Remember when you were a small kid and your parents constantly reminded you to “mind your manners”? When it comes to social media, the same lesson still holds true. There are so many moving parts to this medium that it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and constant motion and forget that there are rules of etiquette that you should pay heed to. social media etiquette

Not meant to be an exclusive list, here are some common rules of etiquette for the main social media sites.


  • Don’t send recommendation requests to someone who hasn’t used your services
  • Do not ask for favors from people you don’t know well
  • State WHY someone would want to connect with you, join your group, write you a recommendation, introduce someone to you, etc.
  • Give recommendations and endorsements
  • Do not duplicate all your posts from Facebook or Twitter  on LinkedIN (no cross posting)
  • Use a photo that is recent enough to look like you look today


  • Don’t follow users and then unfollow them before  they have a chance to follow back, or as soon as they follow you.
  • Don’t mass-follow everyone so that you can artificially inflate your numbers. Go for relevant people you would truly converse with.
  • Don’t consistently use your Twitter stream for nothing but self-promotion and ego-inflating tweets. (I just got my 1,000th follower!)
  • Do not infringe on your followers’ kindness by requesting that your friends retweet your tweets on a consistent basis.
  • Don’t forget to thank people for their Retweets, #FFs and other mentions.


  • Don’t post photos without the permission of the people pictured
  • Don’t post more than once per day (but do post at least 3-5 times per week)
  • Unless you’re Dick’s Last Resort, don’t be snarky
  • Groups are a great way to enhance your page, but don’t browbeat people via email, wall post or (private) message if they aren’t interested.
  • Don’t create ‘fake’ accounts so that you can comment on your own posts.
  • Don’t run fake contests and giveaways
  • If you’re filling in your timeline history (backward populating), be sure to turn off your status update broadcast


  • Keep it short – no more than 750 words, max!
  • Always acknowledge comments on your posts.
  • Don’t comment on other people’s blog posts using your company name – use your own name (“Jane Smith” not “Allied Agents LLC”)
  • Don’t use content from another blog without attribution.
  • Don’t send a pitch to a blogger requesting a link exchange even though your site has no relevancy to the blogger’s content.
  • Don’t turn a blog into your personal forum for arguing with someone you don’t like.


  • Don’t use Pinterest just to post special offers and promotions.
  • Be sure to follow other people’s boards
  • Be sure to post a description (WHY are you pinning the item?)
  • Don’t overpin (too many pins in  a short amount of time)
  • Repin others’ content (credit them!) and comment on others’ pins
  • Don’t only post images of your products
  • Make sure your pinned items actually click through to the destination site
  • Bring people in to your company through pics of your staff, events, charity work, products, clients, and fun in-office activities

If you’ll note, there is a common thread on all of these sites. Create original, engaging and concise content that is unique for each audience. If you remember that one key element, you will save yourself a lot of time and energy and most likely stay out of the penalty box! We’ll dive a little deeper into the three big sites in our next post!