Finding Your Footing With Social Media Ettiquette
When it comes to etiquette, social media is a beast that's still finding its footing. Common sense is great and we've offered business owners quite a few tips, but the fact is, there's still grey area when the lines between business and personal become so blurred.
Personal Announcements & Unintended Repercussions
Several months ago, I learned a very close family member was not expected to live until morning. Every person to whom I am closest lives at least 600 miles away. After a couple necessary calls, I turned to my personal social media account to ask for support. I was obviously in shock. The repercussions of those few sentences meant that although my closest friends knew, so did people who only knew our family on a casual basis. Looking back, I feel horrible knowing that these people learned of a tragedy thanks to an emotional 1 sentence social media blast.
Businesses Not Exempt
As a small business, my story is more relevant than it may appear on the surface. Small businesses and owners tend to be closer as a team and are more likely to be on a one-on-one basis with their clients. I've seen several occasions when businesses have announced the passing of a team member via social media.
Once again, I understand the why: when you need to reach multiple people, social media can seem easy. Instead, it may be a better idea to call a co-worker's direct clients to inform them. A more personalized e-mail will suffice as a whole. If you do turn to social media, make sure those closest to your organization are informed before the general public, and that you do so in a sensitive manner.
Etiquette for Personal & Professional Announcements
Social media has undeniable value, but with the events of the past few months, as well as hearing more and more stories similar to the above, individuals and businesses certainly need to reconsider how they use social media.
Before you send that tweet or send that update to your FaceBook wall, ask yourself...
- Is this message intended for a specific audience?
- Will anyone genuinely care about what I'm about to say? Is it personal?
- If it is personal, is social media the most appropriate forum in which to post?
- Might it be better communicated in another way?
- Is this message emotional? If so, log out of your account immediately. Revisit when you've calmed down.