Social Media Engagement Etiquette Part VI: Play Nice

Oct 10, 2012
Nicole Arnold

Social Media Engagement Etiquette Part VI: Play NiceThis is the sixth installment in the Mind Your Manners ~ Simple Rules for Social Media Engagement Etiquette.

On a playground, the majority of children know what’s acceptable and what’s not. But, there are always a few kids who just won’t play nice. Whether they are too rough or they monopolize the swings, their unfriendly antics typically cause their peers to choose other playmates. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always change as kids grow up. Grown ups find their own venues in which to misbehave too. This brings me to the sixth and final simple rule for social media engagement etiquette: play nice.

Facebook and other social media sources are kind of like big, virtual playgrounds. Many users adhere to generally accepted etiquette, especially those of us that use social media to market our businesses. It’s unlikely that you’d inadvertently bully someone or play too rough online, but there are a few social media faux pas that might leave you getting picked last in gym class (so to speak).

First, never buy a list of names. If your contacts and potential contacts are really “friends” of your business, then you shouldn’t have to pay for them. Buying a list of strangers and soliciting them will make you look like a spammer or an online telemarketer. In the game of social media engagement marketing, quality is more valuable than quantity. In other words, it’s not about the size of your list, but the way you nurture relationships with those already on it. Networking and making new friends is fine, but the relationship development has to come before the sales pitch. The reverse is also true; never breach your contacts’ trust by selling your own list.

Next, only connect with people you actually know. Again, avoid earning a spammer’s reputation by limiting your friend requests to real friends and associates, not a friend’s friend or some tertiary person.

Finally, remember that there is a unique culture to every service. Think about it. All the kids on the playground have organized a soccer game, but the new girl keeps grabbing the ball with her hands. Even when she learns the rules, she insists on scooping that ball up. Pretty soon, she’s not only out of the game, no one wants to play with her at all. Social media has rules. A good example is using a Twitter hashtag (#) for every Facebook post. Just don’t do it. It doesn’t belong on Facebook and what’s more? It’s tacky and makes you look like you don’t know what you’re doing.

Don’t worry. Conforming to the rules of social media etiquette won’t make you a robot. Your personality and uniqueness will shine through, and your fans will appreciate your observation of the generally accepted (and expected) norms of online communication. Follow these rules and you won’t just get picked first in gym class. You’ll probably end up leading the team!

This article was originally written at Little Cottage Services, LLC by Nicole Arnold

1 Comment. Leave new

I like your example of the little girl picking up the soccer ball with both of her hands during the game. You’re right! Soon enough, nobody will want to play with her.

Unfortunately, it’s a lot easier to hide behind your poor manners online. There are a lot of people who misbehave in person…and it simply transfers online. However, most people make mistakes online that they never would consider doing in person.

It’s amazing how many people still need to learn how to play nicely with others. Good post!

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