Let’s Talk Social Media Manners: 12 Tips

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mind your manners

The topic of social etiquette has come up on a near daily basis lately. What are the Dos and Don’ts of Social Media?

While there are only a few “hard and fast” rules, much of what is considered proper etiquette is subjective. I guess when it comes down to it things can always be considered subjective (to some), like whether you should throw a temper tantrum in public or wash your hands after using the restroom.

I think you get what I mean … while social media etiquette may be “subjective” there are certain areas that should be common sense.


For instance…

 On Facebook:

1. It’s never wise to break the ToS (terms of service). It’s especially loathsome when social “experts” violate ToS.

2. It’s not appropriate to create an event on Facebook and blanket-invite all of your friends. You should select attendees carefully and send a personalized invitation.

3. Mass tagging photos with people (who aren’t actually in the photo) to spike engagement or interaction is also a no-no. It is considered quite rude and is SPAM.

On Twitter:

1. Locking your tweets (if you’re a professional) is silly, and “so not social.”

2. Overusing hashtags or keyword stuffing your Twitter (or any) bio is a nasty habit, and 99% of us know what you’re up to, buddy.

3. Fire hosing or tweeting on rapid fire is certainly not proper social use. It would be like going to a cocktail party and having diarrhea of the mouth – where’s the connection and conversation in that?!

On LinkedIn:

1. Using the listed personal email of a contact, or their LI inbox for that matter, to send sales and marketing messages is considered SPAM. It’s called social media – why don’t you try for a personal message to feel out your connection’s interest in your product/service/venue?

2. Accepting endorsements or recommendations that are CLEARLY not in your area of expertise is just plain greedy. For instance, you wouldn’t list that you’re HootSuite certified on your website when you’re not! Why do it on LinkedIn?

3. Joining LI Groups to tout your own company, products or services makes a mockery of what Groups are intended for. There’s a time and a place to boast – 99.99% of the time, it’s not in your LI Group.

Other General Rules of Thumb:

1. Following your competitors online is one thing, stalking them is quite another and can actually be seen as cyber bullying. Make sure your “research” is in line with what’s appropriate.

2. Your picture, avatar, cover photo and custom images should reflect your brand and represent you in a professional light. That cropped picture of you in a tube top last summer?? Not what people want to see from a professional!

3. I’ve said it before, but connecting your Facebook and Twitter accounts isn’t a well-planned strategy for reaching two different audiences. While it may save you time, it doesn’t bode well for most savvy marketers.

What tips would you add?

See you in the social sphere!


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Brooke B. Sellas is an award-winning Customer Marketing Strategist and the CEO & Founder of B Squared Media. Her book, Conversations That Connect has been recognized nationally and is required reading for a Customer Experience class at NSU. Brooke's influence in digital marketing is not just about her accomplishments but also about her unwavering commitment to elevating the industry standard of digital customer experience and customer marketing.
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19 Comments. Leave new

  • These are all great points that should be heard and followed by many! I can always count on you to teach the social good! Thanks Brooke!

  • Great post! I love these types of posts. This is content everyone needs to read.

    • Thanks Mandy! I think it’s an important topic that a lot of people can’t seem to find, or understand. Just yesterday a social professional said they were unaware of Facebook’s ToS when it came to having “illegal” contests on a Page wall – even though when you create a Page it’s laid out clearly in the ToS. I’m not sure how we get to a better understanding of the rules – but we need to!

  • Avatar
    Eddie E Winther
    December 5, 2012 10:54 AM

    Great points and tips Brooke, thank you! Add to that? Not much more than what you point out – follow the ToS on respective media and network site, and – all out there use as much as possible of their own unique inner to make social media and networking sites even richer – “make social ‘right’ in your own way” ツ

    • I LOVE that, Eddie. Make social right in your own way – YES. Follow the rules, play nice but have your own voice in doing so. That’s the perfect message. Thanks for joining the conversation. 🙂

  • Love your 12 tips. I can add these:
    Facebook: ‘don’t like for like sake’ and ask for a FB like outright.
    Twitter: make sure you have a real conversation once in a while and you are not just RTing other people’s content and thoughts.
    LinkedIn: don’t keyword overload your profile. Looks terrible and it hard to read.

    General: Understand that each person on social media has their own voice. Develop your own and stick to it! Be consistent, unique and recognizable. Don’t copy someone else’s voice: You’ll be sure to trip and lose followers.

    • LOVE that you added some tips, Dorien. Thank you!! I love that last one about finding your own voice. It seems lots of brands struggle with this or have no voice at all (BORING). That’s all part of branding and differentiation and it should definitely get some attention!

  • Bravissimo!
    (Can you hear the applause in the background?) 🙂

    I honestly don’t know why it’s such a struggle for some people to understand the way I look at social media, Brooke. To me, “social” is “social” … whether it’s online or offline. Seems that concept is extremely hard for some folks to grasp. Can’t really understand “why” some people choose to behave differently on the net than they do in the real world. Sorry to say I may be scratching my head for a long time.

    Love all your tips and the ones Dorien added, as well.

    As far as “connecting” social media accounts, I’ve got a confession to make …

    I’ve connected and disconnected my accounts so many times over the years (based on different advice I’ve gotten from different people I respect along the way), at the moment I don’t what’s connected to what! Ugh.
    Melanie Kissell @SoloMompreneur recently posted…Out With The Trash And In With The TreasuresMy Profile

    • Melanie, is there any chance you’re available for hire? I’d for you to be my personal cheerleader! Your comments always cheer me up and make my day. THANK YOU!

      I hear ya – social is “social” and so many have a hard time with that.

      As for your accounts, MY advice/experience/opinion is to NOT connect the accounts. In fact, a recent survey indicated that 68% of followers were “irritated” when they clicked a link on Twitter and it led to Facebook. Just food for thought!

  • As Austin Powers would say…’Yeah Baby, yeah!’ This is a great list of manner and I am going to share it around! One more to add to the list in my book is the classic thread hijack. DO NOT post what you are selling/promoting into another thread. It’s the worst form of spam and yet I see it ALL the time!

    • HAHA! Kerry, my sister and I were OBSESSED with Austin Powers. She even had an Austin Powers themed B-day party one year …. MEMORIES.

      SUCH a good tip you added! I have seen that before as well and it’s TOTALLY spam. The audacity of some peeps, right?!

      Thanks for commenting! And for the laugh. 😀

  • Ditch the Strong Arm Tactics: Keep the Social in Social Media! | Millipede Media Group
    December 7, 2012 9:19 PM

    […] Brooke Ballard of B Squared Media: Let’s Talk Social Media Manners: 12 Tips […]

  • If you wouldn’t do it in person… don’t do it in social media.

  • Fantastic post, Brooke! Everyone should read this before signing up for one of the social media platforms. It would be a great idea, wouldn’t it? Unfortunately, many people do not know what proper netiquette is. Will be sharing! And please, keep them coming.

    • I like the idea too, Robin. It seems that people have a hard enough time reading FB’s ToS when they sign up (which is a very big part of the problem), so I’m not sure how we get people to read up on “netiquette”!
      Thanks so much for reading and joining in the conversation! 🙂

  • Great list of reminders. On Twitter: #3 drives me crazy; fire hosing is so annoying. On Facebook, I’ve noticed an increase in post sharing without crediting the source. I used to let it go, but now go to their post as my business page rather than my personal account and thank them for the share!

    • Hi Nancy – I have noticed an influx of shares without citing the source as well. I have a post coming out soon about plagiarism – it’s nasty and rampant on social media and many women of the SSC have had to deal with it (including me). There are steps you can take to rectify the situation, and I’ll be sure to outline those in my post. 😉


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