In my last blog post I talked about some social etiquette tips that should be taken into consideration if you are looking to network with others. My focus was on LinkedIn as the primary professional social networking platform. In this blog post I am going to turn my attention to the other major personal social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, Orkut, Google+, etc. These personal social networking platforms are being used for both personal and business, thus bringing their own set of etiquette rules.
- Friending– Most people use Facebook/Google+/Orkut,etc. as personal networking and communication vehicles. Statistics show that younger people are more open to sharing information and receiving friend requests from people they casually know. As we get older we tend to be more selective about who we want to share our personal information with. It can be awkward to receive friend requests from people you interact with in a business context but not a personal context. Etiquette rule #1– Friend requests should be sent to people you know on a personal level. Use LinkedIn to connect on a professional basis and use your personal social networks for friends you know on a personal basis.
- Spamming– Are you posting or sharing tons of content every day all day? Consider how this shows up in your friends news feeds…there is a word for you. Spammer! Your friends don’t want to know everything your doing. Etiquette rule #2– Don’t over communicate. Be considerate, post and share relevant content. Many Facebook users are becoming more savvy, adjusting their friend settings to stop spam. So if you are spammer, chances are the content you’re posting isn’t being read by anyone.
- Posting bad photos– Social sites are a great place to share photos. Mobile apps allow you to upload pictures and tag your friends in an instant. Sometimes those pictures are a great representation of you, but aren’t the best representation of your friends. Remember when you tag a picture your friends and their network see the picture. I’ve seen many Facebook posts asking friends to take down pictures they feel are in bad taste. Etiquette rule#3– Don’t’ upload and/or tag of your friends in pictures that make them look bad. It may be a sure fire way to get un-friended pretty quickly.
- Wall post or private message? Have you ever read a post and thought to yourself, why did they post this for everyone to see? Remember that even with strict privacy settings, when your friends comment on, or like your post, their friends’ network can see that post and its comments in their news feed. Facebook has enabled its users to create specific lists (see my previous blog post on privacy) to share information to specific people. In some cases you may even want to send a private message to someone. Etiquette rule #4– Some things are not meant to be a public status updates. Use judgement when posting information. If you don’t want to share to your broader network consider sending a private message.
- @what? So you’ve decided to use your personal Twitter handle for business use. Names like @sexygodess or @biteme may not get the response you are looking for, especially if you are a Recruiter. Etiquette rule#5– Consider having a professional name for your Twitter handle. Your response rate and followers may just increase!
- Direct Messaging– Just like sending an email to someone, direct messaging on Twitter sends your message to an individual’s Twitter inbox. If you’ve set up an auto-broadcast this can cause spamming, not to mention it’s super annoying! Etiquette rule #6– Don’t spam individual’s Twitter handle by frequently direct messaging them. Use direct messaging only when you want to send a private message to an individual.
- Following– It’s important to follow people/companies on Twitter to build up your fan base. Twitter is a communication and engagement channel. Etiquette rule # 7 – Don’t follow people and then unfollow them once they follow you.
I am sure there many other social etiquette rules you can think of that I haven’t covered.
One social etiquette rule that I think transcends any social networking platform is to – Share. Have you come across a job posting that maybe useful for a friend? A relevant article or a contact that may benefit from an introduction to someone in your network? Most important etiquette rule # 8 Pay-it-forward. Fundamentally social networking is all about sharing. Share helpful information and support others without expecting something in return.
By Ann Barrett- Director, Social Media & eRecruitment Strategy