9 Social Media Etiquette Tips For Smart & Responsible Social Networking

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Considering the power social media has over our social networking success, it’s important to be aware of important social media etiquette rules. Today’s article shares 9 important social media etiquette rules for successful social networking.

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In this article:

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  1. Effects of Social Media on Your Social Networking Success
  2. Social Media Tips: Social Media Etiquette Dos
  3. Social Media Tips: Social Media Etiquette Don’ts

Social Media Etiquette: 9 Social Media Rules for Social Networking Success

Effects of Social Media on Your Social Networking Success

Why should you learn social media etiquette? Social media can significantly impact your social networking success both professionally and personally.

  • Social Media Leverages Exposure

Whether you’re looking for personal or professional connections, social media can help you expand your social networks in ways not possible in real life. With over a billion users on Facebook alone, social media provides access to a lot of social networking opportunities to help you achieve your goals.

  • It Makes Word-of-Mouth Promotion Much Easier

If you’re looking for social platforms to discuss your advocacy or promote your brand or business, one of the best ways to do it is by word-of-mouth. Compared to advertising, it’s more organic and genuine, which makes people trust it more than advertisements.

Another advantage — word-of-mouth is free. Just imagine how powerful it can be on a large platform like social media.

Social Media Tips: Social Media Etiquette Dos

Your social media presence can make or break your career and relationships depending on how you use it. Here are some dos and don’ts for using social media sites.

1. Exercise Caution When Tagging Social Media Pictures

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Be careful with what you post.

Always use high-resolution pictures. Also, if you’re posting pictures on business social media platforms like LinkedIn, make sure they look professional.

When sharing pictures from other people, brands, or businesses, online etiquette dictates you indicate who took the picture or put “CTTO” (credits to the owner) along with the name of the owner. The last thing you want is to be accused of plagiarism or copyright violations.

Also, don’t just tag people in your posted pictures. The pictures you think are cool may be embarrassing for others, which can make you look insensitive.

If you want to tag others, but aren’t sure how they’d take it, simply write “Tag yourself” in the post.

2. Use the Right Amount of Self-Centeredness

Promoting yourself on social media isn’t bad. In fact, it’s needed, especially if you’re using it to promote your brand, business, products and services.

The key here is to use just the right amount to not come across as a narcissist. A good rule of thumb is the 4-1-1 rule.

This rule suggests posting four pieces of original and informative content and one repost or shared content for every post you make about yourself. By posting more informative and useful content for your social media followers, you earn the right to post about yourself without being considered a narcissist.

3. Keep in Mind That Humor Is Subjective

One of the worst ways to cause a stir on social media and damage your reputation is through offensive posts. These include humor posts that mock, offend, or discriminate against others.

Just think about those who’ve built up a career as an influencer and found themselves losing deals and their audience because of offensive posts. Don’t let this happen to you.

Always think twice before posting funny stuff on social media. Make sure it’s a generally non-offensive post by running it by another person first for a fresh pair of eyes.

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4. Learn the Best Practices for Each Social Media Platform

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Study the dos and don’ts of the social platform you’re using.

While most social media practices are universal, some aren’t.

Before ramping up your social media activities on your chosen platform, make sure to learn the applicable best practices first. And continue checking up on these at least every month, as these things change over time.

Social Media Tips: Social Media Etiquette Don’ts

Not doing something can be just as important as doing something, even with social media etiquette. Here are some important things you shouldn’t be doing with your social media accounts.

5. Don’t Combine Personal and Business Social Media Accounts

With the exception of a rare few, most people should keep their personal and business social media accounts separate. This is especially true if your brand or business is yourself (if you’re a freelancer, consultant, or resource speaker).

Post all your personal musings on your personal social media account and keep your professional as such. Also, make sure people can clearly tell your two social media profiles apart.

If the handles on both accounts are too similar, make clear distinctions in their “About” sections. For seemingly questionable or potentially controversial content, leave an “All views expressed here are my own.” statement on your personal social media accounts to minimize their potential negative impacts on your business or brand.

6. Avoid Reacting to Seemingly Negative or Offensive Posts and Comments

While feuding celebrities on social media can be very entertaining, getting into one yourself won’t be. At least, not for you.

Reacting to negative or offensive posts is easy because people can hide behind their keyboards and computers or smartphones. It gives them irrational courage to pick fights.

Don’t fall into the same trap. Remember, reacting to such posts or comments can end up in a full-blown social media spat, one that everybody can witness.

And it can potentially cost you your career, too. Your employer can use your online behavior to sanction or even fire you, even if it has nothing to do with your job because it may reflect on the company as well.

A rule of thumb — before hitting “send” on that tweet or comment, ask yourself if this is something you would say in real life to that person. Don’t hide behind the screen and do something just because you think you’re protected by the Internet.

7. Don’t Overshare

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Manage the information you share.

Whether you use social media for personal or business purposes, it reflects your personal brand. And this brand can impact your relationships, be they personal or professional, by painting a good or bad picture of you to others.

It’s ok to post pictures of your cute pet Labrador or the food you eat every now and then. But doing it almost every day or multiple times daily can make people avoid you on social media faster than Usain Bolt in a sprinting event.

Be strategic and purposeful with your status updates and posts, both in terms of the content and frequency. Post relevant and engaging content only, and post them regularly, but not too frequently, to keep people interested.

8. Don’t Misrepresent Yourself on Social Media

Many people’s reputations and businesses have been ruined after being exposed as fakers on social media. Since it’s easy to curate content on these platforms, some people tend to paint themselves in exaggeratedly positive ways.

For example, many people promote their network marketing businesses by posting pictures of themselves beside luxury cars, in fancy homes or hotels, and lying on literal beds of cash. For most people, such promotions actually look exaggerated and over-the-top, which makes them think it’s a lie.

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Don’t be like those people. Even if you don’t have any intentions of being like them, always review your posts before actually posting them.

One of the worst things that can happen to your online reputation is to make people think you’re a faker. And between keeping and regaining trust, the latter is much, much harder.

9. Don’t Post on Social Media at the Height of Your Emotion or When You’re Intoxicated

When you’re very happy or sad, or when you’re intoxicated, all your inhibitions are off. Your sense of propriety is probably turned off, too.

When you post on social media with little or no sense of inhibitions, you’re at very high risk of letting your fingers run loose and break social media etiquette guidelines. You put your reputation, personal and professional, on the line.

Recently, companies and even the U.S. embassy have started to include social media as part of their vetting process, you should be careful about what you post on social media. It can have a potentially serious impact on your future plans. So before posting, make sure whatever you post now is something you won’t regret later on.

Social media can be a powerful ally or a destructive enemy, depending on how you use it. To make the most of your experience online, just remember these important social media etiquette rules before posting anything.

Do you have other social media etiquette rules to share? Let us know in the comments section below.

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