Social Media Etiquette: 4 New Rules Every Professional Should Know

Throughout history, professionals have followed unspoken rules of etiquette when promoting an event or product. They’ve sent press releases as directed, followed up later, and maintained positive relations with both the media community and the public. But with the rapid growth of social media, the rules are quickly changing, with professionals challenged to define proper behaviors as they go. To ensure you are following the new rules, here are four things you should know about social media etiquette.

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4 Things Every Professional Should Know About Social Media Etiquette

Good manners are more relevant than ever, especially since every post can linger online for decades. To avoid making a mistake that could permanently damage your business reputation, small business owners should think carefully before posting an item on social media. Here are a few tips to successfully interact on social media.

Be Professional

Social media gives everyone the power to post anything they want, without going through an editor or supervisor. A business should ensure every employee representing it on social media is aware of the company policy on online posts. While regular interaction is to be encouraged, it’s important that your employees know the dangers of revealing personal information or sharing information that may be seen as unprofessional.

Don’t Bombard

Just as you wouldn’t call a reporter a dozen times a day to pitch a story idea, you also shouldn’t repeatedly blast your marketing messages throughout the day. Doing so will be seen as rude and obnoxious. Post a message once or twice and, if it needs to be posted again, urge others in your office to share or retweet it. Be sure to regularly post items of substance to give followers information and insight they need.

Ignore Hostile Posts

Even the most customer-friendly business will occasionally encounter a troll. Whether this person is an unhappy customer or simply seeking attention, buying into it will only make you look worse. The best course of action when you notice inflammatory posts directed toward your company is to ignore it and, if possible, block the posts from appearing on your newsfeeds. You can also consider reporting the offender to the site or his own internet service provider.

Interact Politely

If you have targeted a specific reporter you feel would be beneficial to your business growth, don’t resort to “look at me” tactics to get the person’s attention. Follow them and occasionally retweet or comment on his or her posts, but avoid looking like a stalker. Never request that the reporter follow you or like your pages. If your posts are interesting enough to catch the journalist’s attention, that will come naturally. The best practice is to follow the other person because you’re interested in what he has to say, not because you expect him to follow you in return. Sit back and learn from their posts and use the information to craft interesting story ideas to pitch through their preferred method of receiving such pitches.

When working hard to build a reputation, it’s important that businesses use basic professional etiquette, even on social media. By being aware of inappropriate behavior, business owners can avoid making a major mistake that could cause permanent reputation damage.

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