Don’t be a Social Media Offender – Pack Your Party Manners!

Chris Brogan’s recent post provided an excellent reminder on what good social media etiquette is and included an extensive list of “proper” social behavior points – if you missed it I highly recommend checking it out.  Pointers like his are extremely helpful as navigating what’s appropriate in the social realm can be challenging at times, especially when you know a misstep could have dire viral consequences.

As a community manager myself, I think of social media as a global ‘cocktail party’ (fun, right?). So, whenever I find myself questioning social media etiquette I ask myself “how would this be received at a dinner party?”.  I think this analogy serves as a good rule of thumb: bringing good “party manners” to the social media mixer has proven to be one great way to avoid a social media faux pas.

Good party manners whether online or off have a lot to do with respect and active listening, which we know, are critically important to building relationships – a key goal of many social programs.  With that in mind, here are three key party manners that will help you stay on the social media guest list.

1. Listen More, Talk Less

We’ve all been at parties where someone goes on and on about themselves or something they are interested in, never asking about others.  When we do all the talking whether at a party or as a brand online, we miss the opportunity to learn about others and build a connections with them.  Actively listening and relating to your customers in social channels helps you find out who they are so you can better serve them and fosters long term relationships.

2. Think Before You Speak

We’ve all seen someone unintentionally ‘put their foot in their mouth’ or been guilty of it ourselves.  In a party atmosphere a slip like this is incredibly embarrassing and regretful for period of time, but in the online world it lasts forever.  Being a good social listener helps prevent blunders by getting to know your audience better so you can steer clear of potentially offensive remarks or actions.

3. Shelf the Sales Spiel

Ever chatted with people socially who seem to have an agenda?  Maybe it’s the real estate agent who keeps trying to work buying or selling a home into the conversation or the home make-up rep that says “looks like you wear cosmetics can I tell you about my make-up line?”  Respect the venue and your audience – it’s a party not a trade show – if people want to know more about what you do they’ll ask.  It’s the same in social channels, you can turn people off by constantly trying to weave your product or service into the conversation – wait for some to express interest first.

Bottom line? One of the best things any brand can do to be a good social media party-goer and avoid offenses online is to listen actively and respectfully.

Do you agree or have a “mixer etiquette” of your own to add to the list?  Post em’ below!

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