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What is Proper Social Media Etiquette?

social media etiquette

If you network or do business on social media, then you should be aware of social media etiquette. Click here to learn how to be your best.

Have you ever seen a Twitter meltdown? Or, saw someone post something rude or embarrassing on Facebook? You know… those moments where people forgot social media etiquette.

Think you’ve made a mistake when using Twitter or Facebook? Afraid to jump into social media because you think you’ll annoy or anger followers?

Read on to learn the rules.

The All-Mighty Rules of Social Media Etiquette

Social media has given every person a voice. But, there are underlying “social media rules” to follow. These rules follow the same principles one would expect in a public place. Which rules? Consider…

Rule #1: Don’t be Mean-Spirited

You’re welcome to call-out someone doing bad things. And, you’re more than welcome to voice your opinions. But, being mean-spirited for the sake of attacking someone is not part of the “social media rules”.

Remember: Your social media messages and shares are forever.

You may quickly delete them to save face. But, it’s very easy digging up old tweets or simply screenshotting a share.

Question whether you’d say what you want to a loved one. And, whether that’s something you would share with everyone. This goes for employees representing your business, too.

Rule #2: Stealing Work

There are two kinds of social media users:

  • Those attributing sources
  • Those ripping off content

The first is the main item when thinking social media etiquette for businesses.

This is the same idea behind using other’s works on your website or advertising. Not contributing (or paying) the original creator is not only bad form but also illegal in most cases!

Want to avoid this?

  • Retweet the original work with a caption, instead
  • Include a link to the creator’s profile
  • Ask for permission or pay for usage rights

Most followers won’t truly understand the importance of this. But, it’s good form and etiquette since creators put hard work into their efforts, too. The creators deserve the mention and spotlight vs leveraged for personal/business gain.

Rule #3: Flying Solo

Social media works well with one person behind the helm when it’s a startup or small business. There’s not a lot of action nor follower count. This changes when scaled to a global business or corporation.

Social media shifts from interpersonal use to:

  • A full-on marketing channel
  • Customer support and outreach
  • Internal communications

Social etiquette starts slipping when the owner stretches their time thin. This leads to missed connections. A better option is using social media services to pick up the slack.

MOUSE Boutique XM is a great example of combining services with experimental marketing. The biggest hurdle is connecting with audiences outside their “comfortable” base. These company types help businesses create lasting connections.

Rule #4: Not Having a Strategy

Social media is a fun tool to connect with audiences. But, proper social networking etiquette requires some form of digital content strategy.


  • To align marketing and sales goals
  • To service everyone versus a few

Getting too carried away with social media can derail marketing & advertising campaigns. Becoming too personal with followers can expose private information.

Create a social media plan and stick to it. This is how the big companies do it to gain a return on investment with the channels.

Above All Else: Have Fun

Find a balance between work and pleasure.

Social media etiquette isn’t a hard line on what you can and cannot do. Yes, it does help prevent meltdowns and bad publicity. But, ultimately it’s to create a welcoming, fun experience for you and followers.

So… have fun with it!

Want to learn more? Check out our social media tips & tricks.

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