Manners are free…

24 Feb

This article I wrote appeared in today’s HoosierPRSA newsletter, but I also wanted to post it on my blog for discussion.

Social Media; a treasure to many and a monster to a few. I think it is safe to say most everyone in our industry has engaged in social media via one form or another. Without much direction, everyone began posting, linking and tweeting away. Both excellent conversation and even large controversy have been the result of a platform with little-to-no rules.

Here are just a few do’s and don’ts on social media etiquette. I’m sure we each have our own unique experience so feel free to share your rules — I’d love to hear what you have to say.

  • Do personalize your messages, especially when making connections on LinkedIn and Facebook.
  • Don’t flood all outlets with the same content, be sure to provide new content or alter messaging to fit the specific audience. In other words, don’t link all platforms together, Twitter to LinkedIn, Facebook to Twitter, etc.
  • Do mix personal with professional, but be smart about it. Have a personality but be ready to take responsibility for your actions.
  • Don’t be a robot.
  • Do respond to people trying to engage in conversation with you.
  • Don’t try and connect with people on Facebook or LinkedIn you don’t know. Those are more personal platforms and you are better off beginning with the ‘follow’ button on Twitter.
  • Do offer to help people when possible. But don’t always expect something in return.
  • Don’t tell me everything; it adds noise instead of value.
  • Do contribute something more. As contradictory as it sounds, Twitter is a great place to lead and not always follow.
  • And finally, don’t ever auto DM or spam.

What social media etiquette rules do you live by?


8 Responses to “Manners are free…”

  1. Sarah Black February 24, 2010 at 8:49 pm #

    Something I find unappealing is people (in particular, students) who are overeager. While I can appreciate opportunities like HAPPO and the various journalism chats out there, I don’t think social media is necessarily the best platform to tell the world you’re a “super creative hard-worker looking for an entry-level job at a boutique PR agency” at least once a day. Selling yourself so hard isn’t necessary; let people find out what your personality is like before they read your 140-character resume.

    • adriennebailey February 24, 2010 at 9:07 pm #

      Thanks, Sarah. I agree there are a particular number of students (and professionals for that matter) that are a bit overzealous, but I suppose that is better than being a ghost. Learning how to effectively use social media to connect and build relationships is far more important than just telling people you’re a “super creative hard-worker looking for an entry-level job at a boutique PR agency.” If you are going to say that, you better have the work to prove it. Finding the balance between creating, sharing, listening, commenting and modest self-promotion is imperative.

      In terms of shameless self-promotion, Nick Lucido wrote an excellent post today everyone should read; Reasons Not to Use Social Media.

  2. Nick Lucido February 24, 2010 at 10:31 pm #

    Adrienne, thanks for the shout out!

    Overall, I agree with everything you pointed out. In short, I guess I would say the best thing you can do in social media is listen. It’s not easy for the people who love to hear themselves talk, but by just listening, you will learn so much about the online community and the best practices that go along with it. If you can master the art of listening, you’re golden.

    • adriennebailey February 25, 2010 at 8:29 pm #

      Completely agree! We (PR people) pride ourselves on being such great communicators, but we often forget the value of attentive listening. It is a crucial skill in every relationship, virtual or not.

      Thanks Nick!

  3. Abby Rardin February 25, 2010 at 5:41 pm #

    My personal rule for using social media is to not post anything I do not want my 81-year old grandmother to see…who is actually on Facebook now. Lucky for me, I was already abiding by this rule before she joined so I had nothing to worry about when she “friended” me. Great article!!

    • adriennebailey February 25, 2010 at 8:30 pm #

      Ah haha, I love the grandma rule. Especially when you are entering the job market. Thanks for the tip, Abby. Keep it clean people!

  4. Sam Bridegroom February 25, 2010 at 8:17 pm #

    Twitter is the only place where I think I actually blend the personal and business sides of things. I tend to use the outlets for independent means – for business, there’s my website/business blog and LinkedIn, and for my non-business/personal things there’s my personal blog and Facebook. When it makes sense, I’ll cross-post/cross-reference.

    One mutation I’d suggest (along the lines of the “don’t flood all channels” you mention) – use the right platform for what you’re trying to accomplish. I’m starting to see people using LinkedIn groups like technical forums, posting problems/issues/questions in hopes that someone will have a solution for them. There are tech forums, wikis and the like for that kind of interaction. I tend to ignore these kinds of things, and I suspect I’m not alone.

  5. adriennebailey February 25, 2010 at 8:37 pm #

    Thanks for reading. The “rules” for personal vs. professional use can be quite tricky, but overall it is a question of relevance. Only when it makes sense, or adds specific value to the audience, should you cross-post/cross-reference.

    And yes, you are not alone! We can only hope Nicholas grows up to be as smart as you.

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