I subscribe to updates from a group called Women In Business Networking. The message below was part of their Monday Morning Moments. Yes, I realize it is Friday, but. . .
10 Tips on Social Media Etiquette/Marketing
Since social media is, well, a social medium, it's important that users understand the proper ways to behave online. No, just because you're behind a computer monitor in your mom's basement doesn't mean all social etiquette goes out the window. It's quite the opposite-following proper social media etiquette is a key to being successful online.
1. Give More than You Receive- If you want to receive attention from others online, you have to be willing to give it first. It's the old "I'll scratch your back if you scratch mine" routine. You can't bust onto a social media site with a sense of entitlement thinking you should be a top user immediately. You have to earn respect from others. How do you do this? By giving more than you receive.
2. Don't be a Keyboard Gangsta- Probably the worst thing about the Internet is the keyboard gangstas. You've surely run across at least one of these in your lifetime. They sit at their keyboard talking trash to everyone they encounter. They say things online that they would never have the nerve to say to a real person's face. Don't try to ruin everyone else's online experience because you don't have any friends in real life.
3. Add Value to the Site- At the end of the day, the thing that will earn you great connections with others is if you add value to the community. This means not submitting content that nobody cares about and not constantly promoting your brand. Before you ever submit anything to a social media site, ask yourself "Does this article really add value to the community?" If not, reconsider submitting it.
4. Build Quality Relationships- People are more willing to help those who they really know. By building quality relationships with other users, you'll always have someone in your corner to back you up. Remember, relationships require the participation of both parties; so, always be a good participant in your social media relationship.
5. Respect the Community- This might be the most important rule of social media etiquette. Show respect to the community. It's not that hard to do. Just make sure you don't step out of line, and always treat everyone the way you want to be treated. These are simple social skills you should already be following in real life; now, you just have to follow them online too.
6. Listen to Others- Your first reaction whenever someone disagrees with you online is probably to tell them how wrong they are. Instead of constantly fighting back, take the time to listen to what they're really saying. Listen to the people commenting on your blog or Tweeting at you. Understand where they're coming from. You don't know everything, and you can learn from others if you take the time to listen.
7. Be Accountable for Your Actions-Because of the anonymity the Internet allows, there is little to no accountability online. People say and do whatever they please without facing any repercussions. Don't be that individual. Instead, try to be honorable by taking responsibility your actions online. By being accountable, people will respect you, whether they agree with you or not.
8. Be Nice- All of these points add up to one thing-just be nice. Is it really too much to ask for people to be kind to one another? Call me old-fashioned if you like, but there's nothing wrong with being nice to others online.
9. Put in the time. If you don't, you will not get what you want from social media. This is the hardest point for many to deal with. They just don't have the time. My advice is to pick two social media sites that resonate with you and use them. You don't need to be everywhere. You can cross-pollinate your friends between the two services easily.
10. Take breaks. You can wear your followers and friends out if you over-use a service. They'll get sick of you, even if you're providing value. It's like the social media version of that person at the party who just won't shut up and you want to wring his neck.
My personal favorite is #1. I have found it to be so true that if you read and comment on other people's posts, and realize that it isn't all about YOU, you will start to build relationships and gain your own audience with time. So take the time to comment on social media post that you liked today. Then make that a habit. You won't regret it.