Social media has become so much a part of our everyday lives that I almost can’t remember when we didn’t have it.

That said, I feel many people would benefit from a quick refresher post on how to be a good social media participant.

Not unlike the fact that I’d probably flunk the written driving test – even though I’ve been driving for 40 years…

Some of you may not know that I built my relationship with Carol on Twitter, and later by meeting her in person. This has been a long-term, profitable relationship for those of you who dismiss the ROI of social media.

And yes, I totally agree that it also can be a giant time suck. I am guilty of that as well.

However, used properly and consistently, it can generate awareness of your products and/or services – and get you clients.

But, social media will not benefit you, and may even damage your reputation, if you aren’t aware of the etiquette rules.

Etiquette suggestions – Do’s

Should you accept friend invitations from clients? It’s your call. Some people do, and some don’t.

I have a personal relationship business as a coach and consultant (people pay to work with me personally), so I do like to know what my clients are up to. Also, Facebook messenger can be a good and quick way to reach out to people or send a link to something of interest.

I do connect personally and professionally with people on Facebook. AND I have gotten and given leads, referrals, and clients.

I will connect with someone on LinkedIn if they saw me speak, are connected with someone I know, or seem interesting in some way.

Twitter is public so this is less of an issue.

Here are some general guidelines for posting:

  • Do post about personal and professional successes. People are starved for good news.
  • Do like other people’s stuff. (Social media is…social!)
  • Do respond to comments on your stuff within a reasonable time.
  • Do use good judgement when posting about something potentially polarizing.
  • Do post pictures. They get a lot of interaction.
  • Do post about the occasional failure or bad day. It makes you real and relatable.
  • Do mix up media you post – videos, blogs, articles, pictures, music, etc.

Etiquette suggestions – Don’ts

  • Don’t troll other people’s posts. Always disagree respectfully.
  • Don’t respond at all if you’re getting all fired up. Walk away.
  • Don’t drink and post. Alcohol impairs judgement driving AND posting. (Just saying…)

I fully realize this is mostly common sense. But, common sense is surprisingly uncommon these days.

Think about it, how many times have you found yourself shaking your head looking at your screen mumbling, “What were they thinking?”

Create some criteria for what you do and do not post. I will occasionally post something with colorful language. I will very occasionally post something political. I only post things I feel are within my personal brand. If something offends you, unfollow or unfriend me. I am good with that.

I have found that connecting and interacting with my clients on social media has deepened our relationship and mostly been beneficial.

If you follow these etiquette suggestions, it may be for you, too.