Social media Etiquette for business

As a communication tool, social media has a key role in society. On one hand, I embrace it. But on the other, I reject it.

I love social media for all the reasons many people do: I can connect with others who would normally be hard to reach, I can communicate quickly and creatively, I can find out what others are doing, and I can learn.

But there’s still a lack of etiquette many people possess when using social media. On sites like Twitter and Facebook, do all old-school means of social etiquette get thrown out the window? Or do most people not even know what classifies as proper social etiquette to begin with?

A recent discussion with Lisa Filpi Goeckler, who has a new social media endeavor with ON Food, a startup in Beverly Hills that partners with fitness professionals and real people offering all-in-one food solutions, led me to contemplate this. Lisa’s shared a few stories with me, the first occurring a few months ago when she found out about her good friend and co-worker’s death.

“There I was, sipping coffee one morning, when I saw a post from another former co-worker on Facebook, ” Goeckler said. “It read something like, ‘Today, as I ride down the street on my bike, I think about how thankful I am to be alive. It is incidences like what happened to Brad this past weekend that make one stop, reflect, and cherish life.’ I thought to myself, ‘That seems odd, what is he referring to? Is this the Brad I know? Did something happen to him?’”

It was quickly confirmed through a string of Facebook messages that Goeckler’s friend died of a major heart attack. “I was not keen on the way I found out about the death, ” she said. “It seemed so impersonal.”

A few months later, Goeckler found out–also through social media–that a relative of hers had breast cancer. She says that finding this out via social media–not a phone call–was a disconnected and impersonal way to find out such serious news.

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Popular Q&A

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Do small businesses really need a social media consultant?

If you have other things that you must do for your business and not enough time, or don't have the expertise to do it yourself, the help of a consultant might be good. It depends on your type of business and how much your customers are involved in social media.
For both my own business and the volunteer organizations I am with social media contacts are VITAL. But it really depends on what kind of business you are in.
I personally would do it myself, rather than hire someone. But not everyone can do that, I realize. If you can't do it yourself, and don't want to pay someone to do it, you…

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