Social Media Etiquette Series, Part I: Facebook
With all the technological advances at our fingertips, proper etiquette is still a key to successful interactions. In this three-part series, we will provide tips to help you become more etiquette savvy with Facebook, Twitter, and sharing tools such as Digg, Delicious and Reddit.
In this first post, we offer suggestions for managing your Facebook profile and tips to keep you on the appropriate social networking etiquette path.
Keep your profile picture classy. Reputation management and online identity expert, Kirsten Dixson, says that because Facebook mixes personal and professional content, it can require more careful attention than LinkedIn, the social network for professionals. While some people believe Facebook is strictly for posting personal posts and photos, there is no room for controversy when it comes to choosing a profile picture. Avoid losing potential job opportunities or a poor reputation by keeping your photo choice tasteful and sophisticated.
Make your bio short and sweet. The Facebook biography or “About Me” section provides fields for a variety of interests, both professional and personal. Dixson says be short and concise in this section—don’t assume people want to read a novel about your life. Also, social media experts recommend excluding your birth year when listing your birthday. It is often viewed as something that hurts, rather than helps, your profile.
Update your status with relevant and interesting posts. One of the top Facebook complaints is when a user posts several status updates throughout the day. On Twitter, it is socially acceptable to post multiple updates throughout the day, but on Facebook, one status update per day is plenty. This is one of the biggest differences between Facebook and Twitter, and those who don’t understand this key difference suffer from poor social network etiquette.
Your status updates should grab people’s attention. Highlight your personal interests and/or professional areas of expertise. Offering Facebook friends a glimpse of your interests can help strengthen relationships and establish connections with potential business contacts. Note: It is also considered a Facebook faux-pas to habitually boast about your company’s successes via Facebook status updates.
Talk to one vs. many. Posing a question to your entire network is okay; in fact, it is a good idea to do this every now and then to stimulate interaction and drive traffic to your Facebook profile. However, make sure the question is relevant to everyone, or you can be viewed as a social nuisance. Dixson suggests a question that most contacts in your network are able to relate to, such as: “Getting a new phone. iPhone or BlackBerry?”
When it comes to writing on others’ Walls, keep in mind your content is public. Making specific plans with a person via the Wall can be impolite to his or her other profile visitors. Writing “Let’s get a drink at 5 today” is not only irrelevant for others to see, but it can also make people in your network feel excluded.
Keep a polite tone. It’s important to keep a respectful and measured tone on all social networks. Say things you would feel comfortable saying in person, and avoid inside jokes that only a few of your contacts will understand. Finally, sarcastic humor and anger can be dangerous in social network postings, just as they are in email messages, so think twice before sharing.
Facebook is arguably the most user-friendly social media platform of them all, but figuring out how to stay socially appropriate and current can be a challenge, especially because the site is constantly changing its privacy settings and applications.
Stay tuned for more posts from the Social Media Etiquette Series!
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