Back before it was common to send shortened text messages, people knew what etiquette was. When you wrote a letter, it was written according to a specific template, whether for personal or business use. These days, however, things are quite different and you’ll see that there is a serious lack of courtesy online. Does that mean there is no such thing as politeness on the Internet? Not necessarily. In fact, there is a whole world of polite rules out there . . . just many people prefer to ignore them.
If you really want social media to work for you, you need to make sure that you are treating others with respect. What does that mean? Well, here are some of the rules of social media etiquette (or netiquette as they call it) that you should be following.
1. Give and you shall receive. If you want something from someone, be it a backlink or a review or even just a retweet, then you should be thinking about what you can do for them. It’s common sense, really, but most people have lost it in their quest for online greatness. Help someone out and they will remember when you come to them at a later date asking for a favor.
2. Be polite. As simplistic as that sounds, it really is one of the most effective methods of communicating with others on social media. Remember to say please and thank you and people will remember you. Best yet, avoid the anger induced rants that are so easy to get into when someone has done you wrong. Keep your mouth shut and avoid name calling.
3. Contribute something. We’ve all seen those forum posters who just agree mindlessly with everyone to get their signature line with its flashing links out there. Don’t be that person. Instead, take the time to really offer some value and make yourself useful to others. They will come back for more.
4. Listen more than you speak. You’ve probably heard the saying, “God gave you two ears and one mouth, so you should listen twice as much as you speak.” Well, the same goes for social media. It’s not an excuse to babble away about anything and everything, it’s a place to listen to others and network with them.
5. Be kind. A kind word goes a long way in social media, as well as in real life. Being nice to everyone you meet, online and offline, is a great way to gain friends and make valuable contacts. Don’t be rude and make sure you listen to people and they will keep coming back.
6. Time your requests. We all know someone in real life who asks for favors entirely too often. Online, that problem is times ten. Don’t keep asking people to join your other social media networks or read your blog. In fact, you should try to keep self promotional links and tweets to a bare minimum. Asking for help too often will simply drive people away.