The Ground Rules for Professional Behavior on Social Media


Social media has its own set of rules. Unfortunately, in many cases those rules are very loose. Or they may be regularly broken and with impunity. As a business owner, you need to rise above the fray, by presenting a consistently professional image with the behavior to go with it. We’ll inspect those rules here and discuss the challenges inherent for maintaining each one.

Rule #1. Identify yourself. When using various social media sites, you will find that many people operate with false identities. Some may do this to protect themselves from reprisals. At the same time, they are often emboldened to say things they otherwise would not say to someone in person. As for you, simply identify yourself. You don’t need to give away too much personal information, but you should align your user name and photo with who you are.

Rule #2. Say what you mean, but only say it if you can stand by it. Because of the relative anonymity of the Internet and the lack of personal face-to-face interaction, what you say online should be carefully considered. And those words should also be something you would be comfortable sharing with someone in person. Know that the wrong choice of words can come back to bite you, even if you are well meaning. Still, it is easy for people to take and twist your words, often for their own benefit. You don’t need to be politically correct, but you do need to be personally astute.

Rule #3. Avoid commenting negatively about your customers or employees. If you don’t have anything good to say about someone online, then don’t say it. Certainly, offer “kudos” to an employee, if deserved. And if a customer needs to be called out, do so in a positive way. Be careful about sharing pictures, especially of people who haven’t given you permission to share their faces online.

Rule #4. Proofread carefully before sending. Be careful when sending messages — it is easy to allow misspelled posts or grammatically challenged messages get through. Some people find it easier to simply write their messages on a separate document, using spellcheck and grammar check to ensure what they say makes sense. If you are sloppy with social media, it can reflect poorly on the way people think you run your business.

Rule #5. Professional photos only, please. The last thing you want to do is to post a photo of yourself drunk or stoned. Even if you never imbibe, you need to ensure that your photos don’t suggest anything untoward. Sites such as LinkedIn are ideal for showing yourself in business attire. Other sites, such as Twitter, allow you to present yourself in a more relaxed atmosphere. In all cases you need to maintain a certain decorum without coming across as uptight, snobby or silly.

Rule #6. Be careful what you share. Social media is all about sharing. People share what you write and you can share what they write. At the same time, you don’t want to share anything that makes you look stupid, unprofessional or unethical. If you aren’t sure that a particular post or update deserves to shared, then simply don’t.

Rule #7. Manage your friends. Manage their updates. Not everything your friends share is worth seeing. Instead of unfriending or unfollowing them, simply hide a particular update that you find offensive or not beneficial. And definitely do not share updates that aren’t agreeable to you. For friends that continue to push the envelope, you may need to reconsider your relationship.


The Ground Rules

Use social media to grow your business. This means remaining engaged and involved online, but not overdoing it. For some business owners, turning to an SEO company relieves them of some of the work explains Work with the professionals and you’ll maintain your professionalism at all times.

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