The Top Twelve Business Etiquette Tips
for Social Media
By Lydia Ramsey
There is no doubt
about it-social networking, or social media if you prefer, is all
the buzz. A report just out by Forrester's Research indicates that
51% of online Americans have joined a social network. Another 73%
are consuming some form of social content on a regular basis. People
are connecting with, listening to, following and collaborating with
each other online at an amazing rate.
Some people are
using it for personal reasons. They are sharing their recipes, their
photos and their ideas to stay up to date with their friends and
family. Business people are using social networking sites to build
their careers, promote their business and grow their reputations.
The most popular
social networking sites are Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn and Twitter.
Each one of those sites is uniquely positioned and serves a
particular population or purpose. There are other online networking
sites, numbering in the thousands, so at this point, they shall
The purpose of this
article is not to provide information on which networking sites you
should choose and why, but to provide you with tips on the etiquette
of social networking. Once again, as with e-mail, cell phones,
Blackberries and other technological devices or technologically
driven communication, we got the technology up front and we have
backed into the rules for using it with courtesy and consideration.
I am starting with
a list of twelve tips on the etiquette of social networking for the
polished professional. The list will, no doubt, grow with time.
1) Fill out your
online profiles completely with information about you and your
business. Use your real name and your own photo. Your cat may be
adorable, but unless you are a veterinarian specializing in the care
and treatment of felines, don't get cute.
2) Use a different
profile or account for your personal connections. Business and
pleasure do not mix in this medium.
3) Create a section
on your main profile detailing who you are seeking to befriend and
ask that visitors abide by that information. Everyone need not
information of value. Don't talk just about yourself and your
5) Don't approach
strangers and ask them to be friends with you just so you can then
try to sell them on your products or services. You will quickly lose
credibility and your so-called "friends."
6) Pick a screen
name that represents you and your company well. Don't call yourself
"Loser1" unless you want to be known by that name.
7) Don't send out
requests for birthdays, invitations to play games or other
timewasters for those using the site.
8) Don't put
anything on the Internet that you don't want your future boss,
current client or potential clients to read.
9) Check out the
people who want to follow you or be your friend. Your mother was
right when she said that people will judge you by the company you
10) If someone does
not want to be your friend, accept their decision gracefully. They
have the right to make that choice and you have to accept it.
11) Never post when
you're overly-tired, jet lagged, intoxicated, angry or upset.
12) Compose your
posts, updates or tweets in a word processing document so you can
check grammar and spelling before you send them.
The world of online
networking is new to most of us, but there is little difference in
connecting with people online and offline. The same basic tenets
hold true. Trust and authenticity remain high on the list.
Lydia Ramsey is
a business etiquette expert, professional speaker, corporate trainer
and author featured in the Wall Street Journal and many other
off-line and on-line publications. Lydia shares her business
etiquette tips in her monthly e-zine, her blog, and on Twitter.
[Contact the author for permission to republish or reuse this article.]