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I tried to avoid writing about the topic of social media etiquette; however, I feel compelled to write about it. Situations continue to arise where an individual is doing something ridiculous on a social media account, or a business is losing money by doing something or not doing something on social media.

Personal Social Media Etiquette

“It is MY account, and I CAN do whatever I want with it.”

If you live by this on your personal social media account, you are coming off as selfish and maybe even as a bully. There are consequences to every action. Making mature and responsible decisions as you make each post is important, even if it is your account.

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Dirty Laundry

Don’t make your social media account read like a trashy talk show. Keep personal things between your intimate circle of friends. It’s awkward for those of us who are a social media connection and don’t know or need to know the inner workings of your life. Don’t let your social media account become the place nosey people go for the latest gossip to share.

If there are comments that you feel are directed at you, don’t take the bait. It is your choice to get involved in drama or not. Scroll away.

Never EVER share pictures of other peoples kids

“They share pictures of their children on social media all the time, what’s the problem?” The big deal is that it is THEIR kids and it is THEIR contacts who are viewing the pictures. Your contacts might be strangers, someone they don’t like or even an enemy. It is rude and thoughtless to share someone else’s children’s pictures on your social media accounts without permission. Just ask a quick question and get a yes or no. If they say yes, enjoy posting. If they say no, don’t be offended and understand they are protecting their families privacy from strangers.

Never SHARE pictures of people

If it wasn’t a picture taken in a public place, don’t share it. If you snap the picture, are in the picture or not in the picture, ask if you can share it on social media. It’s only manners to ask and not assume. Some people do not share pictures of every thing they do and post it on social media accounts. Some people choose to post every single thing they do, even each meal and snack they eat. It’s a personal prerogative. Appreciate the differences in preferences and personalities.

Don’t dig out a picture from twenty years ago and share it on social media without asking the person in it if it is okay. Some people do not want their images shared with strangers all over the internet.

Show respect by asking before posting. Remember, your contacts are strangers to other people.

Stop tagging

Not everyone wants to be tagged in the latest event or picture. Just don’t do it. If you must tag, ask first.

Don’t hijack friends

Have you ever sat and gone through someone’s friend list? Do you “create” friends just because you passed in a hallway once or met them at a gathering once? Building a network is great. It can be considered tacky to add and hijack contacts. Sometimes settings are set so friends cannot be viewed by others. However, each time someone replies to a post, suddenly friends become visible. If you feel the need to get in touch with the contact who is not your contact, don’t do it by replying off topic in the post with something like “hello, remember me.” Send them a private message or find another way besides hijacking a post.

Business Social Media Etiquette

Post on a regular basis

If you have social media accounts for your business, you need to use them. It’s terrible to find what you were looking for only to discover an account that hasn’t been updated since 2012.

Reply to messages and posts

If someone takes the time to post or send a message, you must reply. You can have “stock answers” ready to go on a spreadsheet and just copy and paste. Whatever you do, you must reply. It’s like never responding to a letter or voicemail message.

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Respond to reviews, even a bad review

You’ve asked for reviews and you’ve loved the 5-star reviews. The 4-star reviews have caused a bit of anxiety as it’s not a 5, what’s wrong? Then, it happens, you get a 1-star review and horrible comments.

Ignoring it does not help. Batting it out on social media does not help. It is important that you respond and that you respond professionally with a cool head.

I have seen some recent bad reviews and here’s an example of one:

A local dog boarding facility LOST a dog. The client was sad and angry. The dog boarding facility owner flippantly responded to a negative comment by saying “accidents happen.” I know this is a place where I would NEVER leave my dog. I don’t know how a dog boarding facility loses a dog but for the owner to reply on social media without heart and emotion made the situation even worse. Thankfully, the dog was found safe two days later.

Social Media Etiquette Tips

  • Make mature and responsible decisions
  • Don’t let your social media account become the place nosey people go for the latest gossip to share
  • Scroll away
  • Don’t tag people without asking first
  • Never share a picture of someone else’s children without permission
  • Stop posting pics you like of others without asking
  • Quit tagging
  • Respect others
  • Appreciate different personalities and preferences
  • Don’t hijack contacts
  • Post on a regular basis
  • Reply to messages
  • Always respond, even to a bad review

Utilizing social media accounts must be managed properly both personally and professionally. Work and personal life are more intertwined today than in previous generations. Use a little common sense and a lot of skill as you remember not to invade the privacy of another person personally and to keep it timely and professional with your business.