There is so much written about what TO do with Social Media, there is so little written about what NOT to do. More than any other medium – telephone, written letters, email – Social Media is incredibly risky. Whatever you write can be broadcast worldwide, is archived forever, and can have an impact well beyond the intended audience. Watch out for these pitfalls:
1) If you’re upset about something that was written, and you know the person who wrote it, it is far more productive to pick up the phone and ask them to retract than to engage in a public “flame war”.
2) Don’t post pictures of yourself that could be embarassing later on. (PR pros will tell you to use this test: if your mother or your manager would approve, then it’s probably OK to post. It’s too easy to be disqualified from jobs based on inappropriate Facebook pictures or comments.
3) Don’t ask others for recommendations on LinkedIn unless you’re pretty sure that they will agree. If you’re unsure, pick up the phone and have a conversation first.
4) Be careful of flooding your “friends” with Too Much Information in your status updates. They’ll eventually tire of it… and disconnect from you.
5) Don’t gossip about third parties (your boss, friends, etc) – even if it is supposedly “private” they’ll eventually see it, and you’ll be terribly embarrassed – or fired.
6) Social Media is really a connection to a person – not their wallet. If you abuse your connection by always trying to sell your stuff, it reflects poorly on you.
7) When you comment on others’ posts, remember that others (their family, co-workers, boss, etc) may read them.
8) Likewise, be very careful about posting photos of other people: they may not wish other people to see them in that photo.
9) If you quote someone else on your Blog, or if you refer to something else on Twitter, acknowledge (or “Retweet”) the source with a link and their name. Otherwise it’s stealing.
10) Don’t forget that not everyone is on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and the myriad of other Social Networks. If you’re trying to reach out to your community, don’t forget those who aren’t fully connected. Picking up the phone, or jotting a quick note will make sure that everyone is included.
This Week’s Non-action Item: Social Media manners DO matter: try to avoid these mistakes.