Etiquette on social media

Social networks have been one of the main channels for everyday communication for many years. Indeed, in the past year, they have also been adopted by those who avoided them before the #stayathome period. As their use increases from year to year, certain general guidelines for digital communication should be considered. Just as social etiquette dictates how we behave in the physical world, following rules using a popular social platform can help us to maintain our online reputation.

While browsing our favourite social network, we can quickly come across annoying posts, unpleasant comments and inappropriate content. But before we decide to deactivate an account, we can first try to improve the online environment ourselves by becoming a responsible user and learning the etiquette of social networks, which should be internalised by both companies and individuals.

Seven rules of ‘nice’ behaviour

1. Respect the diversity of opinions
Accept the fact that not everyone has the same opinion as you, and keep that in mind whenever you comment, post or share content on social media. Remember to communicate respectfully and make sure your statements are based on solid facts. Avoid personal attacks and threats that often do not go unpunished. As a company or brand social network administrator, don’t delve into matters that are not part of your business, take care to protect your brand’s reputation, and maintain customer trust.

2. Don’t sow hatred
Social networks are not a place to release anger, vent and spread negativity, but a platform to encourage meaningful discussion and appropriate communication. It is also true for companies that you ‘compete’ with the competition fairly, as slandering another brand has a devastating effect on your reputation. If you (as an individual or a company) receive negative propaganda, take the time to think and form a professional response — never react under the influence of emotions.

3. Be tactful when tagging photos
We all want our privacy to be respected, so posting and tagging unflattering photos of other people is inappropriate.Before tagging a person, ask them for permission, as you never know how you could jeopardise their personal and business image. If you are an entrepreneur, share professional content related to your business.

4. Consider your target audience and followers
Sharing and posting content also depends on who you have among your followers. Private users can adjust their privacy settings in their account to control what individuals (co-workers, superiors…) can see. Also, consider whether it is appropriate for your customers, superiors, or partners to become your network friends. However, companies need to focus especially on their audience management, which wants valuable, shareable and original content. Whether you’re a private or business social media user, however, always avoid offensive or inappropriate content.

5. Track the frequency of your posts
You don’t have to share everything about your private life and daily activities on social media. Brands and companies are advised to prepare a calendar of relevant content to avoid oversaturation and non-transparent publication. Above all, don’t burden your friends or followers with aggressive promotion of your products and services.

6. Dont share fake news
It is our moral and social responsibility not to mislead others by spreading false news. Always check your resources and maintain a critical attitude towards what you read and, above all, do not share unreliable information. Any shared content compromises your integrity, so always verify the authenticity of the data you share.

7. Manage your reputation
Examine your profile and find out what kind of image you create with posts and photos. What would a stranger who comes across your profile think of you? You can create or ruin your career with posts. HR staff and talent scouts also check our backgrounds on social media, so always be careful what you share and post. Entrepreneurs also need to be careful about the reputation of your organisation, as the views of your employees should not negatively affect your business. Posting on behalf of your brand must strictly follow the posting policy on various social platforms.

And last but not least: be positive, polite and inspiring!

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