If you've ever read a Miss Manners column (or stepped foot outside your house) you're well aware of the sheer number of people who simply have no concept of proper etiquette. If you've set foot on a social network like Twitter, Facebook or MySpace, you've probably learned this lesson a second time. While there is no Miss Social Media Manners to turn to with your questions on the best way to interact with folks online, you can rely on good old fashioned common sense to guide you.

That's the point my friend Beth Harte made last week in a great post over at The Harte of Marketing. In "Emily Post, Miss Manners and Social Media," Beth outlines a dozen tips you might want to keep in mind while wading into the social media waters.

On of my favorites is:

Give then take

Provide value to your community; let them know they can count on you for good information, genuine conversation, insights, sharing, fun, humor, etc. Once you have earned their trust and respect, and then ask for what you need. Handle on-line relationships just like you would with new off-line friends, business acquaintances, etc.
      Be Real
      Be Nice
      Be respectful
      Listen, then talk
      Give, then take
      Try to be consistent
      Apologize when you make mistakes
      Say "thank you"
      Don't broadcast
      Don't stalk
      It's not a numbers game
      Don't publicly or privately unfollow/unfriend someone

Beth offers up a nice explanation and some tips for each of these rules in the full post. Make sure you read through the comments as well. There's some good insight there and some good personal experience being shared.

October 24, 2008

Jennifer Laycock is the Editor of Search Engine Guide, the Social Media Faculty Chair for MarketMotive and offers small business social media strategy & consulting. Jennifer enjoys the challenge of finding unique and creative ways to connect with consumers without spending a fortune in marketing dollars. Though she now prefers to work with small businesses, Jennifer’s clients have included companies like Verizon, American Greetings and Highlights for Children.

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