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How to Hone Your Social Media Manners

Electronic interactions have largely replaced telephone calls and letters, so make sure you put your best foot forward with all of your e-communications
BY Bill Lindsey TIMEJuly 19, 2022 PRINT

We’re all “publishers” now, thanks to the ease of using social media platforms to instantly share content. With that in mind, here are a few tips to ensure that your audience happily and eagerly continues to come back for more.

Watch Your Spelling

One of the fastest ways to create a negative impression online is by making spelling errors. Most operating systems offer some form of spell checking, so use it. The next all-too-common faux pas is the incorrect use of a word or a term. If in doubt, refer to an online dictionary for examples of correct usage. Keep the tone appropriate to the audience; for example, LinkedIn tends to be more professional in tone than Facebook.

Be Nice

If you spend time on your company’s social media pages, think twice before starting or responding to a post. Everything on the internet lives forever, so if you wouldn’t want your words to come back and haunt you, don’t type them out. If you see a rude comment about anything you posted on your personal page or the company page, keep your response respectful and professional. You only make the situation worse if you sink to the poster’s level.

Be Switzerland

Because you never know until it’s too late if what you intended as an innocent or funny comment was considered offensive, it’s best to stay neutral in all online communications. On a related note, keep your personal and professional communications separate; your vacation photos, political memes, and posts to and from your friends have no place on a page associated with your company. Resist the urge to overshare, lest you be blocked or considered a time waster.

Be Factual

Before you post anything to any social media platform, take a moment to confirm its accuracy. It can be tempting to post the latest news, but it’s not your responsibility to be a newscaster; leave that to the pros. Don’t take credit for anything you didn’t create, from photos to videos to words. If, after posting something, you discover new facts that materially change the narrative, update your original post, citing your sources.

Have Fun

Be the bright spot in someone’s day. Instead of watching the network news, many people would prefer and be eager to share happy moments and fun. Interact; if you respond to a post, encourage them to keep the conversation going, and invite others to join in. If someone criticizes you or your company and it’s clear they’re justified in doing so, take a deep breath before responding politely, then let it go.

Bill Lindsey
Bill Lindsey is an award-winning writer based in South Florida. He covers real estate, automobiles, timepieces, boats, and travel topics.
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