Blogs, microblogs, social networks like Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, LinkedIn are popping up daily.  Their availability to the masses is exciting and fun, even educational and inspirational.  Never before has it been easier to share knowledge, express creativity, build personal and business brands, and connect with others in your industry and around the globe.

Because these social media channels are still fairly new to most, guidance and best practices are often shorted – to the detriment to the users as well as those within their network.

So as a “Public Service” of sorts, I’ve put together a quick, 10.5 tips I’ve developed during my time using these tools for personal and business purposes.  It’s my goal to help our readers use these channels efficiently and effectively, to protect your identity and ultimately your brand, personal or professional.

10.5 Tips:  Social Media Etiquette

1.    Be Transparent. Say who you are.  If there’s a business brand association, say whom you represent.  Be honest and credibility will follow.

2.   Be Accurate. (For God’s Sake) Check your facts before you post them.  From a Public Relations standpoint, it’s better to post the truth first than to have to post a retraction…

3.   Show Maturity & Respect. Agree or disagree with others’ point of view, but do it with maturity and respect.  Act as if you were actually standing in the room with your audience.

4.    Be a Valued Member. Contribute positively to your community.  It’s not (all) self-promotion.  If you have a particular insight on a subject (say branding), make your comment direct to the post (building an appreciative audience through email…  NOT hey, I just self published a new branding workbook.  Go to… and check it out!)

5.   Check Your Ego/Temper at the door. If you have passion, that’s GREAT, but weigh what and how you post with others in mind.  Take the advice of Mama BrandCheffio and count to 10 before acting.

6.   Confidentiality Is A Must. Proprietary information about your company, family or friends needs to stay confidential.  This goes hand-in-hand with the respect issue.  Remember, what you post today will be around for years to come.

7.   Time Is Valuable. If you’re participating in social media on a personal level, make sure you respect your employer’s time and property.  If you’re representing your employer or a particular brand, then make sure the posts are germane to the business/brand.

8.   Don’t Be A Spy. NEVER represent someone that you’re not authorized to represent.  DON’T post negative (or positive) comments about your brand under an assumed name.  You will be discovered, and you and the brand will suffer for it.

9.   Take The High Road. Slander is slander in any forum…  Be careful of what you say, because even with a disclaimer that “Your views do not represent those of…” believe it or not, the Federal Trade Commission is considering the validity of social media slander claims.

10.   Be Aware Of Liability. In relation to the previous point, legal liability that connects what you post to your site and others is a serious issue.  Can we say Domino’s Pizza gross-out video? (an oldie but goodie)

10.5   Protect Yourself. Don’t provide unnecessary personal information that could be used against you.  That’s why they call it “personal information.”

The simple key to successful social media activity is to be honest about yourself and whom you represent, be thoughtful before you post and respect the community in which you’re “socializing.”

Just food for thought…

Keep Cooking,
Andrew B. Clark
The Brand Chef