While you’re no doubt already using social media for personal communications, if you decide to use it for business as well, be mindful of the fact that everything you do and say is recorded, discoverable and could be used against you as evidence in a court of law. Seriously. Even if you think it’s gone, it’s probably still recoverable if someone decides to sue you..
So maintain a professional code-of-conduct and display good netiquette, which means following these five guidelines.
- Practice reciprocity, which means if you want other people to pay attention to you, pay attention to them too. If you want people to like your posts on LinkedIn or retweet what you share on Twitter, you need to comment, Like and retweet what they share, as well.
- Next, don’t be blatantly self-promotional all the time. If all you do is promote yourself, you’re a self-centered, single-purpose user — or a taker — and alienate your community. On social media, you have to give to get. So follow the 80/20 rule. For every eight shares you post about things you think are genuinely interesting and useful to your colleagues and clients, you can share two self-promotional posts.
- There’s nothing unprofessional about discussing sports, entertainment and news events. You do it in the office already. So why not on social media as well?
- Be particularly sensitive if you discuss anything related to age, national origin, race, religion, sex, pregnancy or disability or other personal matters, because you don’t want to wind up provoking a discrimination claim.
- And finally, if you want to display good netiquette, listen before you talk, just as you would in any social scenario. Listen long enough to identify what it is people are discussing, and then try and advance the conversation constructively, instead of changing the subject or hijacking the conversation.
Talk with, not at your community. And ask lots of questions.
That’s usually the easiest way to engage others on social networks.
Be inquisitive, rather than declarative. Research shows that the easier your questions are to answer, the more engagement they’ll get, so ask “Where?” and “When?” rather than “How?” or “Why?”
Good manners still count in business so show them off online as well.