5 Social Media Etiquette Tips

etiquetteThe Definition of Etiquette

Etiquette in the 21st century seems to be lost in the general public. After all how many people hold the door for you as you follow them into a building? Yeah, think about that for a minute. Or how many people stop to let you in a line of traffic? And what is etiquette anyways?

Etiquette according to Merriam Webster is:

 the conduct or procedure required by good breeding or prescribed by authority to be observed in social or official life

This definition points to etiquette as how we act in a social setting. Showing manners and good breeding. With the advent of the Internet we not only have a social life face to face but we also have an online social life. The problem is there are certain folks who seem to think that because we are not in the presence of people we do not have to observe any sort of etiquette and I beg to differ.

5 Tips

Here are 5 basic, common sense social media etiquette tips:

1. Show respect. Speak or write with respect for the person you are conversing with. Think, “How do I want to be treated?”

2. Reciprocate. If someone comments on your blog, leave a comment on his or her blog. If someone retweets one of your tweets, find one of theirs to retweet. If someone likes one of your Facebook comments, like one of theirs, the same goes if they comment on a FB post. It is not only good social media etiquette, but it also gets your name, blog or business in front of new people. Therefore, it is mutually beneficial to reciprocate.

3. Leave real comments. When reciprocating, don’t just leave one-word comments. Leave a qualifying comment related to the post.

4. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Everyone is busy, but if you say you will get back to someone by a certain time do your best to keep your word. This goes for contests, giveaways, advertising, guest posts etc. If you fail, apologize. It is common courtesy.

5. Don’t spam. This is one of my pet peeves not only in blog comments, but also on Twitter. I don’t know how many times I see a mention and question, “Should I or shouldn’t I click on the link.” Usually I don’t, but I do check the person’s profile and 9 times out of 10 the profile is newly set up and I will report them especially if I did click the link and it comes back as an unsafe site some other goofy, unrelated subject.

As a Virtual Assistant and blogger, I am thankful to say that for the most part I have only experienced good etiquette. However, I have observed many comments and actions by others that are just plain rude. If you are growing your business or blog you want to be courteous and respectful of others and reciprocate in the social media world as you would in the real world.  So practice your etiquette and  see your virtual social life grow or at least get better.


  1. Theresa

    show real comments and show respect, we must give our genuine feedback, and really respect people. Social media is basically a group of people interacting and connecting so these two rules are most important

    • I completely agree with you Kenny. Interaction and connection are the main goals of social medica and we need to be real while interacting with others.

  2. I was hoping you had respect listed and you have it as number one. That is one of the most important aspects of etiquette. I try to respect everyone I meet no matter how old they are.

  3. Love this post! So many people have no etiquette these days!

  4. Stephen Jeske says:

    Theresa, it’s no excuse, but I think it’s easy for people to forget that there are real human beings at the other end of the line, so to speak. Twitter spam has to be one of the most annoying, don’t you think. I use to automatically follow everyone back because I thought that would be a great time saver.

    It was great until I started getting spammed. I’m not talking about the “make-money-online” crowd. I’m talking “online dating”, to put it politely! So there’s a lesson learned :(

    • The Twitter spam really does get to me, especially when the message says something other than “You should see the funny picture of you…..blah, blah, blah…” I don’t even know if I automatically follow back, I don’t believe I do though because I have to check via my account profile, you were generous to even do that.

  5. I completely agree with you too. I try to respect everyone I meet. Good read. Thank you for sharing.

  6. I am lagging way behind in reciprocation. need to work on it. Thanks for the wonderful post

    • Yeah, the reciprocating takes a bit of extra work, especially if you get a lot of comments, but it is mutually beneficial so that can be a motivator.

  7. Some folks forget etiquette when conversing online, because they lose touch with reality and are typing to a computer screen. It’s very important to maintain a level of respect when communicating with other people no matter how you’re doing it.

  8. These are great tips and a great reminder for everyone. The thing about social media is that you have to be social and in order to be social you have to observe some form of etiquette otherwise it just turns into that party where the police show up and have to break up all the brawls!

    And none of us want that! :)

  9. I love this! Your readers need to know you’re a real person, not a robot!

  10. I would like that everybody on the net and in the blogging scene would read your text! I think the most important thing is your first point: the respect! Although we are anonymous on the net, some little respect should be shown for each other. More than usual.

  11. What a great article! I definitely agree with all your points. Unfortunately sometimes, people feel secure behind their computers and behave without good manners and respect. As it’s my first time in your blog I must say that I really like your work so far and I will definitely return (I’ll keep my word) !
    Thank you for sharing!

    • ;-) Thanks Sara, keeping your word is important in any area of life, right? Yeah, I think that is the problem the computer truly acts as a *screen* when people choose rudeness over manners.

      • It’s very important indeed and working on internet is an area of life as you said, and we must behave even better that in real life!

  12. I try to apply these all the time, and not only on the internet but in real life too. Thanks for the tips!

  13. Nekiwa Smith says:

    I totally agree with you. Oftentimes, people do not use the proper etiquette in social media!

  14. Social media are our tools, so it’s still US dealing with other people through them. Don’t do to others what you don’t want others to do to you, as what the golden rule reminds us.

  15. head brace says:

    I agreed with Kenny Fabre. Thank You!

  16. Respecting other people or entity is a very important social media etiquette. If we have developed respect in ourselves we can then perform other ethical practices not spamming a blog and leaving genuine comments.

  17. Good to read this post. Very insightful points for all. Show respect and leave real comments. Respect is very important while interacting with people.
    As Racz Paul siad People should try to apply all these on the internet but also in real life. Great advice Racz.

  18. Wonderful tips……This seems common but more important than others. Many forget such basic responsible and primary attitude.

  19. I agree with the tips included, the majority boil down to the fact of respect, one thing I try to do is retweet #FFs on Twitter, I think this is seen as general twitter etiquette.

  20. hello’
    Wonderful tips……This seems common but more important than others….agree with all your points. thnx for this nice post

  21. I probably experience good social media etiquette more often than I experience bad etiquette. However, I remember those people who do not reciprocate the most. People are typically kind to me via twitter, facebook and comments on my blog, but the reciprocation is something I rarely experience.

    • A lot are actually leaving lousy comments such as thanks for the great tips or great share for the sake of getting the link backs. It’s seriously tarnishing their images sometimes.

  22. Danyelle Franciosa says:

    Great tips ahead. Good Etiquette is the right attitude in using social media as a marketing tool for your business. Show respect and do not spam is the very important for me.

    • Good etiquette is so important – it’s odd how some people think that because it’s all online they can be so much ruder than they ever would be in the physical world.

  23. Spamming on twitter is not only ethically wrong. It’s just stupid.Those people must spend an enormous amount of time and energy to make just a few bucks!

  24. One should just be natural like what he really likes and comments what he really feels rather than acting spamy.

  25. Social media is all about interacting and connecting, these are the most important rules and social media etiquette.

  26. Kevin Martin says:

    I always thank everyone for commenting at my blog because I simply believe that it’s common courtesy to thank every single commentator. Also, I hate it when people take an atrociously long amount of time to respond to my emails and tweets.

  27. Such simple rules to follow but, as you said, people have neglected to follow them for quite some time now. It’s as if we’ve become a society of people who hate themselves and are acting it out on others. I hope your post gets a lot of traffic. Maybe some who read it will actually start trying to be better socially on the web.

  28. Hi Theresa,

    This is a great list, as for Reciprocate, I think it not only shows that you are serious about your reader but also allow you to explore others blogs or even find a news update on one of their blogs that you have not been aware of, this will surly encourage your readers to visit your blog again and make a better relationship with your readers and fellow bloggers, however I only see few people whom actually following this practice. And I am talking about big names of bloggers, I think either they don’t have enough time to do so, happy with their current traffic and success or don’t appreciate their blog commentors. Thanks for sharing.

    • It does take time and extra work to reciprocate and I don’t have it down perfectly by any means.

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      I’m not a big blogger, but I can assure you that if I don’t comment or visit or reciprocate, it’s purely a failure of the Energizer Bunny genes, and NEVER a lack of appreciation for my visitors. I love my visitors.

  29. That’s a great read! I definitely agree with the thing that now a days just for getting the back link, people comment any rubbish two line thing and go away which shouldn’t be done in any case. Loved the tips shared and looking forward for such worthy content …!

    • I do not currently use autoresponders for twitter follows and for the ones that I follow back, I write a personal message that is reflective of the having viewed their profile page so that I can personalize the DM to them which is a great way to stand apart.

      The 80/20 rule you mention is golden and a good way to fill gaps when time does not allow for content creation, while adding value to your networks beyond your own content. Let’s face it, sometimes the best content is not our own and no need to create content where excellent content already exists.

      For better investment and trading knowledge in share market share tips is the best idea..Get on your mobile mcx tips or commodity trading tips also intraday trading tips By SMS…

  30. I believe to Reciprocate is the key, it can transform your blog into a blogging community. Many bloggers do this in order to make make their blog popular.

  31. Holly Jahangiri says:

    I’m guilty of not responding quickly to EVERY comment or note. (But as you know, I keep following posts on other people’s blogs almost indefinitely, and do try to respond to comments as I’m able – provided they’re not obvious spam. During a contest, I’ll even try to amuse real people by conversing with spammers, but honestly, I’m not the Energizer Bunny – I can’t do that all the time!) What really surprises me is when someone wins a contest and doesn’t bother to thank the contest organizer or the sponsors. (Kiesha can tell you – I write 7100 word posts to try to thank everyone, and even there I think I’m missing a lot of people who deserve mention!)

    You’re right – the most BASIC common courtesy is fast disappearing, online and off. This is a good reminder, Theresa.

    • That’s funny Holly that you actually try to converse with spammers! You gave me a chuckle this morning!

      You must have some Energizer Bunny traits to go out of your way to thank everyone a part of a giveaway! :-)

  32. You hit it right on the head with this post, to me its really important that people can see that your business or company is being ran by an actually person with some type of personality.

    Orlando Web Design

  33. I think the Internet is both the best and worst thing in the world. One of the aspects that makes it “the worst” is that communicating electronically has made it easy for many people to say mean and cruel things they would never say to another face-to-face. Rudeness and sheer nastiness abounds.

  34. Very well written. Common sense is learn as a child through parents education or through social education, but both ways involve the free will to learn.
    So in order to have, learn, gain common sense someone must be willing to have it, learn it, gain it.
    When I meet such a person I don’t take it personal, cause mainly he/she doesn’t respect him/her self.
    I wish u a great day!

    • You are right, it all goes back to what we learned as children or didn’t pay attention to!

      • commoditytipsfree says:

        Right now, like many Internet marketers, I am immersed in G+ as I feel strongly that over time, it will reshape the search and social markets, and in some respects, already has. G+ has a strong, engaged user base, platform with great features (Circles and Hangouts to name two) and allows your content to be returned in the personalized search results based on your G+ social graph ala the recent Google Search, Plus Your World update.

        • Well, these tips all apply to Google+. I just find it hard to keep up with all my social media outlets and am way behind in following those who have followed me on Google+. It’s like you miss a few emails and you are toast since Google+ has no automatic way of following all who follow you.

  35. I especially like and need to implement #3, especially on twitter. Thanks for the tips.

  36. Will we even be able to afford computers at the current rate? Ok so that may be a stretch, but social media may even be a place where we do our banking and order food. I could see it happening and that would definately be a place people would hang out at right. People want to do everything from home these days so why have legs when you can just use your fingers to order a pizza, transfer money at your bank, and find a date for the night. Now thats a social networking site!

    • Once again these social media tips apply to the situations you are talking about. Grant it most banking online does not require conversing, nor does most shopping, but if you have to write to customer service or call them practice these tips.

      I already order bulk organic /natural food online and love the convenience of ordering a month’s worth of food and picking it up in Farm & Fleet’s parking lot when the truck comes once a month. Sure does lessen the amount of time I go shopping and reduces impulse buying!

      Haven’t ordered pizza online yet and we prefer face to face banking. We only pay our bills online if we have to. Too much fraud with hackers etc..

  37. Mas Gie says:

    I agree, everything you tell is true. In social media ethics course should keep to create togetherness. I think, when we do something good, then others will apply the same. I like Point # 2 the way it will be mutually beneficial, and create better relationships. Thank u

  38. Great read for me. I read all points which is very valuable to me. Thanks for sharing. Keep it up.

  39. Social Media is great door way to promote our product. I think those tips will bring us to real marketing strategy especially for facebook and twitter.

  40. I agree to the second point of this article. with this kinship can be established with a perfect, this course will be able to reproduce the relationship these friends in cyberspace. continue to work writing the virtual world. I am waiting for your next writing. Thanks. Cyberbola.com Say No To Racism Piala Eropa 2012

  41. Thanks! for sharing this useful information with us. I will definitely keep in mind your suggestion.

  42. I appreciate to all the point of this article. I am truly glad that your sharing it with me. Thanks for sharing nice information.

  43. Bardzo ciekawy artyku? – podobaj? mi si? wypowiedzi u?ytkowników . Pozdrawiam!

  44. I would like to say that these are the really best tips for the social media. Definitely, I will noted these all things for my website in future. Thanks for great info.

  45. Thanks for sharing very helpful info thanks once again :)

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