Just as there are proper ways to behave in person, there are etiquette rules that govern social media. Whether you're poking someone on Facebook or posting on a website forum, when you learn how to master social etiquette, you will be more successful in your electronic communications.
Keep emails short and to the point.
With inboxes being flooded each hour, a concise and informative email will be easier for the recipient to read and respond to.
Know the forum in which you are posting.
Spend time getting to know the personalities of the forum, the purpose and goal of the participants and how you can add value to the community with your comments.
Whether you are texting, posting or emailing, take credit for your opinions and communications rather than hiding behind generic names. Anonymity tends to bring out the worst manners in people, so keep your integrity by sharing your name or ID.
Keep business and personal media accounts separate.
A social networking profile should be strictly one or the other. Business associates and clients should not be allowed to see your bar-hopping photos from last weekend, nor should your friends get hit up with sales pitches each time you communicate. It's a common mistake to share too much information via social media outlets. Create two if you must, but keep them separate.
Don't invite out of the blue.
Do not invite friends or connections to join your social network site randomly. When you contact someone you vaguely know, provide them with some context on how you know each other and why you want to be connected. Are you creating a professional network or are you looking to reconnect with former high school classmates? Be clear, polite and state why you made contact.
Realize that when it's out there, it's out there.
From a sarcastic comment or a rude joke to embarrassing pictures, once communication has entered electronic form, it is preserved for all to see. If the correspondence is not something you could stand to see printed on the front page of your local paper, you'd better not send it.
Irrelevant email forwards, chain letters, texting or Tweeting for no reason and even frequency of posts or communications can all be considered unwanted and irritating. Because everyone is overloaded with social media messages, be sure that you are just saying what you want to say and not wasting anyone's time.
Avoid the negative.
Whether it's commenting to a negative post on your blog or joining in a flame war, simply do not engage. It doesn't change anyone's mind on the topic and it detracts from the actual message.
Don't try to invent a personality or identity that isn't a true reflection of you. Because social media is all about building relationships, it does no good to establish contacts when you are not acting as you.
Use your real voice.
Don't let social media get in the way of real voice-to-voice communication. Whether you use social media more for personal or business, never underestimate the power and authenticity of a real conversation. Clients want to hear from a real person, as will your friends.
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