages to anyone for any reason.
8. Be Transparent
If an issue arises that leads to a burst of activity on social platforms, don’t delete the comments and become defensive. Instead, post a thoughtful and informative response and work diligently to resolve the issue. When a solution is reached, post that information online.
9. Engage with your Readers
Encourage your readers to respond to your comments and posts by asking or answering a question and sharing relevant links. When they do so, reciprocate by ‘liking’ their posts or commenting on their tweets.
Social media offers a way to quickly and creatively connect with business partners who can be hard to reach. Unfortunately, these social platforms provide many opportunities to offend others in a variety of ways, including conveying extremely personal information in this very impersonal way. But you can avoid this and other faux pas by adhering to a few simple rules of social media etiquette.
This blog post first appeared on our old website.