Social Business Netiquette

Good manners and proper behaviour have always been an important part of doing business. Now that we can look to the internet and social networks as new playing fields for our companies, it’s time to consider how our habits and social behaviour must adjust. What constitutes good manners on social networks?

When managing social media for your company, there are a few things to always consider.

Social media facilitates communication with your clients and customers. With these tools for interpersonal communication, companies have a powerful new way to assist their customers. It allows us to respond to queries, questions and also complaints. Personalised responses are definitely the way to go to increase positive brand awareness. Don’t ignore negative feedback; instead, try to resolve the situation that caused it.

Your representation is everything. Keep your company’s profile clutter-free, with a good profile picture that matches your company’s brand line and outlook. It doesn’t necessarily have to be strict and professional looking, as long as it suits your brand and you keep it consistent over the different social networks used.

Always give credit where credit is due. If you put an inspirational quote on your networks, or re-tweet or re-pin something, always make sure you quote the original source. No one likes piracy, however innocent it may seem.

Your competitors are on the social networks as well. Does this mean you have to distance yourself from them? Not at all. It may prove very useful to follow and friend them as well, and see what they can teach you. Do not use social media as an arena to do ‘battle’ with your competitors.

Use your space effectively. This is especially true for Twitter. Another valuable lesson to learn here is to be concise. Using your space effectively doesn’t mean it’s solely free space for advertising. You will find this will quickly lose you followers or friends. Good netiquette demands that you maintain a balance between promoting your product, and informing, entertaining, or educating your network.

One could say there is an entire system behind friending and following on the social networks. These unwritten rules may seem daunting to newcomers. On principle, it’s fair to say that if someone follows you on Twitter, you follow them back. If someone sends your business a friend request, it’s considered polite to get back to them quickly, and of course accept it unless there’s a very good reason not to do so.

The golden rule here finally is to keep your personal life far, far away from business networking. Don’t put anything on the networks that you don’t want people to see, because they will find it. Pictures of your pets or children probably don’t belong in business social network…

In closing, our online social habits are much like their offline counterparts. A careful and considerate person won’t have any problems socially networking online for their business.

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